By Edward Bauman, M.Ed, Ph.D.
The top 12 most health-enhancing foods.
Avocado: Reduces risk of heart attack. Aids in blood and tissue regeneration. High in protein, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, and manganese. Stabilizes blood sugar and excellent for heart disorders.
Beets: Richer than spinach in iron and other minerals. One of the best foods to relieve constipation. Good for obesity. Aid digestion, as well as lymphatic, gall bladder, and liver function. Also aid anemia by helping to build red blood cells.
Blueberry: Unusual type of antibiotic action, blocking attachment of bacteria that cause urinary tract infections. Also has anti-viral activity. Contains silicon, which helps rejuvenate the pancreas. Good for diabetic conditions.
Cabbage (including broccoli and bok choy): Contains numerous anti-cancer and antioxidant compounds. Helps block breast cancer and suppress growth of polyps, a prelude to colon cancer. Eating cabbage more than once a week cut men?s colon cancer odds 66%, and as little as two daily tablespoons of cooked cabbage protected against stomach cancer (Murray and Pizzorno, 2005). Contains anti-ulcer compounds; cabbage juice helps heal ulcers in humans. Kills bacteria and viruses. Stimulates the immune system. A good blood purifier and vitalizing agent.
Carrot: High in beta carotene, a powerful anti-cancer, artery-protecting, immune-boosting, infection-fighting antioxidant with wide protective powers. A carrot a day slashed stroke rates in women by 68%. The beta-carotene in one medium carrot cuts lung cancer risk in half, even among formerly heavy smokers (Murray and Pizzorno, 2005). Improves the eyesight. Beta carotene, as found in carrots, substantially reduces odds of degenerative eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration. The high soluble fiber in carrots promotes regularity. Cooking can make it easier for the body to absorb carrot?s beta-carotene. Builds healthy skin and tissue. Good for heart disease. Reduces the risk of cancer.
Celery: A traditional remedy for high blood pressure. Eat two to four stalks a day. Also has a mild diuretic effect. Contains eight different families of anti-cancer compounds that detoxify carcinogens. Aids digestion, as well as kidney and liver function. Good for blood sugar regulation. Reduces water retention. Helps regulate the nervous system.
Cranberry: An excellent curative and preventative therapy for the entire breathing apparatus. Contain a natural vasodilator, which opens the bronchial tubes. Long used for its powers against bacterial infections and viruses of the bladder, kidneys, and urinary tract.
Flax seed: Used primarily for constipation. Helps with gastritis, colitis, or other inflammations of the digestive tract. Lowers blood fat levels often associated with heart attacks and strokes. Its soluble fibers reduce harmful blood cholesterol levels. Rich source of lignans, a documented anti-cancer agent that prevents colon and breast cancer. Improves moods, diminishes allergies, and produces healthier skin.
Fish and fish oil: An ounce a day cut risk of heart attacks by 50% (Murray and Pizzorno, 2005). Omega-3 fatty acids in fish can relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, asthma, psoriasis, and high blood pressure. A known anti-inflammatory agent and anti-coagulant. Raises good HDL cholesterol. Lowers triglycerides. Guards against glucose intolerance and Type II diabetes. Some fish are high in antioxidants, such as selenium and coenzyme Q-10. Exhibits anti-cancer activity, especially blocking development of colon cancer and spread of breast cancer. Fish highest in omega-3 fatty acids include sardines, mackerel, herring, salmon, and tuna.
Garlic: Broad-spectrum antibiotic that combats bacteria, intestinal parasites, and viruses. Lowers blood pressure and blood cholesterol, discourages dangerous blood clotting. Two or three cloves a day cut the odds of subsequent heart attacks in half in heart patients. Contains multiple anti-cancer compounds and antioxidants, topping the National Cancer Institute?s list of a potential cancer-preventing food. Lessens risk of stomach cancer in particular. A good cold medication, acting as a decongestant, expectorant, and anti-inflammatory agent. Boosts immune response.
Mushroom (maitake and shiitake): Enhances immune function. Used as a longevity tonic, heart medicine, and cancer remedy in Asia. Current research shows that mushrooms, such as maitake, help prevent and/or treat cancer, viral diseases, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Eaten daily, maitake or shiitake, fresh (three ounces) or dried (one-third ounce), cut cholesterol by 7% and 12%, respectively (Murray and Pizzorno, 2005). Used to treat leukemia in China and breast cancer in Japan.
Seaweed: One of the best foods to nourish the thyroid; its iodine content helps prevent goiter. Rich in important minerals, so helpful against many degenerative diseases. Benefits include reducing blood cholesterol and helping disorders of the genito-urinary and reproductive systems. Kelp has anti-bacterial and anti-viral activity. Most types of seaweed have anti-cancer activity. Studies show that some seaweeds (including arame, hiziki, and kombu) can help remove radioactive elements from the body (Murray and Pizzorno, 2005). Long acclaimed as beauty aids as they help maintain beautiful skin and lustrous hair.
Health-Enhancing Herbs and Spices
Fenugreek seed: A spice common in the Middle East and available in many U.S. food markets. Has anti-diabetic powers, helping to control surges of blood sugar and insulin. Has anti-cancer properties and tends to lower blood pressure. Helps prevent intestinal gas.
Ginger: Classic tonic for the digestive tract. Stimulates digestion and keeps the intestinal muscles toned. Acts as an anti-inflammatory agent, so can relieve symptoms of arthritis. Supports a healthy cardiovascular system.
Parsley: Anti-cancer because of high levels of antioxidants. Good for purifying the blood and stimulating the bowel. Rich in iron, copper, and manganese. Makes an excellent tea and helps to release retained water. Builds the blood and stimulates brain activity.
Turmeric: A marvelous medicinal spice. Its main active ingredient is curcumin, which gives turmeric its intense cadmium yellow color. Curcumin is an anti-inflammatory agent on a par with cortisone and can reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Helps to lower cholesterol. Protects the liver from toxins, boosts stomach defenses against acid, lowers blood sugar in diabetics, and acts as a powerful anti-cancer agent.
Remember to buy organic foods whenever possible!
Murray, Michael T.; Pizzorno, Joseph; and Pizzorno, Lara (2005). The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York: Atria Books (a division of Simon & Schuster).