Sticking to what nature gives you, is what keeps you healthy. Processed foods are man made with lots of additives and preservatives, lots of sugar and salt and certainly not a healthy option.
In keeping with the ‘40’ theme, here in my opinion, are 40 foods that can keep you healthy.
These are a great source of vitamin K, vitamin C, and manganese.
Berries tend to have a good nutritional profile. They are typically high in fibre, vitamin C and antioxidant polyphenols so help to prevent and reduce symptoms of many chronic diseases.
Blueberries contain anthocyanins that may reduce oxidative stress, thus lowering the risk of heart disease in both healthy people and those at high risk for the disease. They also may lower LDL, ‘bad’ cholesterol in the blood, reducing the risk of heart attack and enhancing the function of arteries.
Blueberries can lower the risk of diabetes by up to 26% and they may even slow the rate of cognitive decline, meaning the brain remains healthy with age.
Contain antioxidant polyphenols called ellagitannins, which can help reduce oxidative stress/inflammation. They may also increase leptin, a hormone that makes you feel full.
3. Goji Berries
Also known as wolfberries, contain high levels of vitamin A and zeaxanthin, both of which are important for eye health. It is thought that drinking goji berry juice can increase metabolism and reduced waist size in overweight people.
These are good for heart health and can reduce blood cholesterol, triglycerides and oxidative stress.
Strawberries can also reduce inflammation by lowering inflammatory chemicals in the blood and they may help control blood sugar levels, which is important for preventing diabetes.
Like many other berries, contain antioxidant polyphenols. However, most of these antioxidants are in the skin of the cranberry. Therefore, cranberry juice does not contain as many polyphenols
The best-known health benefit of cranberries is reducing urinary tract infections (UTIs). Certain chemicals in cranberries prevent the bacteria E. coli from sticking to the wall of the bladder or urinary tract, therefore preventing infection. Cranberry juice may reduce the risk of other infections as well.
H. pylori is a type of bacteria that can cause stomach ulcers and cancer. A number of studies have shown that cranberry juice can prevent H. pylori from attaching to the stomach wall and thus prevent infection.
Cranberry juice has also shown various benefits for heart health. Many studies have found that drinking cranberry juice can reduce cholesterol, blood pressure, oxidative stress and “stiffness” of arteries. However make sure you avoid varieties of cranberry juice with lots of added sugar.
6. Citrus Fruits
These are an excellent source of vitamin C, a nutrient that strengthens the immune system and keeps your skin smooth and elastic.
Citrus fruits also have good amounts of other vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function properly, including B vitamins, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium and copper. Additionally, they are rich in plant compounds that have various health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. These compounds include over 60 varieties of flavonoids, carotenoids and essential oils, and they are responsible for many of citrus fruit’s health benefits.
Citrus fruits are a good source of fibre improving digestive health, and oranges are particularly high in soluble fibre, helping to lower cholesterol levels and triglycerides so helping heart health.
Citrus fruits may help to lower the risk of kidney stones that form when your urine is very concentrated or when you have higher than normal amounts of stone-forming minerals in your urine. There is a type of kidney stone that is caused by low levels of citrate in urine and citrus fruits can increase your citrate levels.
Citrus fruits may help boost brain function and protect the brain from neurodegenerative disorders because flavonoids found in citrus fruits have anti-inflammatory effects that are thought to help protect against the chain of events that causes the nervous system to deteriorate.
Eating citrus fruits can make your body alkaline which is important to help prevent viruses, bacteria and fungi from invading the body. They can only survive in an acid medium.
Cherries are rich in potassium, fibre and vitamin C. They contain antioxidants, including anthocyanins and carotenoids, which reduce inflammation and may help prevent several diseases including gout.
Another impressive health benefit of cherries is their melatonin content. Melatonin is a hormone that signals your brain when it’s time to sleep. It may help treat insomnia and other sleep disorders.
Is a very healthy fruit that is high in vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium and folate. It is also rich in the anti-cancer antioxidant lycopene, and it has been shown that the body absorbs lycopene better from papaya than from other lycopene-rich fruits and vegetable.
There is also some evidence that papaya may improve digestion. It contains papain, an enzyme that makes protein easier to digest.
