25 Foods With Surprising Health Benefits from 25 Foods With Surprising Health Benefits
25 Foods With Surprising Health Benefits
25 Foods With Surprising Health Benefits
Many of you will be surprised to know that what you eat and drink can affect your body in positive and negative ways. Certain foods – usually very high in vitamins and minerals – provide more health benefits than others.
Fruits are essential to a nutritious diet. The striking, bright orange and red colors of some of our favorite fruits – oranges, grapefruit, watermelon – signal that they’re rich in beta carotene, vitamin C, and a substance called bioflavonoids, says Max Wiseberg, airborne allergies expert and creator of the HayMax allergen barrier balm.
Many of the foods on this list also have a positive effect on your digestive system. “Focus on gut health, after all, it is your second brain, and is so important,” Tahli Watts, Nutritionist and Founder of Golden Grind, says. Consuming the right foods may help heal your gut by regulating digestion, eliminating toxins, and increasing your immune response.
Red Onions and Apples
Both of these foods “contain high amounts of the natural antihistamine quercetin, which can help reduce hay fever symptoms,” says Max Wiseberg, airborne allergies expert and creator of the HayMax allergen barrier balm. “Combine one of these in a sweet and sour or fruit salad with pineapple, which contains bromelain and helps the body to absorb quercetin.”
“Commonly used in Middle Eastern and Asian cuisine, [turmeric] is a spice containing curcumin, which has been found to have anti-allergy properties,” Wiseberg says. “Most often used in dried form, it can also be bought fresh.” It looks similar to ginger root, he adds. “Put on your rubber gloves (it stains!), peel a section and grate, then add about two teaspoons to rice dishes, stir-fries or soups, or anything else you fancy.”
The health benefits of this popular health-conscious food are more than what meets the eye. Flaxseeds contain lignans, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and fiber. Adding them to your diet may help prevent cancer, improve your heart health, aid your digestive system, help improve blood glucose control in diabetics, and even reduce inflammation associated with arthritis.
“Liquorice Root can ease inflammation and redness in the nose and is also believed to have anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties that can help boost the body’s immune response to hay fever, dust and pet allergies," Wiseberg says. “It can also be drunk as herbal tea.”
“Horseradish is a pungent root vegetable which acts as a decongestant, helping to clear nasal passages,” Wiseberg says. “Grated fresh horseradish root or horseradish sauce adds a great kick to roast dinners.”
Heat up your health with the humble chili pepper. Whether you like a little heat or a fiery blast of spice, chilies offer up a number of surprising health benefits. Some of these include immune system support, speeding up your metabolism, and assistance with inflammation. Click here for more unknown health benefits of chili peppers.
Cucumbers have various health benefits. They help prevent dehydration, constipation, and overeating. They are high in nutrients, loaded with water and super low in calories. This makes them the perfect snack if you are trying to lose your belly fat. *Bonus: You can reap the benefits of cucumbers in cocktail fashion. Try PRAIRIE Organic Spirits Cucumber Flavored Vodka.
This tart, tangy, juicy fruit is just what you need for a boost in your overall health. It contains vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber, potassium, magnesium, and the antioxidant Lycopene, just to name a few. Some of the many health benefits include improving digestion, boosting the immune system, aiding in weight loss, and lowering your “bad” LDL cholesterol levels.
Satisfy your sweet tooth and positively impact your health at the same time. Dark chocolate is loaded with nutrients, two of which include cocoa, an amazing source of antioxidants; and soluble fiber, which aids in the health of your digestive system. It also helps enhance your memory, protect your skin, improve your heart health, and reduce stress.
“There is a reason why chocolate was invented and why it's so delicious and addictive – yes the sugar usually helps (but let's forget about that nasty word) and focus on the cacao,” Watts says. “Cacao is a great source of minerals, one being magnesium.” Magnesium rich foods may help benefit your health by “building stronger bones, [improving] blood pressure and more, but it may also help raise the level of serotonin in the brain, so it can improve mood and happiness levels and help with symptoms of PMS,” Watts adds.
For a healthy snack, eat a handful of almonds. They are loaded with nutrients, some of which include fiber, protein, and magnesium. Almonds contain antioxidants that help protect you against oxidative stress. They also help lower cholesterol levels, reduce hunger and aid in weight loss.
Oysters have been proven to help increase energy. They contain a large amount of protein, vitamins, and minerals. Some of these include, zinc, iron and vitamins C and B12. Oysters also provide you with high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids, which have been known to help fight cancer symptoms and have incredible anti-aging effects on the brain’s structure and functionality.
Pineapple has been said to help break up mucus – “the gunk that gathers in the back of your throat when you're sick is known as catarrh,” Gemmell says. “Raw pineapple contains a digestive enzyme that breaks down the proteins of the mucus, so you can breathe easier.”
Tomatoes protect from UV radiation. “If you're prone to sunburn, you might
want to increase your tomato consumption,” Gemmell says. “It can help prevent the damage
caused by UV rays.”
Beetroot has been shown to help improve athletic performance. It contains nitrate, a vasodilator. “This opens up the blood vessels and improves blood flow and oxygenation of cells,” Gemmell explains. “More blood and oxygen means better performance.”
“Pumpkin seeds are one of my favorite all time foods – I toss them on salads and whip them in smoothies and ice-cream,” says Connie Rogers, Certified Integrative Nutritional Holistic Health Coach and Author of Path to a Healthy Mind & Body. “They are full of magnesium, fiber, antioxidants, and lysine.” They are also great for digestion and can actually help remove parasites, she adds.
Pomegranates are well-known for their antioxidant activity. “This means they are good for your brain, blood pressure, and heart health,” Rogers says. “They also help to prevent skin cancer.” If you love pomegranates, as I do, it helps to have them easily accessible; you can do this by planting these trees in your back yard, or simply, visiting your local farmers market, she says.
“Cilantro is not only a superfood, it’s tasty and helps to boost your beauty,” Rogers says. “This means it’s found beneficial for digestion, and helpful as a blood purifier and will assist the body to detox heavy metals.” Cilantro is highly praised for lowering blood sugar levels in diabetics, she adds. “It’s an easy herb to grow indoors all year long.”
The name may have given it away but watermelon consists mostly of water – 92 percent. A study says that the mixture of salts, minerals and natural sugars in this juicy fruit can even hydrate your body better than water itself. Watermelon is also high in calcium, magnesium and potassium. It also has a lot of lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant known to prevent cells from damage. Two cups of watermelon also has so much vitamin C, almost half of the recommended daily value. You can mix watermelon slices with feta cheese for extra flavor.