Health is not a state being, it is a state of mind. With the vast array of organic foods on the market and the trends towards healthy living, we need to start aligning our minds with the philosophies behind the actual concept of health. The essence of true health is the quality of the organic fare we choose to put into our bodies. A few of these are severely underrated and need to be reviewed as potential power foods.
Fear not; eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated, for one given the nutrients that broccoli contains, it assists the body in quite a number of ways. Broccoli contains a compound called sulfophane which helps fight osteoarthritis3 – sulforaphaneand can block cartilage-destroying enzymes by intercepting a molecule that causes inflammation. Broccoli’s nutritional profile is impressive.
It contains high levels of fiber (both soluble and insoluble) and is a rich source of vitamin-C. In fact, just a 100 gram serving of broccoli will provide you with more than 150% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C, which in large doses can potentially shorten the duration of the common cold. Broccoli is also rich in vitamin A, iron, vitamin K, B-complex vitamins, zinc, phosphorus and phyto-nutrients. Phytonutrients are compounds which lower the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers. There is an enzyme in broccoli called myrosinase which can reduce the risk of developing cancer. The enzyme works by changing sulfur-based chemicals found in broccoli (called glucosinolates) into isothiocyanates (other sulfur-containing chemicals), which have anticancer properties.
A study conducted in the United States of America suggests that to get the most out of broccoli, it should be steamed to avoid undermining the beneficial effects of the active enzymes that are destroyed during cooking. The study goes as far as to recommend that broccoli be ingested when it is raw to obtain the maximum benefits of its nutritional value. The findings of the study can be found in the peer reviewed Journal of Nutrition and Cancer.
Most often tomatoes are considered a vegetable, though in actuality they are a citrus fruit. Tomatoes are an incredibly versatile food. They are delicious eaten raw, in salads or on sandwiches, and take on a wonderful sweetness when cooked. Their high acid content makes them a perfect food for canning. One medium whole tomato contains around 22 calories, 0 grams of fat, 5 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fibre, 1 gram of protein and 6 milligrams of sodium. It also provides 40 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, 20 percent of the RDA of vitamin A, 2 percent of the RDA of iron, and 1 percent of the RDA of calcium. Here are some of the health benefits of tomatoes. Numerous studies have concluded that the more tomatoes people eat, the lower their risks of certain cancers, especially lung, stomach and prostate cancers.
A substance called lycopene, which is responsible for tomatoes red colour, is thought to be the reason for this cancer protective effect. Processed tomatoes contain even more lycopene than raw ones. The process of cooking breaks down the cell walls, helping to release the lycopene. Eating tomatoes with a little bit of fat, such as olive oil, helps lycopene to be better absorbed by the body. It was also confirmed by researchers that, drinking a glass of tomato juice a day can reduce blood levels of TNF-alpha by 34 percent. TNF-alpha causes inflammation. High levels have been found in individuals with most chronic, degenerative diseases such as heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s.
On the other hand, Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A, providing 210 percent of the average adult’s needs for the day. They also provide 6 percent of vitamin C needs, 2 percent of calcium needs and 2 percent of iron needs per serving. It is the antioxidant beta-carotene that gives carrots their bright orange colour. Beta-carotene is absorbed in the intestine and converted into vitamin A during digestion. Carrots also contain fibre, vitamin K, potassium, foliate, manganese, phosphorous, magnesium, vitamin E and zinc. Farmer’s markets and some specialty stores carry carrots in a range of colours – like purple, yellow, and red – that contain a variety of antioxidants lending them their colour, such as anthocyanin in purple carrots and lycopene in red carrots. It has been proven by professionals that an increased intake of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables reduce cancer and cardiovascular disease risks, carrots included. The antioxidants and phytochemicals in carrots may also help with blood sugar regulation, delay the effects of aging (which can be beneficial to most women and men out there who have aging issues), and improve immune function.
Not only does this fruit give us the sweet pleasurable taste, it also contains a number of minerals, needed for your body to function well and normally. The potential health benefits of consuming grapes are numerous, with past studies associating them with prevention of cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and constipation. One cup of red or green grapes contains 104 calories, 1.09 grams of protein, 0.24 grams of fat, 1.4 grams of fiber, 4.8 milligrams of vitamin C, 10 micrograms of vitamin A, 288 milligrams of potassium, 0.54 milligrams of iron and 3 micrograms of folate.
Grapes are high in water content and good for hydration. High water-content fruits and vegetables are nutrient dense, meaning they provide a large amount of essential nutrients while containing few calories. Grapes contain 70 millilitres of fluid per cup. Grapes are high in antioxidants important for eye health such as lutein and zeaxanthin, and red grapes contain the phytochemical resveratrol in their skins, the antioxidant synonymous with wine known to lend protection from several chronic diseases and conditions. Grapes also boast the power of the flavonoids myricetin and quercetin which help the body to counter-act harmful free radical formation.
With the correct and positive mind-set, staying healthy shouldn’t be a hassle, by giving your body the necessary and correct number of nutrients it needs to stay alive, one shouldn’t have to worry about their well-being being at risk. Quite frankly, the underrated food products are the ones that we need the most to stay healthy and strong.