Are very healthy. Their high antioxidant content of anthocyanins and resveratrol, have both been shown to reduce inflammation.
Some studies also suggest that the plant compounds in grapes may help protect your heart, eyes, joints and brain.
These are high in nutrients and healthy fats. The most abundant nutrients are Vitamin K, folate vitamin C, potassium that is linked to low blood pressure, B5, B6, Vitamin E. It also contains small amounts of magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorous and vitamins A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin).
It is a low carbohydrate fruit with lots of fibre and protein. The majority of the fat in avocado is oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid that is also the major component of olive oil and believed to be responsible for some of its health benefits. Oleic acid has been associated with reduced inflammation and shown to have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer.
The fats in avocado are also rather resistant to heat-induced oxidation, making avocado oil a healthy and safe choice for cooking.
Eating avocados can lower the risk of heart disease by reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, reducing blood triglycerides and increasing HDL (good) cholesterol
Eating avocados should benefit your eye health over the long term because they are high in lutein and zeaxanthin. These are important nutrients for eyes and help to lower your risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
These are low in calories and packed with essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They contain protein, fibre, vitamin C, vitamin A, Vitamin K, an essential nutrient involved in blood clotting and bone health. Folate, a nutrient that is vital for a healthy pregnancy and many important processes in the body, including cell growth and DNA formation. Potassium, phosphorus, vitamin E and small amounts of other micronutrients, including iron, zinc and riboflavin.
Asparagus, like other green vegetables, are high in antioxidants. These include vitamin E, vitamin C and glutathione, as well as various flavonoids and polyphenols. Antioxidants are compounds that help protect your cells from the harmful effects of free radicals and oxidative stress that contribute to aging, chronic inflammation and many diseases, including cancer.
Asparagus is particularly high in insoluble fibre, which adds bulk to stool and supports regular bowel movements. It also contains a small amount of soluble fibre, which dissolves in water and forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract, feeding the friendly bacteria in the gut, such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus.
70% of your immune system is in the gut so increasing the number of these beneficial bacteria plays a role in strengthening the immune system and producing essential nutrients like vitamins B12 and K2.
This has powerful anti-inflammatory effects helping acne, eczema and other inflammatory issues. With its pectin-based polysaccharides, including a compound known as apiuman, it can help with acid reflux, and improve the lining of the stomach, reducing bloating, IBS and constipation.
It is high in Vitamin C and vitamin K and because of its diuretic properties and the fact that it contains magnesium, phthalides, and potassium, celery may actually help those with high blood pressure.
With minerals like magnesium, iron and sodium celery can be quite alkalising that helps to prevent bacteria, viruses and fungi taking a hold.
Although we think of cucumber as vegetable it is in fact a fruit. It is high in nutrients and antioxidants including flavonoids and tannins, and low in calories. It contains a good amount of water and soluble fibre and is therefore useful in hydration and weight loss. It helps to regulate your bowel movements and pectin, a fibre found in cucumbers, can speed up the movement of intestinal muscles and therefore increase bowel movement frequency.
Cucumbers contain an anti-inflammatory flavonol called fisetin that appears to play an important role in brain health. It helps to improve your memory and protects your nerve cells from age-related decline.
They also contain polyphenols called lignans that may help to lower your risk of breast, uterine, ovarian, and prostate cancers. They contain phytonutrients called cucurbitacins, which also have anti-cancer properties.
Cucumbers may help to “cool” the inflammatory response in your body and they contain numerous antioxidants, including the well-known vitamin C and beta-carotene. They also contain antioxidant flavonoids, such as quercetin, apigenin, luteolin, and kaempferol, which provide additional benefits.
Placing a cucumber slice on the roof of your mouth may help to rid your mouth of odour-causing bacteria. According to the principles of Ayurveda, eating cucumbers may also help to release excess heat in your stomach, which is said to be a primary cause of bad breath.
This has recently been found to improve exercise performance and endurance and even quality of life. It can help to relax blood vessels when a person is at rest, which, in turn, prevents the heart from having to work so hard. Beet juice has high concentrations of nitric oxide and this helps to develop and enhance circulation in young adults, because it reduces blood pressure.
Beetroot is high in fibre, and essential minerals like potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function) and manganese (which is good for your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas). It also contains the B vitamin folate, which helps reduce the risk of birth defects.
