This is the first installment in our new, Wednesday post-swap with that great, green site, NaturalPath.
Can a chocolate bar help you live longer? According to the British Medical Journal, if the chocolate is dark, and, better still, packed with healthy almonds, it can contribute to a robust diet rich in antioxidants that can lower your risk of heart disease by over 70 percent, and may just add about six years to your life.
But chocolate and almonds are just the beginning. Writer John Robbins, son of the Baskin-Robbins founder and author of numerous books on mindful eating, including The Food Revolution, Healthy at 100, and Diet for a New America, believes that making healthy food choices can lead to a longer, more active life. We consulted our NaturalPath.com nutrition experts and picked our top ten favorite dietary superstars.
While there’s no replacement for the healthy, varied, and balanced eating of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and other nutrients, these natural energy foods have been proven to help your body function at its peak. And best of all, it’s some of the most delicious medicine you’ll ever put in your mouth.
Loaded with vitamin E, fiber, and monounsaturated fat, your heart will go nuts from these nutrients! Two ounces, or about 48 almonds, gives you more than 50 percent of your daily requirement of magnesium, a mineral that’s critical for heart health. One study found that those who ate about 2 1/2 ounces of almonds a day for one month significantly reduced their total cholesterol and lowered several other risk factors for heart disease.
It’s true. One a day can keep the doctor away. These fruity orbs of antioxidants and fiber have been shown to help prevent lung cancer. One apple contains only 81 calories with almost no fat and three grams of fiber, including pectin to help lower cholesterol levels and moderate blood sugar. Apples also contain hefty amounts of boron, a mineral believed to boost alertness and help curb calcium loss, thus preventing osteoporosis.
Spread it on your sandwich instead of mayo. Avocados contain oleic acid, an unsaturated fat that helps lower overall cholesterol and raise levels of HDL (the “good” cholesterol). The fruit has a third of your daily requirement of folate, a nutrient that helps neutralize excess levels of heart attack-causing homocysteine. Fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin B6 round out this King of the Greens.
4. Berries (blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries)
The antioxidants are just falling off the vine here, and each sweet morsel contains off-the-charts amounts of potassium, vitamin C, and fiber. No other food packs such a wallop of phytochemicals, substances that plants create to protect against bacteria, viruses and other environmental threats.
5. Dark Chocolate
Mmmmm….chocolate. Your mouth will water and your heart will melt from the antioxidant flavonoids, which fight heart disease and cancer. A small serving daily can improve your cholesterol ratio and prevent cancer – particularly colon cancer.
The Italian rose has a lot more than just pungent flavor. This bulb bursts with phytochemicals that fight cancer, inflammation, and infection. Numerous clinical trials have shown garlic to be good for your heart by lowering cholesterol and lowering blood pressure. A natural infection-fighter, crushed fresh garlic kills dangerous bacteria, fungal organisms, and even the amoebas that cause dysentery.
7. Leafy Greens (like spinach, kale, bok choy, Swiss chard, arugula, romaine lettuce)
These jolly green giants of nutrition offer a lot: cancer-fighting phytochemicals, fiber, vitamin C, folic acid (the B vitamin that helps lower risk for heart disease, memory loss and birth defects), vitamin K (which helps build strong bones), and the minerals calcium, iron and potassium. Need we go on? Greens like spinach are good sources of the phytochemical lutein, which lowers the risk for age-related vision loss to boot. Eat your greens!
8. Olive Oil
Healthy monounsaturated fat abounds, as do antioxidant polyphenols. Those who eat the Mediterranean diet, rich in vegetables and olive oil and low in saturated fat, have fewer heart attacks. Olive oil also significantly reduces high blood pressure, protects against cancer, and may slow the development of breast tumors.
9. Wild Salmon
High in the omega-3 oils, wild salmon and its offshore relatives fight inflammation, regulate depression and other mood disorders, and reduce arthritis pain. Other studies show that frequent consumption may even protect against Alzheimer’s. Note that Sockeye salmon has the most vitamin B12 of all the salmon species, important for healthy nerves and blood cells.
10. Nonfat or Lowfat Plain Yogurt
Spoonful after spoonful, there’s no better source of B vitamins, high-quality protein, and calcium than nonfat or lowfat yogurt. And even if you have trouble eating most dairy products, this silken white beauty is highly digestible. Probiotic bacteria helps prevent constipation and diarrhea, and can help relieve food allergies. Look for yogurt with “live culture” and listing L. acidophilus and B. bifidus on the label.
Contribution by: NaturalPath, a site that bridges the gap between integrative health and sustainable living through community interaction. To view the original post, and refer to Sources and Third Party Links, simply click here.