Since the dawn of civilization, human beings have known that natural foodstuffs like fruits, herbs, and vegetables (as well as other ingestible materials found in abundance throughout the world) possess certain health-promoting properties.
Ancient Greek philosophers, from the Socratics to Epictetus, as well as their modern-day counterparts, have all surmised their musings on these health compounds – in one way or another – within the texts of their sprawling treatises. Hippocrates’s famous quotation ‘Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’ captures this age-old scholarly tendency – and orientation – quite comprehensively.
The microscopic discoveries of the 19th and 20th centuries further validated these beliefs empirically, and we now have entire academic & applied-scientific disciplines like the Nutritional Sciences, Dietetics, and Holistic Medicine that deal primarily with the health benefits accrued from these naturally occurring food substances.
A great bulk of contemporary research conducted within the overarching domain of the food sciences is concerned with the health properties of antioxidants. The free-radical neutralizing potential of various vitamins & mineral compounds falls into this substance category, and their medical applications range from treating inflammatory conditions like arthritis to providing adjunct therapies for cancer (along with helping to relieve other bodily pathologies).
In this post (indirectly inspired by the hit 2017 Netflix documentary What the Health – which I chanced to see on my Optimum TV package a few weeks ago), I’ll be listing the Top 3 natural foods that can help people live longer, healthier, and more fulfilling lives. I know that some (or all) of these have already been covered in other – much lengthier and detailed – blog posts, but I’ve always reckoned that there can be no ‘overstating’ when it comes to dispensing with oft-repeated and beneficial health advice.
Human beings, after all, are notorious for mindfully processing only about a quarter (and at most times, even less) of the information that they happen to receive from their surroundings.
So based on this observation, it makes sense to keep on targeting them with these timely health tidbits – in the hope that some will manage to get through, and yield a little remedial action!
First off, I’d like to pay tribute to the miracle yellow fruit that is responsible for bringing the tart, acidic bite to virtually every dish or beverage that it is squeezed into. I am talking, of course, about the unassuming lemon; one of nature’s most nutritive and therapeutic food ingredients.
In addition to their aesthetic appeal, lemons are famous for their high Vitamin C content – a major water-soluble antioxidant that guards the body’s lymph and blood systems against the existential scourge of inflammatory attacks.
Vitamin C not only helps to ward off scurvy (bleeding gum) outbreaks, but can also promote increases in ‘good’ HDL cholesterol levels, and can stop the degradation of skin collagen.
Lemons contain potent flavonoids that help to bring about their unique flavor and have also been shown to exhibit powerful cancer-fighting properties in host cells.
Pro Tip: For a daily health-fueling concoction, squeeze half a lemon in a lukewarm glass of mineral water. Drink twice in a 24-hour period to strengthen the immune system, and achieve glowing skin.
Everyone likes French fries, right? Do you know what would help notch-up their health profile a few spaces even higher? Ever heard of baked fries smeared in good quality olive oil, and with their skins unpeeled?
Potatoes come naturally high in Potassium, which is an essential mineral required for the smooth transmission of electrical nerve impulses throughout the body, and the timely contraction& relaxation of muscle fibers. The skins of the vegetable contain high quantities of insoluble fiber, which is crucial for healthy peristalsis in the large intestines. An immediate deficiency of the said nutrient can lead to instances of muscle fatigue and cramping.
Potatoes also contain a healthy dosage of the mineral folate, which is necessary for the structural viability of the cell membranes of animal cells.
Pro Tip: Take two red potatoes, and smear them all around with good quality olive oil. Bake in an oven until tender, and consume 2 to 3 times a week.
Walnuts come packed with Omega 3 fatty acids, which are the healthiest varieties of fats that you can find. Their DHA to EPA (the two main health compounds that constitute this substance category) ratio is highly impressive – to say the least. DHA is essential for reinforcing and building cardiac, brain, and eye tissues, while EPA is increasingly proving useful (in clinical trials) for its efficacy in tackling cellular inflammation.
In addition to their powerful fatty-acid profile, walnuts also contain sizeable quantities of melatonin. The human body uses melatonin to regulate its wake &sleep cycles, and many people take the said substance in the form of pills and draughts to relieve the symptoms of their insomnia and jetlag.
Pro Tip: Take a handful of walnuts, almonds, and dried apricot, and blend them together in a dry Blitzer to make a powder. Sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of this mixture onto your breakfast cereal every morning.
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