Beetroot heals your liver when it becomes overloaded due to either, a poor diet, excessive alcohol consumption, exposure to toxic substances or sedentary lifestyle. It helps in the detoxification process because it contains betaine, a substance that helps prevent or reduce fatty deposits in the liver. Betaine may also help protect your liver from toxins.
The nutrients that beetroot contains, help fight inflammation, detoxify and with high amounts of vitamin C, fight infections. Beetroot may combat cancer, particularly pancreatic, breast, and prostate cancers and the folate in beets, may lower stroke risk.
Is low in calories, but rich in essential vitamins and minerals and fibre.
Broccoli belongs to the cruciferous vegetables family and its close relatives include brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage. Broccoli contains sulforophane, a sulfur-containing compound present in all cruciferous vegetables.
A cup of cooked broccoli offers as much vitamin C as an orange, and is a good source of beta-carotene, folate (folic acid) that helps in the production and maintenance of new cells in the body, potassium and vitamin K. Broccoli contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, iron, magnesium, potassium, essential for the functioning of nerves and heart contraction, and zinc too, great for healing.
These are carbohydrates and low glycaemic so that they do not raise the blood sugar too quickly. Their main source of soluble fibre is pectin that helps to lower blood sugar levels.
Carrots are a good source of several vitamins and minerals, especially biotin, potassium, K1 and B6. They are rich in beta carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A. This nutrient promotes good vision and is why we tell our children that eating carrots will make them see in the dark! Vitamin A is also important for growth, development, and immune function.
Biotin plays an important role in fat and protein metabolism, vitamin K1 is important for blood coagulation and can promote bone health, potassium is important for blood pressure control and B6 is involved in the conversion of food into energy.
The main plant compounds in tomatoes are lycopene a red pigment and antioxidant, beta-carotene an antioxidant that often gives foods a yellow or orange hue, and is converted into vitamin A in your body, naringenin found in tomato skin, this flavonoid has been shown to decrease inflammation and protect against various diseases and chlorogenic acid a powerful antioxidant compound that may lower blood pressure in people with elevated levels.
Higher levels of beta-carotene and lycopene lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes and aid in lowering LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol. They also have a protective effect on the inner layer of blood vessels and may decrease your risk of blood clotting.
Studies have noted links between tomatoes and fewer incidences of prostate, lung, and stomach cancers and tomatoes rich in lycopene and other plant compounds are beneficial to the skin and may protect against sunburn.
This is a very nutrient dense vegetable and being very green or even purple it is great in helping to make you more alkaline.
It is loaded with powerful antioxidants such as quercetin and kaempferol, beta carotene and vitamin C all of which help to reduce inflammation, protect the heart, lower blood pressure and can have anti-viral, anti-depressant and anti-cancer effects,
Kale contains substances that bind bile acids and lower cholesterol levels in the body. Steamed kale is particularly effective.
Vitamin K is an important nutrient that is involved in blood clotting and there are other nutrients that have protective effects against cancer. One of these is sulforaphane, a substance that has been shown to help fight the formation of cancer at the molecular level, and another is indole-3-carbinol that is believed to help prevent cancer.
Many important minerals are found in kale, some of which are generally lacking in the modern diet. These include calcium, potassium and magnesium and kale is high in lutein and zeaxanthin, nutrients important for eye health.
Is considered to be very healthy as it is full of nutrients and antioxidants and a very alkaline food. It is high in insoluble fibre that adds bulk to the stool as food passes through your digestive system. This may help prevent constipation.
It is an excellent source of vitamins including A,C K1 essential for blood clotting, Folic acid, iron and calcium, a crucial signalling molecule for your nervous system, heart, and muscles, also potassium, magnesium vitamin B6, B9 and E
Spinach contains several important plant compounds including lutein, kaempferol, nitrates for heart health, quercetin an antioxidant to ward of infections and inflammation and Zeaxanthin.
The antioxidants in spinach fight oxidative stress and help to reduce the damage it causes. Spinach is rich in zeaxanthin and lutein, that are the carotenoids that protect your eyes from the damage caused by sunlight,
Spinach contains two components, MGDG and SQDG, which may slow down cancer growth and also high amounts of nitrates that have been shown to help moderate blood pressure and decrease your risk of heart disease.
