It's best to eat healthy ...we are bombarded by messages from the media telling us to go natural, organic and stick to unprocessed foods. What we put in our bodies can either harm or heal.
So where do we begin?
According to many experts, a healthy diet includes lots of vegetables, berries, healthy fats, and lean protein. Add to these nuts, seeds, fermented foods and a bit of fruit and whole grains.
However there are certain super foods that can boost immunity and ostensible aid in preventing and curing certain ailments and diseases.
This tropical fruit is a powerhouse of beneficial properties.
Guavas contain more of the cancer-fighting antioxidant lycopene than any other fruit or vegetable, and nearly 20 percent more than tomatoes. Our bodies can't process much of the lycopene in tomatoes until they're cooked; the processing helps break down tough cell walls. However, guavas' cell structure allows the antioxidant to be absorbed whether the fruit is raw or cooked, and the whole fruit offers the nutrition without the added sodium of processed tomato products.
Lycopene protects our healthy cells from free radicals that can cause all kinds of damage, including blocked arteries, joint degeneration, nervous system problems, and even cancer.
"Yoghurt is produced when live, active cultures of lactobacillus bulgaricus, streptococcus thermophilus, and sometimes lactobacillus acidophilus are added to milk, which is kept warm for a few hours." Says Mala Rao, a Hyderabad based nutritionist.
As the bacteria multiply, the milk curdles and much of its lactose is converted to lactic acid. Some types of yoghurt are then pasteurized or reheated, which destroys the bacteria.
There are some indications that people who regularly eat live-active yoghurt have stronger immune systems says a report in the Harvard Health Letter.
Researchers from the University of California, at Davis, U.S.A. assigned three groups of volunteers either to consume a daily 450 gram (about 2 cups) serving of low-fat, live active yoghurt; 450 grams of pasteurized, low fat yoghurt; or no yoghurt at all for four months.
When the researchers analyzed white blood cells from the participants, they found that the people in the live-active yoghurt group produced¬ far more gamma interferon, a protein that boosts the immune response than those who consumed heat-treated yoghurt or none at all.
Beans are a wonder food. They lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar and insulin production, promote digestive health, and protect against cancer.
An assortment of phytochemicals found in beans has been shown to protect cells from cancerous activity by inhibiting cancer cells from reproducing, slowing tumor growth. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health reported that women who consumed beans at least twice a week were 24 percent less likely to develop breast cancer, and multiple studies have tied beans to a reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and breast and colon cancers
Popeye ate it in truckloads but muscle building isn't its only claim to fame... Spinach protects against eye disease and vision loss; it's good for brain function; it guards against colon, prostate, and breast cancers; it protects against heart disease, stroke, and dementia; it lowers blood pressure; its anti-inflammatory; and it's great for bone health. Spinach has an amazing array of nutrients, including high amounts of vitamin K, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, magnesium, and iron.
A carotenoid found in spinach not only kills prostate cancer cells, it also prevents them from multiplying. Folate promotes vascular health by lowering homocysteine, an amino acid that, at high levels, raises the risk of dementia and cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke.
They make you cry whilst cutting and smell after eating - but if you can overlook these two points, onions are amongst nature's wonder foods.
Onions help lower the risk of prostate and esophageal cancers and have also been linked to reduced mortality from coronary heart disease. Research suggests that they may help protect against stomach cancer. Onions contain sulfides that help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as a peptide that may help prevent bone loss.
These root veggies are super antioxidants. They contain quercetin, a natural antihistamine that reduces airway inflammation and helps relieve symptoms of allergies and hay fever. Onions also boast high levels of vitamin C, which battles cold and flu symptoms. Onions' anti-inflammatory properties help fight the pain and swelling associated with osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis.