Healthy foods serves as one of the best medicines for enhancing your energy levels, stimulating your immune system to fight infections and diseases at a faster rate, stabilizing your mood levels and improving your cognitive faculties. Even though, a wide range of medications and treatments are available for treating many debilitating conditions, which have plagued our society, no treatments can exert their benefits without changing your eating habits and incorporating healthy foods in your treatment regimen.
However, in order to extract the maximum nutrients, minerals and health benefits of these foods, you should ensure that you should replace refined and processed foods with whole foods since the process of refinement can strip off the essential nutrients from the food. The following list of foods can be used as a replacement for snacks that are high in trans fatty acids and refined sugar, for maintaining a healthy body.
Foods With Potential Health Benefits
Apples act as excellent sources of proteins, fiber, vitamin A, C, D, E, K, certain B vitamins like thiamine, niacin, folic acid, pantothenic acid, vitamin B12 and minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, etc. They are rich in flavonoids called phloridzin and boron, which aid in increasing bone density and strengthening bones in post menopausal women, who are at a greater risk of developing osteoporosis.
The pectin content not only reduces the levels of LDL or bad cholesterol in the body, but also raises the levels of galacturonic acid in the blood that reduces the need for insulin, thereby helping in managing diabetes and weight gain. Quercetin is a powerful anti-oxidant found in apples that protects brain cells from oxidative stress, thereby serving as a cure for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.
Fish is low in fat content and high in proteins, which are composed of all the essential amino acids that are to be included in our diet. It is the richest source of good fats called omega-3 fatty acids, which are required for maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system through their ability to lower the levels of LDL or bad cholesterol and elevate the levels of HDL or good cholesterol in the bloodstream. In addition, it is required for healthy eyes and to fight the symptoms of asthma and a variety of cancers like breast, colon, prostate cancer, etc.
Fish oil also aids in obtaining lustrous and shiny hair and a smooth and glowing skin by helping in the treatment of many skin ailments like dryness, redness, rashes, lesions, eczema, psoriasis, etc. Most importantly, omega-3’s make up the fatty tissue that makes up 60% of the brain, thus aiding in the development of nervous system during the prenatal and the postnatal stages.
As a result, it slows down cognitive decline and serves as a cure for different neurological impairments like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, etc. Hence, it is advisable to replace red meat containing high amounts of bad fats or omega-6 fatty acids with fish, which is relatively low in calories and can therefore help you in shedding those extra pounds.
After remaining in the shadow of other fruits for years together, cherries have emerged as a super fruit for their immense anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant potential. Its active compound, namely anthocyanin is one of the most powerful phytonutrients, which not only inhibits the synthesis of prostaglandins that mediate inflammation in the body, but also blocks pain signals coming from the brain, thereby serving as a good candidate for obtaining relief from arthritic joint pains.
Its effectiveness as an antioxidant for warding off harmful free radicals far exceeds that of vitamin C and E, thus aiding in alleviating the symptoms of heart diseases and cancer. It is also a very good source of potassium, vitamin A, magnesium, iron, folic acid and fiber, which aid in promoting blood circulation to the brain and improving digestion, thus acting as a perfect snack for people who are struggling with weight loss. Its high potassium content makes it a luring alternative to bananas for overcoming post-workout soreness and muscle pain, without actually consuming too many calories.
Avocados are enriched with healthy fats like mono-unsaturated fats, poly-unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, which are required for boosting cognitive abilities like concentration, focus, learning and memory. They are also rich in vitamin B12, B9, C and K and other minerals like manganese, potassium, iron and copper. Its folic acid content promotes blood circulation in the body, especially to the brain, thus providing protection against stroke.
It serves as a powerhouse of glutathione and vitamin E, both of which serve as potent anti-oxidants for eliminating harmful free radicals from the body. Beta-sitosterol is a compound found in avocados, which is known for its ability to lower cholesterol levels in the blood, thus providing protection against heart diseases. It is rich in anti-cancerous compounds that aid in preventing oral and breast cancer. Also, it is packed with lutein, a carotenoid that protects the eye membrane, thereby preventing the two most disabling eye diseases namely age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
Broccoli is loaded with vitamin C, which acts as a powerful anti-oxidant for warding off free radicals from the body and a powerful immune stimulant to keep infectious diseases at bay. Its fiber content binds with bile acids, which aid in speeding up the process of carbohydrate metabolism in the body, thus helping in lowering the levels of bad cholesterol in the body.
Enriched with vitamin D, A and K, broccoli improves blood circulation and aids in maintaining healthy bones and eyes. It serves as one of the best foods for detoxifying the body through the presence of phytonutrients called glucosinolate, which regulate the process of detoxification by neutralizing and eliminating waste substances and toxins from the body.
The use of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides can dramatically lower the nutritional values of the above-mentioned foods and hence one should purchase organic foods that are rich in nutrients, essential for leading a healthy and a happier life. Also, bear in mind that moderation is the key for achieving the right balance of healthy carbohydrates, proteins, fats, soluble fiber and vitamins that are required for sustaining a healthy body.
Hence, it is not wise enough to consume healthy foods in excess or eliminate certain foods completely from your diet in an attempt to lose weight. In fact, one should try and limit foods that promote weight gain and increase your intake of low glycemic index (GI) foods that raise blood sugar and insulin levels slowly and steadily and foods that are rich in soluble fiber to keep you feeling full for longer periods of time.