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33 Healthier foods more nutritious than you think

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Apples, broccoli, olives and yogurt undoubtedly appear on all health food lists. But that’s not all: science shows us that they are so nutritionally complete that we can almost call them therapeutic foods.


This basic fruit brings so many health benefits that it is difficult to list them. Apples contain quercetin, a powerful antioxidant that protects brain cells from degeneration. Its richness in natural fibers would preserve us from the dangers of colon cancer. And, of course, the apple is a heroine for our heart. Adults who eat apples are 37 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure, and one group of researchers has found that women who eat at least one apple a day are 28 percent less likely to develop diabetes than those who eat who do not eat it.


Their color indicates the presence of carotenoids, the beta-carotene-specific antioxidant linked to cancer prevention . Apricot is also rich in potassium, a mineral essential for the proper functioning of nerves and muscles and which also helps normal blood pressure and the balance of bodily fluids.


This bulbous vegetable is a great source of silymarin, an antioxidant that prevents cancer of the skin.


Yes, asparagus can make urine smelly, but you still have everything to gain by incorporating it into your diet. Asparagus contains a natural diuretic, asparagine, which helps the body get rid of excess fluid and salt. It is also rich in folate, a vitamin B that helps fight stress.


In equal amounts, this creamy fruit contains 60 percent more potassium than banana, and is an excellent source of monounsaturated fat good for the heart. The avocado is also stuffed with plant sterols, which are known to lower cholesterol. Add avocado slices to a sandwich, and its fat will slow the digestion of bread, reducing its impact on your blood sugar level.


They say the banana she is a genius of fruit. It comes to us in its own sealed and portable container. A single banana gives about 100 calories and contains large amounts of potassium and fiber, but not the slightest fat. It can also boast about hiding tryptophans and 30 percent of your daily intake of vitamin B6, which helps our brain produce serotonin so we can get through the day with less stress.


This cereal that our grandmothers delighted in is frankly underestimated from a health point of view. Its greatest virtue is that barley extracts it from its soluble fiber, which reduces cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease. Barley fiber is present throughout the seed, so its benefits can be felt even when refined. Niacin and vitamin B3 from unrefined barley can also protect against cardiovascular disease.

Beans and legumes

The modest kidney bean is a nutritional bomb – packed with fiber, vitamin B, iron, potassium and other minerals, while being very low in fat. The legumes contain a good dose of therapeutic phytochemicals such as isoflavones, particularly effective against heart disease. Studies have shown that 10 grams of soluble fiber a day – 300 grams (1½ cups) of white beans – reduce LDL cholesterol by about 10 percent.

Lean beef

It is not the main cause of heart attacks that we have been led to believe, especially if you stick to the recommended daily portion of 100 grams (3 ounces). Many cuts are 20 percent leaner than a few years ago. The beef is an excellent source of iron, essential for transporting oxygen in the blood. And a daily serving of 100 grams provides you with over 25 percent of your daily intake of selenium, a trace mineral essential to the proper functioning of our immune system.


The next time you see a beetroot salad at the restaurant menu , order it, and you’ll do a lot of service to your heart! Beets are an extraordinary source of folate and betaine, nutrients that, together, lower the level of homocysteine, an amino acid responsible for inflammation of the arteries. Beets also contribute to the production of nitric acid, which improves blood circulation. MRI examinations of older adults have shown that the frontal lobes of those who eat a diet rich in nitrates (including beet juice) are better irrigated, which could have an impact on the risk of dementia.


Whether it’s blackberries, blueberries, strawberries or raspberries, these sweet and juicy berriesare a real mine of nutrients. Their very high level of antioxidants neutralizes free radicals, unstable compounds that can damage cells and cause diseases such as cancer. Their antioxidants can also slow the aging of our brain and improve our memory. They are finally a blessing for the heart. Adults who eat 250 ml (1 cup) of berries each day have their total cholesterol levels go down and the levels of good cholesterol (HDL) increase.


One of the most nourishing and studied vegetables; this good old broccoli is full of vitamins, minerals and other substances able to fight the disease. Broccoli seems to be even more effective than its cruciferous cousins. A Chinese study of women with cancer found that those who consumed the most were 62 percent less likely to die and 35 percent less likely to re-offend. Broccoli’s vitamin K is also excellent for healthy bones.


Bugs Bunny, it’s health embodied! The carrots are our most abundant source of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that our body can convert into vitamin A – an essential nutrient for healthy hair, skin, eyes and bones. A US government study found that volunteers who ate 1 cup (250 ml) of carrots a day saw an average cholesterol drop of 11 percent after just three weeks.


