- Food and Cooking
Top 7 Fruits and Vegetables with TONS of Health Benefits
You truly are what you eat.
For the first 20 years of my life my diet mostly consisted of meat and potatoes, followed closely by sweets and syrupy drinks. It took me a while to realize the value of fresh fruits and vegetables, particularly their importance to emotional and mental well-being.
This is a list of 7 common fruits and vegetables with amazing health benefits, and tips on how to take full advantage of their unique healing properties.
Avocado has so many health benefits, it's easier to list what it doesn't cure. Nonetheless, I will try to do it justice.
- Avocados provide 18 essential amino acids, carotenoids and beneficial fats that your body needs.
- Avocados contain calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc; vitamins C, B6, B-12, A, D, K, E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and potassium.
- Avocados have lots of protein (4% per 100g), so if you're a vegetarian or a vegan, avocado is your best friend.
- The most nutrient-rich part of an avocado is right under its skin, so make sure to get that goodness before you throw the skins away.
- Avocado has thick skin that protects it from pesticides, so you don’t need to buy organic avocados. It is also one of the tastiest and easiest foods to eat since you don't need to cook it.
- Mashed avocado with a teaspoon of lemon juice makes a great moisturizing mask. Leave on for 25 minutes and then rinse with warm water.
- Health benefits: good digestion, healthy skin and hair, cardiovascular health, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects, kidney, liver and bone health, anti-aging effects, and lots of energy to fuel the body.
Everyone knows that apples are good for you, but did you know that
- if you eat one medium-sized apple approximately 15 minutes before a meal, your caloric intake at that meal is decreased by an average of 15 percent;
- Red Delicious and Granny Smith are ranked highest in their antioxidant concentration;
- the apple is actually a member of the Rose family (roses make rose hips that are similar to apples);
- when you eat an apple, you produce extra saliva which helps prevent tooth decay by lowering the levels of bacteria in your mouth;
- one of the easiest ways to detoxify liver is eating apples;
- because of their thin skin apples are extremely vulnerable to pesticides and other chemicals, so only eat organic apples;
- numerous health benefits: colon health, normalized blood sugar levels, decreased risk of diabetes, cancer, gallstones, asthma, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, reduced cholesterol, healthy heart and stronger eyesight.
Certified Organic Dried Goji Berries
3. Goji Berries
Goji berries look and taste a lot like dried cranberries or raisins, but don't hold it against them! Although not the most common berry, it's one of the most nutritionally-rich foods on earth, packed with powerful antioxidants, minerals and vitamins.
- A single goji berry can contain up to 21 minerals, including zinc, iron, copper, calcium and 18 different amino acids.
- Goji berries contain more vitamin C than any other food on earth.
- Goji berries are higher in antioxidants than any other food on earth.
- Goji berries help convert food into energy rather than fat, which makes them one of the best natural weight loss agents. This, in turn, dramatically increases your energy, which boosts your athletic performance, which makes you lose more weight.
- The best Goji berries come from the unique eco-regions of Tibet and Mongolia, so make sure to read the labels when you buy them at your local health food store.
- Health benefits: longevity, strong immune system, improved eyesight, healthy liver and kidneys, normalized blood pressure and blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol, healthy skin, weight loss.
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This leafy green, popularized in the 1920s by Popeye the Sailor Man, was originally cultivated in Iran over 2,000 years ago. The name comes from the Persian word "ispanai" which means "green hand".
- Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, and especially iron.
- Aside from vitamins and minerals, spinach is packed with powerful phytochemicals (pronounced “fight-o-chemicals”). Phytochemicals are substances produced by plants to help protect themselves from insects and other environmental damages. In a human body they have unique anti-aging, anti-disease, anti-fungal and anti-virus properties.
- The greener the leaves, the more vitamin C they contain. Also, baby spinach is preferable to mature spinach since it's more tender and easier to digest.
- Unlike most vegetables, cooked spinach is healthier than raw. That's because the body has a hard time breaking down the nutrients in raw spinach. Just don't overcook!
- Make sure to buy organic spinach. Like all leafy greens, spinach is heavily sprayed with pesticides that don't wash off.
- Health benefits: stronger eyes, bone building, cholesterol and weight reduction, decreased prostate cancer risk, improved digestion, detoxification of the colon, radiant skin.
Mangoes are sweet and juicy, known affectionately in India as the 'king of fruit', but they are also incredibly healthy. I wish all healthy snacks were this delicious!
- Mango is a symbol of love and life in India.
- Mangoes are high in fiber, fat-free, and contain numerous vitamins and phytochemicals.
- Mangoes have an enzyme that has stomach soothing properties and an overall comforting, calming effect on the body and mind.
- It is believed that Buddha meditated in a mango grove.
- The best way to peel a mango is to cut off its sides all around the pit, then slide the knife between the skin and the flesh, throw away the skins and cut the flesh into large cubes.
- When the mango is green, the amount of vitamin C is higher. When it ripens, the amount of vitamin A increases.
- Mangoes can cool down the body and protect it from heat, especially when you're on vacation in some tropical land. According to Ayurveda, the reason we often feel exhausted when visiting hot climates is that the strong sun energy is burning up our bodies, rushing all the toxins to the kidneys. Mangoes act as a natural diuretic and a cooling agent.
- Health benefits: anti-aging, reduced risk of certain forms of cancer, improved lung function, improved digestion, lower blood cholesterol levels, increased sex drive, enhanced skin, improved concentration and memory power.
Skeptical a trivial tomato is a super food? Wait till you read this.
- Lycopene, abundant in tomatoes, is the only nutrient found to have significant preventative value against prostate, lung, pancreatic, intestinal and breast cancer. Tomato products are also beneficial in treating cancers that are in progress.
- Organic tomato ketchup contains three times as much lycopene as non-organic brands of ketchup.
- Aside from lycopene, tomatoes are high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium and Potassium.
- Eating tomatoes protects your skin from sun damage, acting as an internal sunscreen.
- The biggest tomato festival "La Tomatina" is held annually in Valencia, Spain. It ends with the tomato fight where over 30,000 people throw an estimated 150,000 tomatoes at each other.
- Tomatoes are completely cholesterol free.
- The best thing for a hangover is a Bloody Mary.
- Feeling clogged up? Applying tomato slices to your face can unclog pores and remove the top layer of dead cells, leaving your skin clear and soft.
- Health benefits: heart health, bone health, lower cholesterol, and skin health.
It's a Vegetable!
Watermelon is not as simple as it seems. First off, did you know that it's a vegetable? It's related to cucumbers, pumpkins and squash. But that's not the only interesting thing about this fr...vegetable.
- Watermelon doesn’t contain any fat or cholesterol, is high in fiber, vitamins A & C, and potassium.
- One of Mark Twain's characters described the watermelon as "chief of this world's luxuries, king by the grace of God over all the fruits of the earth. When one has tasted it, he knows what the angels eat."
- Every part of the watermelon is edible, even the rind. In many places around the world (China, Russia, the Middle East) watermelon is fried, stewed or pickled.
- To choose a good watermelon, you should pick it up and turn it over - a fresh ripe specimen will be heavy for its size and have a yellow spot on its "belly", from where it sat on the ground, basking in the sun.
- Health benefits: cleansing and protecting the kidneys, anti-inflammation effects that prevent conditions like asthma, atherosclerosis, diabetes, colon cancer, and arthritis, protecting from heat stroke in the summer, and curing erectile dysfunctions.