Some nutritionists believe that food is medicine. I’m not sure if I want to go through life taking nothing but chicken soup every time I get sick, but I pay attention to what I put in my mouth and its effects on my body.
As a result, I’ve eliminated many products from my meals over the years, but what I gave up, I made up for in healthier additions. Here are eight foods I’ve added to my diet to enhance my health and why.
Your thoughts might not turn to this root vegetable until it’s time to make red beet eggs for your next picnic. However, including more of them in your weekly diet could help your heart health. Beets contain hefty dietary nitrate levels, which your body converts to nitric oxide. This molecule dilates your blood vessels, lowering pressure.
You can get more beets in your life by preparing meals like vegetarian goulash that often contain them. However, ensure you brush your teeth after meals, as this root veggie can leave a brownish stain on your teeth if you let it linger on your enamel.
2. Brazil Nuts
If you have seasonal affective disorder, you probably note each emerging sign of spring with renewed hope. However, you can take nutritional measures to ease depressive symptoms even before the robin’s return.
Research published by the National Institutes of Health indicates that magnesium, zinc and selenium all help to ease depression, often as effectively as prescription medications. A single Brazil nut contains your full day’s recommended daily allowance (RDA) of selenium while also delivering a hearty dose of the other two minerals.
Ginger isn’t just the name of one of the spice girls. This root herb contains several constituents with antimicrobial properties to boost your immune health. The world remains gripped by a pandemic — who couldn’t use more germ-busting goodness in their diet?
This root herb also tames upset tummies like few other substances. Your mother was on the right track if she had you sip flat ginger ale when you had indigestion as a child. However, many commercial brands don’t contain much root extract, so please carefully read your labels.
You’re better off brewing yourself a cup of ginger tea or sucking on a candied piece for the digestive effects. Some people chew on the root itself — it’s a little earthy but not unpleasant or dangerous if swallowed.
I would bathe in turmeric if I could — unfortunately, I didn’t like the way my last tea bath using it left yellow stains in my tub. However, this root herb is a divine anti-inflammatory agent for both internal and external use.
Turmeric contains curcumin to fight inflammation — you can increase its bioavailability by 2,000% by adding black pepper for the piperine. The spice appears in many Indian dishes, but you can use the raw root in tea.
5. Red Bell Pepper
Like many folks, you might have increased your citrus fruit consumption to boost your immunity. However, did you know that a single red bell pepper has nearly three times the vitamin C of an orange?
Fortunately, these tasty fruits are a snap to add to nearly any dish, and they impart a tangy flavor. When chopping salad veggies during weekly food prep, I always toss some into the shooter. Add a few strips to your next lunch wrap or whip up some fajitas for dinner.
6. Exotic Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables in various colors contain phytonutrients. While scientists know what some, like lycopene, do to enhance human health, they continue to learn about others.
I try to improve my chances of getting all the nutrients my body needs by eating various veggies in every hue imaginable. Plus, consuming foods that I never tried before introduces new flavors and nutritional profiles into my family’s diet.
Try whipping up a batch of fiddleheads instead of green beans for your next Sunday sit-down. Add an interesting splash of color to your next roasted vegetable medley by interspersing purple Okinawan sweet potatoes with the golden variety.
7. Green and Herbal Tea
According to a recent study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, individuals who drink tea at least three times a week slashed their heart disease and stroke risk by 20%. While your morning joe isn’t unhealthy for you, why not mix it up with a cup of green or chamomile in between?
Any tea variety offers some protective effects — I’m a fan of creating unique herbal blends. If you invest in a teapot with an infuser, you can reduce your carbon footprint while crafting individualized flavors from loose-leaf varieties.
Do you think of parsley as nothing more than a bit of garnish to disregard on your plate? If so, you’re missing out on some pretty significant health benefits.
Your body needs vitamin K for bone health, and a ½ cup serving of this herb offers 547% of your RDA of this nutrient. It also contains flavonoids that may have anticancer effects.
It’s simple to include more parsley in your diet. All you have to do is add a bit of it for garnish to any meal — and eat it — or blend it into a green smoothie.
Should You Add These Foods to Your Diet to Enhance Your Health?
I feel better since adding the eight foods above to my diet to enhance my health. Now that you know the benefits, should you get more of these, too?
Kara Reynolds is the Editor-in-Chief and founder of Momish Magazine. Mom and step mom living her best life while managing anxiety and normalizing blended families. She enjoys pilates, podcasts, and a nice pinot grigio.
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