Garlic is a plant in the Allium (onion) family, and has been used throughout ancient history as a medicinal plant. Most of its health benefits come from sulfur compounds formed when a garlic clove is chopped, crushed or chewed and perhaps the most famous of those is known as allicin. The others are diallyl disulfide and s-allyl cysteine.
Garlic is rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6 and manganese. It also contains trace amounts of various other nutrients. It can act like an antibiotic and help prevent and reduce the severity of common illnesses like the flu and the common cold.
High doses of garlic can help to improve blood pressure and reduce total and LDL cholesterol and reduce lead toxicity. Garlic also appears to have some benefits for bone health by increasing estrogen levels in females.
21. Sweet Potato
They have a rich supply of vitamin A and are high in vitamin C, potassium, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), niacin (vitamin B3), vitamin B6, manganese, magnesium, and copper. They get their orange color from beta-carotene an antioxidant that helps to prevent free radical damage and therefore reduce inflammation.
Sweet potatoes have a high fibre content which is important in digestive health and in helping to prevent illnesses such as colon cancer. It also helps to reduce cholesterol levels and with potassium balancing with sodium, maintains a healthy blood pressure. Copper, essential for making red blood cells, also keeps the heart healthy.
A sweet potato is a complex carbohydrate so helps to keep your blood sugar stable. They contain alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, all compounds that are good for the eyes and fuel brain growth development with nutrients such as choline and manganese.
Up to 80% of the protein in sweet potatoes is a type of storage protein known as sporamin. This unique protein has been studied for anti-cancer ability and found to be effective in several disease types.
Is part of the brassicaceae family like kale, sprouts and cabbage and packs a vast array of nutrients such as vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A calcium and manganese. It also has small amounts of vitamin E, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and copper.
Watercress is extremely high in antioxidants, which may help prevent chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease. They are also high in phytochemicals that are activated when they’re cut with a knife or chewed. They include chemicals such as sulforaphane and phenethyl isothiocyanate that protect against cancer by safeguarding healthy cells from damage, inactivating carcinogenic chemicals and blocking the growth and spread of tumours. They have been shown to prevent colon, lung, prostate and skin cancers.
Watercress also contains dietary nitrates, which boost blood vessel health by reducing inflammation and decreasing the stiffness and thickness of your blood vessels. Dietary nitrates have also been shown to lower blood pressure by increasing nitric oxide in your blood.
Watercress contains many nutrients important for bone health, including over 100% of the RDI for vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus.
This can be classified as a ‘superfood’. Its unique combination of fatty acids can have positive effects on your health including fat loss, better brain function and raising the good HDL cholesterol in your blood, which is linked to reduced heart disease risk.
Fats in coconut oil are known as medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). When you eat these types of fats, they go straight to the liver, where they are used as a quick source of energy or turned into ketones. Ketones can have powerful benefits for the brain and may be a good treatment in conditions such as epilepsy and Alzheimer’s.
50 % of the fatty acids in coconut is made up of lauric acid which can kill harmful pathogens, including bacteria, viruses and fungi. This could potentially help to prevent infections.
They can also significantly reduce appetite, which may lead to some weight loss over the long term.
Coconut oil can raise blood levels of HDL cholesterol, which is linked to improved metabolic health and a lower risk of heart disease. It can also be applied topically, with studies showing it to be effective as a skin moisturiser and protecting against hair damage. It has also been used like a mouthwash in a process called oil pulling, which can kill some of the harmful bacteria in the mouth, improve dental health and reduce bad breath.
24. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
This is rich in monounsaturated oleic acid. This fatty acid is believed to reduce inflammation and may even have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer.
It is loaded with antioxidants that help to reduce inflammation and it has been found that those who consume olive oil are at a much lower risk of stroke. It also protects “bad” LDL cholesterol from oxidation, improves the lining of your blood vessels and may help prevent excessive blood clotting.
Olive oil can help reduce joint pain and swelling from rheumatoid arthritis. The beneficial effects are greatly increased when combined with fish oil.
Olive oil contains many nutrients that can inhibit or kill harmful bacteria and has been found to be particularly effective against Helicobacter pylori, a type of bacterium that can cause stomach ulcers and stomach cancer.
