When it comes to what you put into your body, what better place to turn to for direction than science? Medical professionals have spent years in labs studying the ins and outs of foods, their genetic make ups and what makes them so good/bad for you. By isolating the various components that different foods are made up of, science is able to offer us nutritional information down to the last calorie and vitamin. With this knowledge at our disposal, let’s take a look at ten of the most nutritious foods that nature has to offer us.
It has often been said that if you were stranded on an island and only had access to one type of food, Avocados would be your best bet. While often touted as a no-no because of their high fat content, Avocados actually benefit you by supplying the healthiest type of fat you can consume. This good for you fat lowers your cholesterol which helps ward off dangerous conditions such as strokes and heart attacks. Also high in beta-sitosterol, Avocados help block your absorption of cholesterol from other foods as well. Gluthathione, one of Avocado’s powerful antioxidants, is a proven cancer fighting compound and can help keep inflammation (the root of most illnesses) at bay.
Containing more than 100% of your suggested daily intake of Vitamin C, just one little lemon can help increae your good HDL cholesterol levels. Good cholesterol levels lead to a healthy heart and brain and help keep your arteries free and clear. Vitamin C also helps strengthen bones and tissue. Lemons are also widely recognized for their anti-inflammatory effects due to the flavonoids they possess. Regular consumption of lemon juice is believed to help prevent the growth of cancer cells in the human body. Heat up a mug of water mixed with honey and the juice of one lemon to enjoy the benefits of this nutritious little fruit.
Packed with soluble fiber, beans are amazing for one of your most important organs, your heart. The fiber absorbs cholesterol and helps the body dispose of it before it gets stuck on the artery walls. By consuming a diet high in soluble fiber, studies have shown that a person can reduce their total cholesterol by 10 to 15 percent. The fiber and protein that beans offer is beneficial to maintaining a proper blood sugar level and their high magnesium content helps relax arteries and can have a positive impact on regulating hormones. Whether baked or in a soup, add beans to your regular diet and enjoy their many antioxidant properties.
Mom wasn’t kidding when she said that eating your greens is essential to maintaining good health. A serving of broccoli delivers a powerful punch of Vitamin K and Vitamin C. Both are necessary to building strong and healthy bones. Due to its antioxidants, broccoli is also known to stave off many different types of cancer when consumed on a regular basis. Steam, microwave or add it to casseroles for a healthier you.
Blueberry picking isn’t just a great family weekend activity, it can also help add longetivity to your life. These delicious little fruits are nutritional powerhouses packed with flavonoids (called anthocyanins) that help protect against heart disease and ward off cancer. These antioxidant pigments (which actually give the fruit their blue color) also help prevent age-related blindness and loss of memory. Feel a UTI coming on? Just like cranberries, blueberries can help prevent urinary tract infections due to their content of epicatechins. These naturally occurring antioxidants prevent bacteria from sticking to the walls of the bladder.
Don’t throw away all of that Halloween candy, some of it may be good for you. Science shows that just one-fourth of an ounce of dark chocolate can help reduce blood pressure in healthy individuals. Nutritionists even recommend consuming a small amount on a daily basis. Cocoa is rich in flavonoids proven to increase the good and reduce the bad LDL cholesterol levels. Who are we to argue with science?
Flaxseed is touted for it’s lignin content, which acts like estrogen in the body. Lignans are known to block estrogen receptors on cells which reduces the rate of certain hormone related cancers like breast cancer. Flaxseed is also rich in fiber and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which is an essential fatty acid. ALA reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke by thinning the blood so that it can flow smoothly. Sprinkle a teaspoon these disease fighting little seeds on your cereal or yogurt to start your day off right.
Take out the butter and milk and those mashed potatoes are actually quite good for you! In just one red potato you’ll find 66 micrograms of folate, a cell-building molecule. Likewise just one sweet potato contains more than six times the amount of Vitamin A, which fights cancer and boosts your immune system, than you need per day.
Garlic doesn’t just ward off vampires, it also keeps bacteria, fungal and viral infections at bat. Due to it’s high antibacterial properties, garlic has even been shown to eliminate some antibiotic-resistant bacteria when studied in test tubes. Garlic contains sulfur compounds which provide many cardiovascular benefits thanks to their antioxidant abilities. Garlic acts as a blood thinner, lowers cholesterol, and can significantly reduce your risk of stroke and heart attack. By consuming garlic regularly, you can even help prevent your risk of stomach, prostate and colorectal cancers. The sulfur compounds detox your body from harmful carcinogens before they can damage your DNA. What are you waiting for? Grab some garlic and chow down!
As long as it’s wild caught, salmon can provide an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids which helps reduce risk of heart disease, cancer, and even depression. Salmon contains niacin which scientists believe may help protect the brain from onset of Alzheimer’s disease. A study in Sweden found that men who consumed moderate amounts of fatty fish significantly reduced their risk of prostate cancer. Drench in lemon, salt and pepper and bake or grill for a delicious, nutritious meal.
We live in a day and age where eating healthier is as easy as ever. While modern technologies allow us to prepare and spice up food in all types of ways, the above foods have stood the test of time with their amazing nutritional values and prove to be the healthiest foods you can consume. Thanks to science we can be assured that we are consuming the healthiest diet available to us!