Low in calories, celery is the favorite of diet people placed in front of an assortment of dips. But this vegetable a little neglected and empty of calories is not so empty of nutrients, how one might think. Celery is a good source of potassium, a useful mineral for muscle function and the neutralization of sodium side effects on blood pressure. And the phytochemicals of celery help destroy benzopyrene, a carcinogen found in food cooked at very high temperatures.


How to imagine a life without cheese  ? (Let’s thank heaven that this is just as good for you!) According to a study, women who go for a lot of calcium in dairy products (including cheese) are much less likely to have a metabolic syndrome, which is linked to heart disease and diabetes. When consumed in moderation, cheese provides bone and muscle with good doses of calcium and protein. Even your teeth love cheese! Natural fats form a film around your teeth that acts as a barrier against bacteria causing cavities.


This grain owes its bad reputation to its overuse in processed foods. Yet, eaten on the cob or burst, corn is probably healthier than you think. Cooked sweet corn contains a compound, ferulic acid, that inhibits carcinogens. These small yellow grains are also a good source of lutein, a powerful antioxidant that could help lower the risk of macular degeneration, a common cause of blindness in older adults.


When you think of eggsand health, the first thing that comes to mind is their high cholesterol. But it turns out that in reality, they do not contribute to our cholesterol level. In fact, eggs are a good source of nutrients, cost three times nothing, and we arrive in one of the best packaging that Mother Nature ever imagined: they are portable, versatile and delicious. The zinc and iron they contain can keep the shine of your hair and prevent your nails from crumbling. Eggs also contain a compound, choline, which helps cholesterol travel through the bloodstream as well as fat assimilation and the repair of certain neurological damage. Yellow is one of the few foods to contain vitamin D,


Whether accompanying cheese or salad, figs have surprising health benefits . They are very rich in fiber, potassium and manganese, and are among the few fruits to contain calcium, excellent for the electrical activity of the heart. Many people with digestive problems also thank the natural laxative effects of this fruit to combat chronic constipation.


In every bite of fish, there is a mine of nutrients. Its fat is particularly rich in good polyunsaturated fatty acids, and all fish are full of protein, niacin, vitamin B12, zinc, magnesium, and more. Fish eating three times a week is associated with a sharp decline in the rate of heart disease. Omega-3s in fish oils reduce the adherence of blood platelets, making them less likely to form clots. Fish omega-3 reduces inflammation of the arterial walls and lowers triglyceride levels.


This bulbous plant with a spicy taste is not only used to give a fantastic taste to Italian cuisine. Garlic has so many therapeutic virtues that it can be called a medicinal plant . It can reduce the blood pressure of those with high blood pressure by 7 to 8 per cent. Garlic also seems to fight the hardening of the arteries. Its compounds act as powerful antibacterials, antivirals and natural antifungals. It can even be as effective at fighting fungi as some antifungals sold in pharmacies.


This little fruit is a heavyweight in the fight against the disease. The grapes contain quercetin, a plant pigment that regulates cholesterol levels and reduces the tendency of blood platelets to clot. The skin of red grapes contains resveratrol, a potent chemical compound linked to lower cancer incidence, heart attacks and stroke. The grapes also contain ellagic acid, which is thought to protect the lungs from toxins in the environment.


Yes, calcium , very present in milk, makes us feel good. But your milk mustache does not just protect you from bone diseases like osteoporosis. Harvard studies have concluded that people who incorporate dairy products into their daily diet are 21 percent less likely to become insulin-resistant, and 9 percent likely to develop type 2 diabetes.


Mushrooms are one of the best vegetable sources of niacin, a vitamin that can help reduce the risk of heart disease and atherosclerosis. One hundred grams (3 ounces) of portobellos give almost 20 percent of the daily dose of niacin. Portobellos and white mushrooms are also good sources of selenium, which can help prevent prostate cancer. The Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging concluded that men with the lowest levels of selenium in the blood were four to five times more likely to develop prostate cancer than those who had a lot in the blood. Japanese studies have also highlighted the ability of fungi to strengthen the immune system; their high concentration of glutamic acid seems to be crucial in the fight against infections.


If nutritionists could recommend that you only eat a snack for the rest of your life, that would be it. We can not count the health benefits of nuts Harvard researchers found that women who ate nuts regularly (a handful five times a week) reduced their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 20 percent compared to those who ate less. In a 119,000-person study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, people who ate 30 grams (1 ounce) of nuts, the equivalent of about 50 pistachios or 25 almonds, were less likely to die on period of 30 years than those who never ate it. The authors of the study believe that high levels of unsaturated fat in nuts will reduce cholesterol levels and inflammation, and at the same time the risk of cancer, heart disease, and many other diseases.


