Foods with more bang for your buck
Spinach contains antioxidants (beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E), calcium, iron, folic acid and vitamin K, many of which help strengthen the immune system, reduce the risk of heart disease, strokes and some cancers and may also be protective against macular degeneration and cataracts.
Tomatoes also contain the antioxidants Beta carotene, vitamins C & E, and also zinc. They contain the antioxidant lycopene, which has been shown to decrease the risk of heart disease and also prostate and breast cancer. They also contain salicylates which prevent ‘thickening’ of the blood and they are also immune system enhancing.
Blueberries contain anthocyanidins – which may slow and even reverse age-related mental decline. They also help fight inflammation and infection. Blueberries are high in antioxidants, are cholesterol lowering, good for night vision, heart protective and are cancer preventative
Oats contain soluble fibre, which is cholesterol lowering and heart protective. Oats are low GI (meaning sugars are released slowly into the blood stream), blood sugar stabilising and contain selenium, which reduces the risk of cancer. All in all a fantastic breakfast choice!
Yoghurt is particularly revered for its live bacteria – acidophillus, lactobacillus - and other probiotics. These promote healthy intestinal bacteria, thereby protecting the digestive tract – and are especially useful after antibiotics to prevent thrush. Yoghurt can also help prevent and treat ulcers caused by the Helicobacter pylori bacteria
Garlic is anti-inflammatory, antiviral and a natural antibiotic. Garlic may reduce the risk of cancer and stimulate detoxification process of the liver. It protects the heart, reduces LDL (bad) cholesterol, increases HDL (good) cholesterol, reduces the risk of blood clots and lowers blood pressure.
Onions are a fantastic source of antioxidants, so they are protective against stroke, cancer and heart disease. Onions contain sulphur which reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol levels and are protective against asthma and some inflammatory disorders (eg Rheumatoid arthritis).
Nuts contain omega 6 essential fatty acids, protein and a myriad of vitamins and minerals. They help lower cholesterol, prevent blood clotting and help to normalise heart rhythm. Brazil nuts are especially high in the anti-cancer mineral selenium and almonds are particularly high in calcium Aim to eat a handful of walnuts, almonds, brazil nuts and hazelnuts daily.
Seeds, including sunflower seeds, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), linseed (flaxseed) and sesame seeds, are concentrated sources of nutrients. They are high in omega 3 & 6 fatty acids, reduce blood pressure and are cancer protective.
Sunflower seeds contain Vitamin E, selenium and magnesium so are cancer protective. Pumpkin seeds are especially important due to their zinc content. Sesame seeds are high in calcium, magnesium and have anti-inflammatory properties, whereas linseeds are the highest plant source of omega 3 fatty acids and are highly protective against hormone-related cancers.
Soy is a complete protein and contains much fibre and phytoestrogens. Soy offers protection against cancer (particularly hormone-related cancers), heart disease, osteoporosis, and menopausal symptoms and also lowers blood cholesterol
Citrus fruits – contain antioxidants, phytonutrients, high vitamin C (aids iron absorption from other foods)
Oily fish contain high amounts of omega 3 essential fatty acids, zinc, low fat protein source. They promote a healthy heart and are vital ‘brain food’. They are anti-inflammatory (due to the omega 3s), contain vitamin D and selenium – so are cancer protective also. Eat sardines and mackerel, tuna, salmon
Green tea – the most beneficial and least processed tea - is a potent antioxidant, reduces cancer risk and heart disease, lowers blood sugar levels and helps prevent type 2 diabetes (late onset)
Avocado is a fantastic source of essential fatty acids. They are high in antioxidants and contain vitamin E which helps maintain healthy skin and circulation. It is also a good source of potassium and the B vitamins and improves absorption of antioxidants from other food eaten at the same time.
Check out JR's Nature's Super Foods website here
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