Despite being high in fat, they are low in carbohydrates and are a great source of several nutrients, including vitamin E, magnesium, and selenium so have a number of impressive health benefits.
They are antioxidant powerhouses and can combat oxidative stress by neutralising free radicals.
Nuts may help lower total and ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and triglycerides while boosting levels of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol. They may be one of the best foods for people with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes because they are low in carbs and don’t raise blood sugar levels much. Thus, substituting higher-carb foods for nuts should lead to reduced blood sugar levels.
Nuts have strong anti-inflammatory properties especially in people with diabetes, kidney disease, and other serious health conditions. They are high in fibre and are extremely good for your heart.
These are a good source of protein, fibre and vitamins. They contain amino acids, which are the chemicals that combine to form protein and help build muscle. Protein is an essential nutrient and can be divided into two different categories complete and incomplete. Out of all the types of beans, only soybeans contain all nine amino acids. Incomplete proteins can be easily combined with nuts, seeds, dairy, or grains to make complete proteins that are important for overall health.
Beans contain several vital nutrients, including folate as well as zinc, iron, magnesium and fibre. They are rich in a type of antioxidant called polyphenols that fight the effects of free radicals. They help to lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease.
Beans may help stabilise blood glucose levels or even prevent diabetes. They are high in fibre, which can help lower blood glucose levels.
They enhance gut health by improving intestinal barrier function, and increasing the number of healthy bacteria. This may help prevent gut-associated diseases.
They are edible seeds from the legume family. They are packed with B vitamins, magnesium, zinc and potassium and are a good source of iron in a vegetarian diet.
They are high in fibre, which supports regular bowel movements and the growth of healthy gut bacteria. Eating lentils can increase your stool weight and improve your overall gut function.
Lentils contain a broad range of beneficial plant compounds called phytochemicals, many of which protect against chronic diseases, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
They are rich in polyphenols that are known to have strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. They inhibit the production of the inflammation-promoting molecule cyclooxygenase and are able to stop cancer cell growth, especially on cancerous skin cells.
Lentils may protect your heart by supporting weight loss, preventing homocysteine accumulation in your body and improving cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
They contain all the starting materials necessary to develop into complex plants and so they are extremely nutritious.
Seeds are great sources of fibre. They also contain healthy monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats and many important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Seeds are great sources of healthy fats, vegetarian protein, fibre and antioxidant polyphenols.
Furthermore, they can help reduce the risk of certain diseases. In particular, the lignans, a type of polyphenol that acts as an antioxidant in certain seeds, may help lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
Lignans are phytoestrogens and have shown to reduce the markers of tumour growth in women with breast cancer, and may also reduce the risk of other cancers such as prostate in men’s cancer.
Seeds can also help to reduce blood sugar therefore lowering the risk of diabetes. Eating chia seeds can also increase ALA in the blood. ALA is an important omega-3 fatty acid that can help reduce inflammation. The proportion of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in hemp seed oil is roughly 3:1, and hemp seeds also contain gamma-linolenic acid, an important anti-inflammatory fatty acid that has been found to help people with eczema who suffer dry skin and itchiness.
They are a good source of carbohydrate, and fibre, including the powerful fibre beta-glucan. Beta-glucan partially dissolves in water and forms a thick, gel-like solution in the gut and helps to reduce LDL and total cholesterol levels, reduce blood sugar and insulin response, increase the growth of good bacteria in the gut and increase the feeling of fullness.
Oats are also higher in protein and fat than other grains and loaded with important vitamins, minerals and antioxidant plant compounds including a unique group of antioxidants called avenanthramides, which are almost solely found in oats.
Avenanthramides may help lower blood pressure levels by increasing the production of nitric oxide. This gas molecule helps dilate blood vessels and leads to better blood flow. They also have anti-inflammatory and anti-itching effects.
Some research suggests that oats may help prevent asthma in children when fed to young infants due to their anti-inflammatory effects.
Another antioxidant, Ferulic acid, is found in large amounts in oats.
Is a seed, high in protein and one of the few plant foods that contain sufficient amounts of all nine essential amino acids.
It is also high in fibre, magnesium, B vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E and various beneficial antioxidants.
It contains quercetin and kaempferol, which have been shown to have anti-histamine, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-cancer and anti-depressant effects.
