Mother Nature Is Still The Best
Even when we were kids, we were always told, “eat your vegetables.” That simple order from your father or mother was more than just an admonition not to waste food.
It was also an early advise to eat the right kind of stuff so that you could grow up strong and healthy. All food is actually good, provided you eat them in the right amounts.
But some foods are far, far better than others, and when we come to specific food groups like vegetables and fruits, we further realize that some are far richer in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and all the other nutrients than the rest.
With the wonders of science and technology, people are also discovering even more benefits from certain types of food. These include previously-overlooked foods along with foods that have always been esteemed for their nutritional benefits.
Below are specific foods that can do wonders for your body, especially your immune system, by helping ward off diseases:
Apples are also known to include the fiber called pectin that lowers cholesterol levels and stabilizes blood sugar content; boron, a mineral that can help minimize calcium loss in the bones, and quercetin, a phytochemical that fights the free radicals that lead to heart failure. Apples are also certified fat-free.
Avocado is known to be high in fat, but relax, most of it is unsaturated. A serving of one sliced avocado amounts to 160 calories and contains vitamins C and B. it also provides folate, a nutrient derived from folic acid in vitamin B, which breaks down and utilizes the proteins that can help minimize heart attack.
The heads of broccoli, called florets, are rich in beta carotene. Broccoli also contains sulforophane, a phytochemical that can prevent cancerous tumors. Lutein, the antioxidant found in eggs, is also present in broccoli. It can help prevent colon cancer.
This cruciferous plant is also rich in folate, fiber and vitamin C, which help prevent heart disease. When buying broccoli, choose the ones that have a darker green shade –they have higher nutritional amounts.
Why not shift to something better than polished white rice? Wholegrain brown rice contains minerals such as magnesium and phosphorus, which are crucial to maintaining healthy bones, as well as vitamins B.
Its rich fiber content also helps balance blood sugar levels, and the presence of carbohydrates makes it a rich source of minerals like zinc.
One of the most easy-to-digest beans, chickpeas is rich in minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium. It is also very rich in vitamin C (far more than other legumes) that it’s now regarded as one of the best disease fighting legumes.
“Avoid eggs,” others might say, “they’re loaded with cholesterol.” An average egg yolk has generally two-thirds of the recommended daily value of the dreaded fat, but it also contains phosphatidylcholine, which may actually help lower cholesterol content in the body.
The yolk also contains lutein, an antioxidant that may prevent age-related bodily degradation, and lecithin, which can minimize the build-up of fat in the liver. Eggs are actually rich in nutrients and low in saturated fats.
Health specialists regard garlic as a modern-day miracle food. The same sulfur compounds that are responsible for its pungent odor are virtually the same compounds that help lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol.
Increased garlic consumption can also inhibit blood clotting. It can also be eaten raw to reduce nasal congestion and to help relieve colds. Never mind if your breath smells after eating it—garlic is good!
This rhizome or underground stem has been considered a great healer throughout the centuries. It can alleviate motion sickness and nausea, relieves migraines and arthritis, and inhibits blood clots.
Ginger also contains a compound called gingerol that lowers blood pressure. Ginger can also block the effects of prostaglandins, substances that cause inflammation of the blood vessels in the brain, which leads to migraines.
Did you know that just one ordinary-sized guava contains five times more vitamin C than an orange? The vitamin content is an antioxidant, which helps decrease bad cholesterol levels in the body. Guavas are also recognized as a good source of potassium.
POTS AND PANS AND VITAMIN C: Whenever you cook vegetables, some destruction of vitamin C actually results. If you want to retain the nutrients as much as possible (and don’t want to eat your vegetables raw), then use a stainless steel pan when you heat them, That’s because vegetables boiled in a stainless steel pan retain more of their vitamin C than vegetables that are boiled in a non-stick pan or a glass dish on the stove top.
The mango is perhaps the best fruit source of beta carotene, which helps fight cancer. Mangoes are also rich in the antioxidant vitamins C and E. mangoes are a good substitute for sweets such as candies and cakes.
That’s because a medium-sized fruit contains only about 15% sugar compared to commercially manufactured sweets.
