Fruits and vegetables should be included into our everyday diet so that we can stay healthy and prevent numerous diseases like heart disease or cancer. Incorporating them into our nutrition will also help us maintain a healthy weight.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans published in 2016 claim that half of your meals should be composed of fruits and vegetables. Each fruit and vegetable can be aimed for a different health benefit, so here are some of the fruits and vegetables, as well as their benefits.
They are excellent for boosting your immune system because they possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. According to some studies, apricots are effective in managing inflammatory bowel disorders like ulcers and kidney problems. Apricots possess the ability to exert a protective effect on kidney cells from methotrexate-induced damage. Methotrexate is a chemotherapeutic drug which is known to damage the healthy cells of the kidneys.
Avocados possess cardio-protective properties. Studies claim that avocado extract can fight against hypertenstion by slowing the heart rate (bradycardia) and relaxing the blood vessels (vasodilation). When it’s compared to the fat from processed food, the fat contained in avocados is nutritional because it is easily stored and broken down by the body. Other studies claim that avocado is very beneficial when it comes to diabetes. It can improve glucose uptake by the liver and muscles, in that way decreasing the risk for metabolic problems that damage the nerves and blood vessels.
Bananas contain dietary potassium. It is an electrolyte responsible for transmitting signals through the nervous system and the most important area are the heart muscles. People who lack dietary potassium in their body often manifest cardiac problems and generalized weakness. Consuming bananas can be very beneficial for your overall health and wellness because they contain high levels of antioxidants and vitamins. Antioxidants clear the bloodstream of free radicals that damage the healthy cells and tissues, but they also give the immune system a boost.
Cantaloupes belong to the melon family. They’re delicious, but also very beneficial for numerous health issues. A recent study published in 2012 claims that extracts from cantaloupe were able to significantly reduce hyperlipidemia in test subjects fed with a high cholesterol diet, even more so than Atorvastatin, an anti-hyperlipidemic drug prescribed to diabetic patients. This fruit also has the ability to improve eyesight because of its high beta-carotene content.
Cucumbers have been considered to be beneficial for the improvement in cognitive function, analgesia as well as the reduction of cancer risk because it contains an antioxidant substance called fisetin. According to a 2014 study, fisetin can improve cognitive function in test subjects with Alzheimer’s. According to a previous study published in 2012, cucumber extracts possessed analgesic and antioxidant properties. A study in 2013proved the chemotherapeutic activity of cucumbers.
When it comes to treating liver damage, dates are very beneficial. They promote the health of the heart and immune system in general. A study from 2014 discovered that dates have the ability to protect the liver from chemical-induced damage, typically by drugs and medications that the liver filters from the blood. Another study recently published in 2015 claimed that dates have potent antioxidant properties, as well as an ability to prevent plaque deposition in blood vessels (the latter being responsible for atherosclerotic heart disease).
Kale is a nutrient-rich leafy green, a favorite for salad-lovers. It’s an excellent food for those who suffer micronutrient and calorie malnutrition because it is rich in highly bioavailable carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, dietary fiber, and probiotics. Kale chips can even be a better alternative to potato chips.
Lemon belongs to the citrus family. It is a rich source of vitamin C, a substance that boosts immunity and protects the body from disease. A study from 2014 showed that lemon possessed anticoagulant abilities similar to Aspirin (a cardiac medication used to prevent clot formation and promote blood flow), and could prevent the formation of thrombi that block blood vessels and prevent the blood circulation.
Besides being rich in vitamin C, they are also rich in other nutrients such as calcium, magnesium and iron. Traditional medicine has used pineapples for centuries. A study published in 2013 claimed that pineapple leaf extract can promote tissue repair and healing and fight against microbial infections. Strong anti-inflammatory properties which contribute to faster tissue repair are exhibited by the extract.
This fruit is a popular choice for a cool-down snack, whether as it is or as a shake or drink. Watermelon has excellent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. According to some studies, watermelon has the ability to regulate oxidative tissue damage, lower lipid levels and reduce the risk of cancer, heart and metabolic diseases.
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is a very true statement. Apples are rich in phytochemicals (naturally occurring substances) which are associated with a decreased risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma, cancer and heart diseases. Apples fight the spread of cancer cells and increases in serum cholesterol because they possess antioxidant properties.
12: Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera has been used in the traditional folk medicine to manage diabetes symptoms. It is used topically to relieve swelling and itchiness, but aloe vera can also manage serum levels-high levels of which characterize diabetes. Another study claims that this vegetable promotes natural health, and it can also protect the nerves in the brain because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
Artichoke can protect the liver from damage. It is also known by its scientific name Cynara scolymus and is a hepatocurative which means that is able to cure the effects of liver damage caused by toxic chemicals like carbon tetrachloride. It reduces the oxidative stress on liver tissue. You can also include artichoke in your diet for a boost in antioxidants.
Most benefits can be ripen when they’re eaten fresh although they are most commonly used on pies and cakes. These fruits have high amounts of phenolic compounds, tannins, and anthocyanins, which exhibit strong antioxidant properties. Blackberries also have antibacterial abilities against H. pylori, as well as abilities to fight heart disease because of anti-inflammatory and anti-thrombotic properties.
Oranges are abundant in vitamin C, a well-known and strong immune booster. They have the ability to protect us from chronic inflammatory diseases, but also possess antibacterial and antiviral properties. Oranges are also rich in lycopene and flavonoids, which have been scientifically suggested to fight a variety of cancers.
Green beans are known for their antioxidant capabilities because of high phenolic content. 2015 study on green bean drinks found that the vegetable can relieve fatique. The study focused on the swimming time of athletes, which was prolonged after drinking green juice made from beans.
The red staining power of beets is often a deterrent in choosing the vegetable despite its nutritional value. Beets can prevent and protect the kidneys from damage. Treatment with beet extracts has shown that it is able to reduce oxidative stress, inflammation, and cell death, while it’s reducing kidney damage and injury.
Mangoes are tropical fruits that are famous for their sweet and fresh taste. They provide the best health benefits when they’re eaten raw, but they are most commonly used in drinks like shakes and desserts like pies and tarts. They are abundant in vitamin C and have antioxidant properties. They are also anti-obesigenic, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-diabetic.
Broccoli can strengthen the immune system and fight cancer because of its content of phytochemicals. Broccoli is beneficial against many health problems like influenza, bladder cancer, by preventing the spread of cancer cells, and reducing flu symptoms through anti-inflammatory powers and it is already proved scientifically.
Cabbage is mostly used in salads and different vegetable dishes. Its rather plain taste makes it perfect to be mixed with other vegetables and varieties of meat. It can actually fight cancer! A study published in 2015 discovered that cabbage can inhibit tumor growth while it’s fighting the genomes that are responsible for cancer.