Quinoa has a low glycaemic index therefore helping to reduce blood sugar, insulin and triglyceride levels.
Are high in protein and make an excellent replacement for meat in vegetarian and vegan diets that are low glycaemic, therefore maintaining healthy blood sugar levels reducing the risk of several diseases including diabetes and heart disease.
They are a rich source of vitamins, minerals and fibre and offer a variety of health benefits, such as improving digestion and aiding weight loss due to their appetite-lowering effects and potential to help reduce calorie intake at meals.
Chickpeas contain moderate amounts of folate, iron, phosphorus, copper and manganese.
32. Brown Rice
Is considered a whole grain because it contains all parts of the grain including bran that is full of fibre, germ, endosperm and rich in carbohydrates. It is an important source of energy.
Whole grain foods such as brown rice, due to their fibre, can reduce cholesterol and lower the risk of stroke, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Brown rice also nourishes good bacteria in the gut so making it a healthy option.
Brown rice is a good source of selenium, which plays an important role in thyroid hormone production, antioxidant production, and immune function. Also, magnesium and calcium that help with muscle contraction and bone development. It contains B vitamins, folate that helps the body form new cells and can prevent certain birth defects, and iron, a mineral that the body uses to carry oxygen in the blood. It is helpful in providing relief from insomnia because it is a natural source of the sleep hormone melatonin.
Brown rice is helpful in the prevention of colon cancer, breast cancer and leukemia due to the presence of potent antioxidants and a high fibre content. The fibre content present in brown rice has the ability to bind itself to harmful cancer-causing toxins in the body. This prevents the toxins from attaching to the walls of the colon and so helps eliminate them from the body.
33. Oily Fish
Such as trout, salmon, sardines mackerel, pilchards, kippers, eels, whitebait, herring and tuna have been linked to many health benefits and can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet. They are a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
They contains the two fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) that are believed to benefit the cardiovascular system and have been shown to reduce inflammation and potentially lower the risk of cancer, and arthritis. They have also shown to lower the risk of heart attacks, strokes and death from heart disease
Consuming oily fish during the last months of pregnancy can have positive effects on a child’s sensory, cognitive, and motor development.
DHA can protect against vision loss in older people and may improve working memory. Studies have shown that people who eat fish every week have more grey matter in the centres of the brain that regulate emotion and memory and are therefore much less likely to become depressed.
Fish is the only good source of Vitamin D. This important vitamin actually functions like a steroid hormone in the body, and a huge number of the population are deficient in it. Fish oil consumption is also linked to reduced risk of type 1 diabetes in children, as well as a form of autoimmune diabetes in adults.
Contains bio-active compounds with powerful medicinal properties. These compounds are called curcuminoids, the most important of which is curcumin.
Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric, it has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. However, the curcumin content of turmeric is not that high and you would have to consume vast amounts to gain any medicinal benefits, so taking a supplement is more beneficial.
Curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream but it helps to consume black pepper with it, which contains piperine, a natural substance that enhances the absorption of curcumin by 2,000%. There are other herbs that can also be used in synergy to enhance the effect as in the supplement Protandim.
Scientists now believe that chronic, low-level inflammation or oxidative stress plays a major role in almost every chronic, Western disease including heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s, aging and various degenerative conditions. Curcumin being a strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant can help reduce the chronic inflammation by blocking NF-kB, a molecule that travels into the nuclei of your cells and turns on genes related to inflammation, and by neutralising free radicals, highly reactive molecules with unpaired electrons.
Curcumin may be effective in delaying or even reversing many brain diseases and age-related decreases in brain function because it can increase brain levels of BDNF a type of growth hormone that functions in the brain helping neurons form new connections. It can also cross the blood-brain barrier and has been shown to lead to various improvements in the pathological process of Alzheimer’s disease.
Cinnamon is a spice that is made from the inner bark of trees scientifically known as Cinnamomum.
It contains large amounts of highly potent polyphenol antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory effects. It can reduce levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and has been shown to reduce blood pressure
Many people are resistant to the effects of insulin, and cinnamon can dramatically reduce insulin resistance therefore increasing insulin sensitivity and lowering blood sugar levels,
Two compounds found in cinnamon appear to inhibit the build up of a protein called tau in the brain, which is one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease and cinnamon may help protect neurons, normalise neurotransmitter levels and improve motor function in Parkinson’s disease.