Maybe you eat oatmeal at lunch because it satiates you, or because you’ve heard that it’s full of fiber, or because it’s very good at the microwave. But your morning cereal can also lower your cholesterol, lower your blood pressure and prevent diabetes. The sound of oats full of soluble fiber called beta-glucan. Three grams (1/2 teaspoon) of beta-glucan each day (about what you take in 250 ml (1 cup) of oat bran) can lower your cholesterol by 5 percent. Minnesota study found that people who ate 5 grams of soluble fiber daily saw their blood pressure drop significantly compared to people who did not take it.

Olive oil

After knowing the many benefits of olive oil for health , you will not be able to stop putting it everywhere. One study found that adults who ate 30 ml (2 tablespoons) of olive oil daily for just one week saw their blood LDL cholesterol levels go down and their antioxidant levels rise. According to laboratory studies, hydroxytyrosol and oleuropein, antioxidants found in olives and olive oil, would work together to protect against breast cancer. And olive oil helps reduce inflammation, which contributes to arthritis, heart disease and many other health problems.


For sure, vitamin C from orange invites the cold to keep its distance, but it is not the only thing that can do for your health this citrus. Orange contains a host of plant pigments that can prevent or delay the growth of tumors. Beta-cryptoxanthin, a carotenoid, can help prevent colon cancer. And according to a French study, orange juice can lower blood pressure thanks to the effects of hesperidin, a flavonoid that makes up 90 percent of all flavonoids found in orange juice. Orange also contains good amounts of pectin in the membranes that separate its neighborhoods. This soluble fiber helps control cholesterol levels.


Ah, pasta! It is so easy to love them. But it’s not because swallowing overflowing plates of carbonara is disastrous for your waistline that eating pasta in reasonable quantities is not a healthy choice! Whole grain pasta , which contains three times more fiber than white pasta, will not cause large fluctuations in your blood sugar, and is therefore a great way for diabetics to get their carbohydrate dose. Whole grains also play a role against colon cancer. According to a Swedish study, people who consume more than 4.5 servings of whole grains each day would be 35 percent less likely to get colon cancer than those who eat less than 1.5 servings.


Mom was right to ask you to finish them. Peas are lower in calories and fat than other high-protein foods: 125 ml (1/2 cup) contains only 60 calories per 4 grams of protein. A study published in the International Journal of Cancer found that daily consumption of green peas and other legumes reduced the risk of stomach cancer. Peas also contain lutein, a plant compound known to reduce the risk of macular degeneration.


Did you know that, at equal volume, peppers were richer in vitamin C than citrus fruits? This colorful vegetable is packed with bioflavonoids, a plant pigment that helps prevent cancer. Beta-carotene and vitamin C prevent atherosclerosis. Vitamin C and other pepper antioxidants not only strengthen the immune system, but also contribute to healthy bones, teeth, hair and skin.


If we often think that potatoes make us fat, it’s because we usually eat them in a processed form that is very fat and salty. But in itself, the potato is surprisingly nutritious and low in calories. A medium baked or boiled potato contains only 120 to 150 calories, some protein, and almost no fat. The skin of potatoes is rich in chlorogenic acid, a phytochemical with anti-cancer properties. Potatoes are also low in sodium and high in potassium, making them an ideal food for fighting high blood pressure.


Every time you dive your teeth in this sun fruit, you protect your body from heart disease and cancer. When people with heart disease take 7 grams of lycopene every day, the reaction of their blood vessels with nitric oxide – which helps the veins to dilate and maintain a good blood flow – increases by 50 percent over to those who take a placebo. Over time, the tissues surrounding the walls of the blood vessels of the heart become as good in people consuming lycopenes as in healthy people. This amount of lycopene corresponds to about two tomatoesraw or 80 ml (1/3 cup) of tomato juice daily. The gelatinous substance surrounding the tomato seeds is rich in salicylates, which have an anticoagulant effect. And a famous Harvard study found that men who ate tomato foods on a regular basis were less likely to develop prostate cancer.


We continue to list the benefits of yogurt . Its probiotics strengthen the balance of good and bad bacteria, which can destroy the growth of pathogens in the body. Excellent source of calcium and phosphorus, yogurt helps you strengthen your bones. A large study has associated the absorption of an additional portion of yogurt per day to an 18 percent decrease in the risk of getting type 2 diabetes. Yogurt probiotics can help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation, but further research must be conducted to understand the exact mechanisms.

Dr. Kanika Singla

Ph.D., IARI Postdoctoral Scholar, UC Berkeley

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