foods with benefits
Everyday foods that can protect against disease.
When it comes to disease, prevention is our best defence. Poor nutrition plays a big role in the development of many modern-day diseases, so tweaking your diet is a smart move. Lots of foods have protective qualities, and they’re not hard to find or expensive. Here, we look at eight everyday superstars you can find in the fresh produce section of the supermarket.
lemons Blood vessels: Lemon peel is packed with rutin, which helps improve blood circulation by strengthening the walls of your arteries and capillaries. Add grated rind or zest to baking, sauces, salad dressings and curries. Energy fix: Iron is essential for energy, and you can significantly increase your absorption of this essential mineral by squeezing lemon juice (rich in vitamin C) over your salads and vegie dishes. parsley Blood health: Parsley is an impressive source of vitamin K, which helps promote healthy blood clotting. Vegan diet: Parsley does double-duty for vegans – not only is it a good source of iron, but its generous vitamin C content helps you absorb more of the iron it contains. Try adding a small handful to a smoothie. pumpkin
October is the pumpkin’s chance to shine as a Halloween decoration, but it also has plenty of health benefits. Eye health: Pumpkin is one of the richest sources of beta-carotene, which helps protect against age-related macular degeneration, responsible for 50 per cent of blindness cases in Australia. Asthma: Research shows beta-carotene also has the potential to prevent asthma.
Heart disease: Eating peas often (fresh or frozen garden peas, as well as sugar snap and snow peas) can significantly help reduce ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, thanks to their high fibre content. Add to stir-fries, curries, salads and pasta dishes. Blood sugar: The anti-inflammatory phytonutrients (pisumsaponins I and II and pisomosides A and B) found almost exclusively in peas help regulate blood sugar, helpful in the fight against type-2 diabetes.
Blood sugar: Cooled, cooked potato is high in resistant starch, which has been shown to reduce blood sugar spikes after meals, helping those who are at risk for diabetes or who have pre-diabetes. Use in potato salad. Blood pressure: Potassium helps to lower blood pressure by balancing the negative effects of salt. As little as one medium potato provides about 20 per cent of your recommended daily intake of potassium.
Cancer fighter: This pungent vegie contains one of the highest concentrations of the antioxidant quercetin, which research shows has the potential to prevent and reverse the development of cancer cells. Plus, you’ll get double the benefits thanks to the high levels of anthocyanin in onions. This powerful antioxidant further boosts the properties of quercetin.
Digestion: Half a cup of radish contains about 1g of dietary fibre to promote healthy digestion and keep you full for longer. Inflammation: Thanks to the red colour of their skin, radishes are also a good source of anthocyanins, which possess anti-inflammatory properties.
Skin-saver: Grapefruit is packed with vitamin C, which plays a vital role in the formation of collagen, the main support system of the skin. Hydration: This juicy fruit is a good source of electrolytes, so it’s a great snack to have on hand in hot weather or when you’re physically active, to help keep you hydrated.