In the quest for greater health and the prevention of disease, people are looking more and more to the quality of the foods they eat. Fast food, fried food, sweets, and foods made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are being replaced by healthier options. Research studies are showing that food is more than mere nutrition to fill the stomach – it can ward off specific illnesses and lengthen one’s life.
The first of the three healthiest foods is almonds. A recent study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found that eating 1.5 ounces of lightly salted, dry-roasted almonds each day (about 35 almonds) reduces overall hunger, does not affect body weight, and helps people to meet their ideal daily intake of Vitamin E.
Another study that was published on consuming nuts appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine. It showed that people who eat nuts live longer than those who don’t. The study included 76,464 women and 42,498 men and found that the more times per week nuts were eaten, the greater the reduction in risk of death. Those who ate more nuts had 29% less deaths from heart disease.
Wild-caught salmon is one of the healthiest foods on earth. Oily fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel were shown in a Swedish study to prevent the development of arthritis. The women in the study who ate just one serving of oily fish per week cut their risk of getting arthritis by 52%. Fish and fish oils have also been shown to be a good arthritis remedy for those who have it.
One study from the Oxford University found that children who took fish oil supplements experienced better sleep at night, with fewer awakenings and nearly an hour more of sleep each night.
Regarding the use of fish oil for the health of the heart and arteries, a study was done at the Columbia University Medical Center in New York. Researchers there found that a diet rich in fish oils can prevent the accumulation of fat in the aorta, the main artery leaving the heart. The beneficial actions of fish oil that block cholesterol buildup in the arteries were found even at very high fat intakes.
Broccoli contains a potent rainbow of vitamins, minerals and plant nutrients. It is a cruciferous vegetable, meaning that it’s in the cabbage family. One key ingredient of broccoli known as “sulforaphane” has been shown to have anti-cancer benefits. The International Journal of Cancer presented a study of men diagnosed with prostate cancer. Those that consumed cruciferous vegetables had a statistically significant 59% decreased risk of prostate cancer progression.
Broccoli also contains a nutrient called indoles that can balance hormones by blocking excess estrogen in the body. This is important for women at the time of menopause when the level of progesterone drops to almost zero, while there is still estrogen present. An imbalance of hormones can contribute to menopause symptoms such as insomnia, hot flashes, irritability, night sweats, leg cramps, and mental depression. Eating some raw broccoli a few times a week can help reduce the symptoms.
Broccoli should be eaten raw or lightly steamed in order to retain its higher levels of sulforaphane and provide the most health benefits. A study from the Netherlands showed that consumption of raw broccoli results in faster absorption and higher peak blood levels of sulforaphane compared to cooked broccoli.
Make good use of healthy foods for good health and a long life.