Saturday, October 6, 2012
Get a Boost from Power Foods
Whether you’re fighting fatigue, searching for ways to boost your immune system, or recovering from an illness, doctors often recommend healthy lifestyle changes. Prevention and management of symptoms can often significantly be helped through the foods we eat.
Low thyroid levels can cause sluggishness, weight gain, and moodiness. Iodine is essential to the thyroid, the butterfly-shaped gland in the neck.
Other power greens include kale, bok choy, spinach, parsley, green beans, and alfalfa.
Many of us recognize ginger as a cooking spice, but its centuries’ old uses range from aiding digestion and calming upset stomach to treating arthritis. Ginger is now recognized by many healthcare professionals for reducing nausea,particularly in the prevention and reduction of postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV).
Sources of ginger include ginger root (prepared as tea), foods and drink, and in an herbal form in extracts, capsules, and oils.
Mushrooms are hailed for their health-promoting properties, and common types include white button, shiitake, portobella, and crimini. Shiitake mushrooms promote a healthy heart by accelerating LDL (“good” cholesterol). Studies continue to examine how shiitake mushrooms may fight cancer by boosting the immune system through the compound lentinan, believed to slow tumor growth. According to the American Cancer Society, “at least one randomized clinical trial of lentinan has shown it to prolong life of patients with advanced and recurrent stomach and colorectal cancer.”
Fats: Good vs. Bad
Not all fats are created equal. Calorie-counting often leads to the drastic reduction of fat from the diet. But fat is essential for our brain to function properly. Plus, cutting fat entirely may lead to depression and contribute to acne.
Healthy fats — monounsaturated and polyunsaturated — reduce your risk of heart disease. Healthy sources of fat include fatty fish, avocado, olive oil, and certain nuts, such as walnuts, almonds, and pecans.
Carbohydrates give us energy. In today’s fast-paced world, many of us often turn to processed carbs that don’t provide other nutrients. Beets are anatural energy supply packed with carbs, calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C.
Although they tend not to rate high in popularity, beets are equipped to satisfy a mid-afternoon sugar craving without the guilt. Plus, studies reveal that beets help fight cancer and protect against heart disease.
Probiotics are live microorganisms (“friendly bacteria”) that our bodies need to protect against disease. They can be found in foods like yogurt, kefir, and soy beverages.
Probiotics can also be obtained in supplement form. Ongoing studies continue to explore the potential of probiotics to treat diseases including irritable bowel syndrome, skin infections, andcertain cancers. Research looks promising. A report from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine revealed evidence of probiotics to treat diarrhea and prevent infections of the urinary tract.
Calcium—Heal Broken Bones
Turning to calcium-rich foods instead of calcium pills is a recommended step toward healing broken bones. The next step is incorporating vitamin D, which helps your body absorb the calcium.
Calcium sources include dairy products (such as yogurt and milk), green vegetables (such as kale), nuts, and beans. Vitamin D sources include eggs, dairy, and fatty fish (such as sardines and salmon).
Swiss Chard—Multiple Benefits
A relative of the beet, Swiss chard provides an excellent source of vitamins C, E, and K, as well as fiber, zinc, and calcium. With a wide green leaf, and a stalk ranging in color from white to red to yellow, Swiss chard combines a bitter taste with a salty flavor.
This nutrition-packed vegetable supports bone health, fights stress-related disease, and holds anti-inflammatory properties. Saute it, toss it in a salad, or replace it for spinach in any dish.
Healing and healthy living require balance. Avoid or limit empty calories and foods that rob you of energy, ultimately slowing you down and harming your health. Opting for nutritious foods to fuel your day will help prevent illness and improve recovery should an injury occur.
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