The saying an apple a day keeps the doctor away is probably one you’ve heard before, especially from a parent trying to instill the virtues of healthy eating to their child. Although we sometimes shrug off these phrases, there is a very good reason for understanding the effect fruit and vegetables have on our bodies. The nutrients in plant-based food not only provide the nourishment our bodies need to function effectively, but research shows they actually do help to prevent particular types of illness and disease.
So here’s a list of 5 delicious and completely natural foods that have been proven to protect your body against bad health.
Packed with antioxidants, beetroot is one of the most beneficial foods for our body. A 2008 study found that consuming 500mls of beetroot juice lowered blood pressure because of the high presence of nitrate found in it. And the good news doesn’t stop there, studies have also concluded that beetroot juice can slow the progression of dementia by improving the flow of oxygen to the brain.
One of the most popular fruits, especially when summer hits, doesn’t just make a tasty daiquiri, it also helps to keep our heart healthy. Strawberries have been proven to reduce the risk of heart attacks in women. In addition, strawberries contain ellagic acid – an antioxidant that contributes to keeping our skin full of elasticity therefore helping to slow the onset of aging skin.
They may not look like much on the outside but this orange-fleshed vegetable contains an impressive list of antioxidants. So impressive, in fact, that sweet potatoes are thought to play a role in preventing heart disease and cancer. As well as containing high levels of vitamins C and E, sweet potatoes are also rich in fiber, promoting a healthy digestive tract.
Not just a flavoursome herb, basil can also ease an upset stomach. The compound, eugenol, kills off bacteria such as salmonella to keep nausea and diarrhea at bay. As if that wasn’t enough, eugenol has also been found to be anti-inflammatory meaning that it could provide relief for people suffering with conditions such as arthritis.
This household staple not only packs a high potassium punch but it also helps to lower stress levels. The high levels of vitamin B6 found in this yellow fruit promote a rise in serotonin, a chemical that plays a key role in our mood. So adding bananas to your diet can help to keep your mind just as healthy as your body.
With nature providing an array of foods that have proven links to healing our body, why not see how you can centre your diet around them? Not only do they promise to treat your taste buds, they can also keep your body in tip-top shape.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/32029534@N00/26661272720″>sugar glazed, scott richard</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>
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