Healthy healing foods

Foods not only turbo charge your engine, but can be a great tool for your bodys general upkeep as well, giving you the fundamentals to ward off the regular wear and tear. If you’re not already eating these superfoods, it’s time to get in the fast lane.

What foods do you require to keep your engine running on all cylinders? The vast majority of foods with healing qualities work best in preventative roles and are most effective when consumed as whole foods. If you’re not already eating these superfoods, it’s time to get in the fast lane.

Bean dieting?

Beans are a great source of protein and fibre and are extremely filling, keeping you full for longer. Additionally, The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study reporting a healthy diet rich in lean protein - about half from plant sources such as beans - was found to lower blood pressure and "bad" LDL cholesterol, and to cut the risk of heart disease by 21 percent. These magical foods are full of antioxidants and, in some studies, have been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Thank you berry much!

Strawberries, raspberries and especially blueberries have been touted as great sources for antioxidants. Researchers at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Ageing at Tufts University analyzed 40 fruits and vegetables for their disease-fighting antioxidant activity. They found blueberries to have two to three times as much antioxidants as apples, broccoli, spinach and many other fruits and vegetables.

Berries are thought to slow the deterioration of joints as well. According to a Boston University study of arthritis patients, these foods protected joints because of the vitamin C they contain. Vitamin C is also a key component in the creation of collagen, a necessary component of cartilage and bone.

Go nuts for your heart

Nuts are a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids (you already know this!), but did you know they can help lower "bad" LDL cholesterol levels? Walnuts have especially high levels of omega-3s, which reduce the risk of heart disease and hypertension.

Japanese men and women who ate a one-fourth to one-third cup of walnuts a day lowered their "bad" LDL cholesterol levels by up to 10 percent. Walnuts, almonds and pistachios are all high in arginine, an amino acid that increases blood flow to the heart.

Grainy reception

Researchers at the University of Minnesota suggest that eating three daily servings of whole grains can reduce the risk of heart disease by 25 percent to 36 percent, stroke by 37 percent and type 2 diabetes by 21 percent to 27 percent. Wholegrains include oats, wholewheat, brown rice, bulgur and bran. Ditch the white or softgrain bread - you’re a grown up now. Go for breads labeled “whole” and skip those “enriched” kiddy breads.

Yo-yo yoghurt

Yoghurt is the king of foods containing probiotics, the "friendly" bacteria that helps fight illness and disease. Yoghurt seems be the most beneficial of the probiotics. Two recent studies suggest that eating yoghurt significantly improved a person’s ability to fight off pneumonia. You can eat yoghurt every day - just make sure the brand you buy contains "live" or "active" cultures, as the bacteria won’t be very effective if they’re dead before you ingest them.

Fish food

Study upon study indicates that incorporating oily fish such as salmon into your diet reduces blood pressure, lowers cholesterol and helps prevent heart disease. New research from the University of California, San Diego, reports that a higher intake of omega-3 fatty acids preserves bone density, keeping your bones stronger and protecting against fractures. These omega-3 fatty acids can also be found in other cold-water oily fish, such as sardines, fresh tuna, herring and mackerel.

Cabbage curbs cancer?

The American Association for Cancer Research presented a study at the November 2005 meeting that found Polish women who ate cabbage or sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) four or more times per week were 74 percent less likely to develop breast cancer. Additional studies found that cabbage may also protect against lung, stomach and colon cancers. The secret ingredient seems to be sulforaphane, a phytochemical in cabbage that works by stimulating cells to eradicate cancerous substances.

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