dOf5 course, we have all heard the term “superfood.” Nutritionists all over the world have been using medicinal foods for some time to describe how certain foods have exceptional nutritional value – usually those delivering unusually significant health benefits. But behind all the hype, what exactly is it that makes these foods so super?
We are not simply talking about healthy eating here. Rather, we are looking at medicinal foods that are full of vital vitamins and nutrients. These help to lower cholesterol, to improving brain function and decrease the risk of cancer. With that in mind, let’s take a look at five medicinal foods (in no particular order) that if you’re not already eating, you should be.
1 | Celery
For me, this is the unsung hero of the so-called “superfoods.” Not only is it very easy to get into your diet (cut some sticks in the morning and carry them with you throughout the day as a healthy snack), but it’s also proven to have a wide range of incredible health benefits, particularly when it comes to looking after the heart.
It’s also the number one medicinal food for lowering blood pressure, celery’s high silicon content helps to renew joints, bones, and connective tissue. The most amazing health benefit of celery is that it cleans the arteries, increasing the blood flow and preventing clogging.
2 | Berries
Far from just being incredibly delicious, berries are packed with nutrients and once again make an easy addition to your daily diet. Start off your morning with a small bowl of fresh blueberries or throw some store-bought frozen ones into your blender with a bit of water and make yourself an ice-cold smoothie.
I really can’t rave enough about berries. The anthocyanin in blueberries has long been associated with improved memory function, helping to prevent neurodegeneration and dementia. And those amazing-tasting raspberries increase enzyme activity and oxygen consumption in fat cells. It also helps to decrease the risk of obesity and fatty buildup in the liver.
It is their high antioxidant content where berries really shine, however, helping to significantly lower blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as preventing certain cancers.
3 | Fish
Fish has long been cited as ”brain food,” and I have to agree. Not only is fish an incredible source of protein, but it is also packed with B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids, the importance of which cannot be overstated. Salmon and tuna, in particular, are a great way to get fish into your diet – either cooked fresh with your favorite vegetables or straight from the can with a salad.
Salmon is incredibly rich in high-quality proteins and nutrients such as potassium, selenium, and vitamins B1, B3, B6, and B12. All of which can lower the risk of dementia and cardiovascular disease.
It is omega-3 that I really can’t get enough of, though, with its ability to lower triglyceride levels (once again reducing the risk of heart disease), and helping to relieve joint pain and prevent arthritis.
4 | Flaxseed
Not only are seeds incredibly high in both protein and fiber – essential for a healthy lifestyle. These are also super tasty and easy to fill upon. Flax seeds, in particular, can sprinkle over a healthy breakfast or ground into soups and stews for an easy fix.
What kind of health benefits are we talking about here? Well, there are plenty. As with most medicinal foods on our list, flax seeds can help to reduce blood pressure. But that’s not all, the lecithin content in flax seeds dissolves unhealthy fats from your digestive tract. Thus allowing them to easily eliminate from your body rather than stored.
Flax seeds are also a rich source of lignans – a type of phytoestrogen with incredible antioxidant, antibacterial and antiviral functions. It helps to reduce the risk of melanoma tumors, as well as improve memory function and overall brain health.
5 | Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is not only the single-healthiest cooking oil you can use, it can also make a tasty addition to your favorite hot drink or juice. You can even just take a spoonful each morning to set you up for the day.
It is currently being lauded by nutritionists worldwide, and it’s easy to see why. Its medium-chain triglycerides are the perfect fats for aiding weight loss, helping to boost metabolism and increasing satiety in comparison to other fats. It’s also great for the hair and skin and helps to boost the immune system and aid kidney function.
But its health benefits do not end there: The lauric acid in coconut oil has proven antimicrobial properties and helps to kill off pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
These are five extremely nutritious and medicinal foods with proven medicinal benefits that you absolutely cannot do without. But remember, the best foods in the world won’t help you if you’re still adding bad foods to the mix. Unfortunately, good eating doesn’t counter bad eating. It just doesn’t work like that.
So those grains, sugars, and processed foods that are staples in our diet here in the UAE have to go. Start with eliminating the bad stuff, then start increasing your knowledge of what foods will do your body good. If the discipline is there, you will notice the benefits almost immediately.