Unlike refined or polished grains, whole grains are made up of the fiber-rich bran, the endosperm, and the nutrient-rich germ. Thus, whole grain foods like oatmeal contain vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates needed for energy.
Fiber can also help maintain healthy body weight, reduce blood cholesterol levels and maintain blood sugar levels.
Doctors have long recommended that a good breakfast includes a bowl of oatmeal. It fills you up so you eat less throughout the day, and the soluble fiber prevents cholesterol and saturated fats from entering the bloodstream while the insoluble fiber helps cancer-causing agents to exit through your intestines.
Onions don’t just make you cry—they make you healthier as well!
Eating raw onions actually help reduce cholesterol levels because they increase your HDL or high-density lipoprotein level that helps reduce the cholesterol deposit in your body tissues and blood vessels.
Onions contain sulfur compounds which result in the distinct odor and flavor used in cooking.
These compounds can actually help prevent the growth of cancer cells. Evidence also suggests that onions can help prevent circulatory disease such as heart disease, stroke and poor circulation—and that’s well worth the tears every time you peel open an onion!
Also known as pawpaw, papaya is one of nature’s best foods because it’s full of beta carotene and vitamin C. One large slice can give you not just good amounts of calcium and iron but up to a third of your daily vitamin C requirements!
It’s a good source of soluble fiber which helps lower cholesterol. It’s most precious derivative is an enzyme called papain that helps digestion and eases inflammation.
In fact, papain-based ointments can be used to remove roughened skin from wounds.
They may have substantial amounts of fat, but peanuts are also good sources of fiber, helping control blood glucose and prevent dietary fat and cholesterol from entering the blood.
It also contains arginine, an amino acid that may help relax blood vessels for better blood pressure control.
Chili peppers are known to speed up metabolism so that you can burn more calories during relaxed moments. They
can also relieve sinusitis by thinning down the mucus in sinuses. Chilies are also a good source of vitamin C and antioxidants, which help eject oxygen molecules that naturally come with aging.
And did you know that capsaicin, the potent compound in chilies which gives off that hot, burning sensation in the mouth, can actually help you lose weight? Nutritional data reveals that people eat fewer calories in a meal that includes chili peppers.
Care for a bell pepper for a snack? Red bell peppers actually provide three times more vitamin C than oranges. They also contain the anti-cancer nutrients beta carotene.
Sesame seeds maintain steady blood sugar levels because they’re rich in protein and good fats, along with vitamins E & B.
These fats reduce LDL cholesterol because they’re mostly unsaturated. Sesame seeds are also a source of bone strengthening calcium and magnesium.
WHAT ABOUT CRAVINGS? When your appetite for certain food is strong and you have difficulty disciplining yourself to stay away from them, then you have a craving.
To reduce your addiction, eat low-fat foods rich in carbohydrates at regular intervals, eat your favorite foods moderately, and avoid going hungry.
The sweet news about this starchy root crop is that it’s actually an excellent source of the cancer-fighting beta carotene, especially in the orange-fleshed variety. It also contributes vitamin C, potassium and fiber.
Tomatoes are rich lycopene, a powerful antioxidant (it’s more potent than beta carotene, in fact) that keep cancerous agents out of your system. Lycopene also gives tomatoes its distinctive red color.
A Harvard University study reveals that middle-aged men who eat ten or more servings of tomatoes a week cut their risk of prostate cancer by as much as 50%. Trivia: a tomato is botanically a fruit and not a vegetable!
If all those advertisements for tomato catsup get you raving about the anti-cancer compound lycopene, here’s a surprise: watermelon contains almost 50% more lycopene than tomatoes.
It helps protect against prostate cancer, prevent heart attack by reducing arterial plaque buildup, and minimize cellular damage leading to other age-related illnesses such as arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease.
Remember. You are what you eat. The power of nutrition is downright real. The effects that our diets have on our health are proven, and all it takes is motivation and dedication in ensuring that you eat only what’s best for you.
Stay away from fatty and low-nutrition foods as much as possible. It may be a challenge at first, but you’ll get used to it in the long run.
Make it a habit to always know the nutritional content of everything you consume. And remember, if you want to feel, look and be younger, then do what your mother and father once told you: take your vitamins!