Greens, fruits, and berries
Greens, fruits, and berries are easy to add to an existing diet:
Broccoli is rich in fiber, calcium, potassium, folate, and phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are compounds that reduce the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. Broccoli also contains vitamin C, as well as beta-carotene, an antioxidant.
A single 100-gram serving of broccoli can provide you with over 150 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, which in large doses can potentially shorten the duration of the common cold.
Another ingredient, sulforphane, is also said to have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory qualities.
However, overcooking broccoli can destroy many of its nutrients. Eating it raw, or lightly steamed is best.
Apples are an excellent source of antioxidants, which combat free radicals. Free radicals are damaging substances generated in the body that cause undesirable changes. They are involved in the aging process and some diseases. Some animal studies have found that an antioxidant found in apples (polyphenols) might extend lifespans.
Researchers at Florida State University said that apples are a « miracle fruit. » In their study, the investigators found that older women who started a regime of eating apples daily experienced a 23 percent drop in levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and a 4 percent increase in good cholesterol (HDL) after just 6 months.
Kale is a very underrated leafy green. There are a lot of different nutrients contained within the leaves of kale.
Vitamin C is a nutrient of kale, and, according to the United States Department of Medicine (USDA), it contains a substantial amount of vitamin K, 817 micrograms or 778 percent of the recommended daily intake.
Kale can be cooked or steamed like cabbage, spinach, or asparagus. It can also be consumed in smoothies or juiced for a revitalizing nutrient kick.
Blueberries are rich in fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. Unlike minerals and vitamins, phytonutrients are not essential for keeping us alive. However, they may help prevent disease and keep the body working properly.
According to a study carried out at Harvard Medical School, older adults who eat plenty of blueberries (and strawberries) are less likely to suffer from cognitive decline, compared with other people of their age who do not.
Scientists at Texas Woman’s University found that blueberries help in curbing obesity. Plant polyphenols, which are abundant in blueberries, have been shown to reduce the development of fat cells (adipogenesis), while inducing the breakdown of lipids and fat (lipolysis).
Regular blueberry consumption can reduce the risk of hypertension (high blood pressure) by 10 percent, because of the berry’s bioactive compounds, anthocyanins. Scientists from East Anglia University and Harvard University reported in the American Journal of Nutrition.
Many people avoid avocados because of their high fat content; they believe that avoiding all fats leads to better health and easier-to-control body weight – this is a myth. Avocados are rich in healthy fats, as well as B vitamins, vitamin K, and vitamin E and have a very high fiber content. Studies have shown that regular avocado consumption lowers blood cholesterol levels.
Avocado extracts are currently being studied in the laboratory to see whether they might be useful for treating diabetes or hypertension. Researchers from Ohio State University found that nutrients taken from avocados were able to stop oral cancer cells, and even destroy some of the pre-cancerous cells.
Leafy green vegetables
Studies have shown that a high intake of dark-leafy vegetables, such as spinach or cabbage, may significantly lower a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Researchers at the University of Leicester said that the impact of dark green vegetables on human health should be investigated further after they gathered data from six studies. They reported their findings in the BMJ.
Spinach, for example, is very rich in antioxidants, especially when uncooked, steamed, or very lightly boiled. It is a good source of vitamins A, B-6, C, E, and K, as well as selenium, niacin, zinc, phosphorus, copper, folic acid, potassium, calcium, manganese, betaine, and iron.
Sweet potatoes are rich in dietary fiber, beta-carotene (vitamin A), potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B-6.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest compared the nutritional value of sweet potatoes to other vegetables. The sweet potato ranked number one, when vitamins A and C, iron, calcium, protein, and complex carbohydrates were considered.