When you’re ill, your medicine cabinet or the neighborhood drugstore are likely among the first places you visit to “fix” your ailments. The human body is certainly complex, but people often forget the fact that it can often heal itself with time. While medicines certainly have their place in healthcare, long-term preventive care relies heavily on nutrition. In fact, certain foods are even deemed as holding healing abilities. Discover the top 12 healing foods and consider how you might incorporate them into a lifelong healthy lifestyle.
1. Acai Berries
Indigenous to South America, these mighty berries have gained more attention over the last few years for good reason. They contain more antioxidants than blueberries, which can help prevent chronic diseases. According to the Vegetarian Times, acai ranks far above other berries and even red wine, in terms of free radical absorption. You can think of equipping your body with antioxidants overtime similar to building an army to fight free radicals that lead to chronic illnesses, such as cancer. Like other berries, you will gain the most benefit from acai berries by eating the actual fruit instead of powdered and liquid extracts.
No other fruit is perhaps more American than the apple, which is at peak season during the autumn months across North America. You’ve heard the old saying about eating “an apple a day” for overall health, but apples also help regulate blood pressure and may even prevent cancer. In fact, the Vegetarian Times reports apples as being able to reduce overall hypertension and inflammation risks by 30 percent with regular consumption. Make sure you eat the peel, as this is where most of the healing antioxidants are located. All selections of apples are healthy, but Red Delicious varieties contain the best nutrients.
These summertime favorites offer more than the antioxidant beta-carotene. Apricots themselves are little-known preventive tools against kidney stones. According to Prevention magazine, high potassium content prevents mineral formations that can lead to kidney stones. If you’re prone to this condition, you might consider eating a daily apricot in addition to other treatments prescribed to you.
Among the most successful and popular of fruit in the United States, bananas heal both the body and the mind. Not only does the potassium help regulate your sodium levels, but this American favorite may also help alleviate stress. Bananas contain vitamin B6, which is an essential nutrient that pulls energy from foods and also increases serotonin production in the brain. Serotonin is responsible for regulating stress and anxiety, while also promoting calmness. Feel free to eat a medium banana a day, perhaps reserving it for a scheduled meeting or stressful event.
This popular herb does more than add flavor to your favorite Italian dishes. In fact, basil contains eugenol, which prevents bacteria from causing gastrointestinal ailments like nausea and diarrhea. Basil may also be used instead of over-the-counter pain medications to relieve cramps. For the best results, choose fresh basil leaves—dried basil doesn’t deliver the same eugenol punch.
There is a lot of debate over the purported benefits versus the potential health risks of coffee. However, if you drink two cups of coffee without the fattening cream and sugar, you can reap certain health benefits without consuming too much caffeine. Specifically, coffee may help prevent neurological diseases and colon cancer.
Minced and whole garlic leaves are used to add some flavor in all types of healthy meals, including salads, pastas, soups and veggies dishes. While garlic has increased in popularity over the last several years, its most traditional use is actually medicinal. Garlic contains natural fungal-fighting properties, which may even be helpful in healing and preventing yeast infections.
Whether you eat ginger candy, soda or tea, the ginger root is considered a natural cure for nausea. This is a more natural, side effect-free treatment for nausea related to pregnancy, chemotherapy treatments and acute illnesses.
Known for their high levels of vitamin C, oranges can do more than support your immune system. The vitamin C content helps build more oxygen in your body, which helps to heal problems with fatigue. Next time you need a little pick-me-up, pass up the unhealthy energy drinks for a medium orange or a small glass of orange juice instead.
These starchy tuberous vegetables are making a comeback in healthy, balanced diets for many good reasons. Aside from energizing the body with carbohydrates, eating potatoes can support headache relief by boosting serotonin. Make sure you choose whole potatoes instead of packaged potato chips.
Touted as one of the healthiest fish, tuna does more than support a healthy heart. In fact, the omega-3 fatty acid content in tuna may put you in a better mood by alleviating depression and anxiety. Tuna is best enjoyed by older children and adults two times per week.
During the last several years, specialty yogurt has saturated the market, promising to fight gastrointestinal irregularities. Some consumers have been skeptical, but the truth is that such claims aren’t all hype. The live cultures in some yogurt promote healthy bacterial growth in your digestive tract. This helps heal gastrointestinal problems, such as constipation, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Live-culture yogurt can also help alleviate problems with lactose intolerance. The key is to only choose yogurt brands that are high in live cultures to gain the most gut-friendly benefits.
Healing the body and preventing chronic illnesses may be closer at hand than you think. By focusing on antioxidant-rich foods, your body is better prepared to ward off harmful diseases while supporting optimal energy levels. Any pre-existing health concerns should be addressed with a doctor.