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Health > Food And Diet > Special Foods For Better Health

Special Foods For Better Health

Nutritionists believe that food is a natural pharmacy and that the answer to a lot of our health problems lies in what we eat. Scientists have identified properties in individual foods which appear able to keep specific diseases at bay and which are essential for maintaining a healthy diet. Scientists are still in the early stages of understanding how the various nutrients in food interact with our bodies to contribute to good health.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is an excellent source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats that may lower the bad cholesterol and raise the good cholesterol. It contains Vitamin E and antioxidants and excellent replacement for unhealthy saturated fats like butter. Although olive oil has great health benefits, it also has a lot of calories. It’s 100 percent fat, and like all liquid oils, contains about 120 calories per tablespoon.

Essential fatty acids are key constituents of cells and the nervous system. Researchers say that 2 spoonfuls should be consumed with each meal to supply the daily fatty acid requirements during pregnancy. Women with the highest risk of breast cancer had the lowest intake of monounsaturated fats, of which olive oil is the most important. Vitamin E in Olive Oil is thought to be responsible for this anti-ageing effect on both skin and bone


Orange and yellow-hued veggies like winter squash, carrots and sweet potatoes and leafy greens contain carotenoids, a pigment our body converts to vitamin A. Eating lots of these vegetables will help maintain healthy skin and hair, protect against prostate cancer, promote healthy vision and even provide protection from sunburn. Although garlic and onions may lack the vibrant colors of other vegetables, they contain diallyl sulfide and saponins, compounds that add distinctive flavors to our recipes and fight cancer and heart disease.

Green vegetables like broccoli and spinach are sky-high in potent anti-cancer compounds like sulforaphane and quercitin. Broccoli, a member of the cruciferous family which also includes cabbage and brussels sprouts, is a rich source of vitamin C and betacarotene. Broccoli is another source which is believed to prevent cancer cells.

The tomato is an excellent food for fighting cancer. The valuable ingredients are betacarotene (converted into Vitamin A in the body), vitamin C and E, potassium and a compound called lycopene. These nutrients are believed to fight the harmful effects of free radicals, rogue molecules that cause cell damage, a precurser to heart disease and cancer.


Oats helps to lower blood cholesterol. Oats is a useful source of magnesium and zinc. It also has anti-cancer effects. It helps to stabilise blood sugar levels and is suitable for gluten-free diets. It also eases constipation. Make the carbohydrates in grains your first choice of energy. Just also make a point of including the whole-grain ones - they'll help to control your weight and will aid your digestive processes. If taken to lower cholesterol levels, 75g should be eaten daily. Two tablespoons of oats a day is seen as an average portion.


Most fruits are also loaded with fibre, important vitamins and minerals, and cancer-preventing substances called phytochemicals. Apples, known as a cleansing food, contain fibre, antioxidants and fruit flavonoids. The most important of the flavonoids contained in apples is quercetin, which has anti-inflammatory as well as anti-cancer actions. Apples contain vitamin C as well – more so in green apples than in red ones. Apples can reduce blood cholesterol levels, counter constipation and diarrhoea, help joint problems and help prevent diseases in general.


Both red and black grapes contain powerful antioxidants and resveratrol, which helps to prevent both the narrowing and hardening of the arteries. Ellagic acid, which has anti-cancer properties, is also contained in grapes. They do, however, have a very high sugar content.

Soybeans are the most nutritious beans of all, containing all the essential amino acids. Fermented soybean products provide many nutrients and flavourings. The best known and most widely used fermented soybean products are miso, shoyu and tamari. These are used as flavourings for soups, stews and casseroles.


Tea is the second most popular drink in the world . Black, green, herbal - no matter what your cup of tea, this ancient brew could be the remedy to many of your health problems, including hypertension, heart disease and cancer. Today tea comes second only to water as the most commonly drunk beverage on earth. Recent studies have shown drinking green tea might boost metabolism, oolong teas can lower blood sugar, and black teas can promote oral health.


Protein is an important part of every diet and is found in many different foods. Lean protein, the best kind, can be found in fish, skinless chicken and turkey, pork tenderloin and certain cuts of beef, like the top round. Protein is crucial for tissue repair, building and preserving muscle, and making important enzymes and hormones. These are not only essential for building bones, and forming and maintaining nerve function, but also for fighting cancer, forming blood cells and keeping immune systems robust.

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