Cinnamaldehyde, one of the main active components of cinnamon, may help fight various kinds of infection. Cinnamon oil has been shown to effectively treat respiratory tract infections caused by fungi, and it can also inhibit the growth of certain bacteria including Listeria and Salmonella.
Gingerol is the main bioactive compound in ginger, responsible for much of its medicinal properties. It has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects
Ginger appears to be highly effective against nausea, such as in morning sickness, travel sickness, after surgery and in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Ginger has shown to be effective against exercise-induced muscle soreness and reducing pain and stiffness in osteoarthritis. It can lower blood sugar levels and improve various disease risk factors in patients with type 2 diabetes. Ginger appears to speed up the emptying of the stomach, which is beneficial in people with indigestion and related stomach discomfort and it can assist in menstrual pain if taken at the start of the menstrual period.
Ginger has a substance called 6-gingerol that may have protective effects against cancer. Gingerol also can help lower the risk of infections and inhibit the growth of many different types of bacteria. It is very effective against the oral bacteria linked to inflammatory diseases in the gums, such as gingivitis and periodontitis.
Black pepper is rich in a potent antioxidant called piperine, that may help to prevent free radical damage to your cells, and it may also be effective in reducing inflammation.
Piperine has been found to improve memory and it can decrease the formation of amyloid plaques in the brain that have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
Piperine may help increase the absorption of certain nutrients such as calcium and selenium and also enhance the effect of certain herbs such as cucumin.
Black pepper may improve cholesterol levels, blood sugar control, and brain and gut health.
38. Hot Peppers
Contain capsaicin that acts as an anti-irritant by providing trace amounts of anti-oxidants and other chemicals to aid digestive issues such as, healing an upset stomach, reducing intestinal gas, curing diarrhoea and acting as a natural remedy for cramps. It also helps produce saliva and stimulates gastric juices aiding digestion.
Capsaicin prevents heart disease by lowering blood serum cholesterol and lipid deposits, therefore reversing excessive blood clotting. It also dilates the blood vessels to aid in blood flow.
Spicy peppers increase the metabolic rate by generating the thermogenic processes in your body that generates heat. This utilises energy and burns additional calories.
The capsaicin in pepper flesh has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, effective against breast, pancreatic and bladder cancers. Hot peppers are full of beta-carotene and antioxidants that support your immune system and will aid in fighting off colds and the flu.
Consumption of peppers fights against 16 fungal strains by reducing fungal pathogens. Due to the anti-inflammatory benefits of capsaicin, hot peppers can help prevent allergies and symptoms from allergies.
Are loaded with nutrients! They contain all the nutrients that are required to turn a single cell into a baby chicken, so they contain a little bit of almost every nutrient you need. They contain choline that is used to build cell membranes and has a role in producing signalling molecules in the brain, along with various other functions
They increase levels of HDL cholesterol, and egg yolks contain large amounts of both lutein and zeaxanthin. powerful antioxidants that accumulate in the retina of the eye that reduce eye diseases.
Eggs are an excellent source of protein, and contain all the essential amino acids in the right ratios, so your body is well-equipped to make full use of the protein in them.
40. Green Tea
Is rich in polyphenols including large amounts of a catechin called EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate) that can reduce inflammation and help to fight cancer. Catechins are natural antioxidants that help prevent cell damage and some studies show that they can kill bacteria and inhibit viruses like the influenza virus, potentially lowering your risk of infections
Streptococcus mutans is the primary harmful bacteria in the mouth. It causes plaque formation and is a leading contributor to cavities and tooth decay.
Studies show that the catechins in green tea can inhibit the growth of Streptococcus mutans. Green tea consumption is associated with improved dental health and a lower risk of caries
Green tea has small amounts of minerals that are important for health. It also has the amino acid L-theanine, which is able to cross the blood-brain barrier. L-theanine increases the activity of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, which has anti-anxiety effects. It also increases dopamine and the production of alpha waves in the brain.
Green tea has been shown to increase fat burning, boost the metabolic rate and can improve insulin sensitivity so reducing blood sugar levels.