by Chitra Esther Chelladurai
At one point or another, every one gets sick and winter tends to be prime cold and flu season. Whether it's relatively benign or full-blown pneumonia, what really determines how often we get sick and how are immune system is able to counter those illnesses depends on what kind of lifestyle we lead, and often times what we eat.
There are so many "super" foods, medicines, herbal remedies, and so on that sometimes it's difficult to narrow down what we actually need. The market has been inundated with products and produce lauded for its anti-oxidant and cancer-fighting properties. It can be hard to keep track of what is actually a power-packed source of nutrients and what is not.
So, I have compiled a short list from Suite 101 of inexpensive common household foods that yield great benefits for different ailments:
They are reputed to be great sources of potassium, fiber and energy. But, they are also highly glycemic and may disrupt long term energy levels. A good substitute for this fruit is celery which has more potassium than bananas. Albeit harder to come by, wolfberries are a better, more balanced source of energy, nutrition and other vitamins.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Broccoli and spinach are undeniably an excellent source of minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins but in the case of iron few realize that these leafy greens are part of a family of vegetables that contain chemicals called “progoitrins” which mildy suppress thyroid function. Kale, turnips, mustard, and cauliflower have a better focus for someone trying to lose weight by eating more green veggies.
These little beauties are supposed to be a great source of Vitamin C—but only that. A better substitute for this are Brussels Sprouts which are an excellent source of Vitamin C, good source of beta-carotene and manganese, and Vitamin E. In recent research, Brussels Sprouts have the unique ability in DNA protection. For more information, please visit The World's Healthiest Foods.
In a society dependent on pharmaceutical drugs, have you ever wondered what exactly you are ingesting? And why drugs like Tylenol or Advil work? Sure, you may have browsed the back with a list of complicated ingredients, which to the average consumer is confounding. Almost all of these medicines are derived from some sort of plants and herbs. Instead of relying on prescribed drugs, here is a list from Herbal Remedies Info of natural remedies for common ailments and why they work:
For cancer prevention, this is a beneficial food source because it reduces the risk of several types. In a long-term Iowa Women’s Health Study researchers followed 41,837 middle-aged women, subjects who at the most garlic had the lowest risk of colon cancer. A few cloves a week cut risk by 32 percent and greater intake decreased risk even more.
This is great for both morning sickness and motion sickness. In ancient China sailors chewed ginger root to prevent motion sickness and modern studies confirmed that ginger prevents nausea and vomiting. Guess that's why mom always gave us ginger ale when we got a tummy ache!
Gingko improves blood flow around the body—including the brain—and has helped people with Alzheimer ’s disease by letting them retain more mental function. Beyond its benefits for Alzheimer’s, recent studies have shown that it improves mental function in people who are cognitively normal. And for those who may be ready to hunker down for a long winter's nap, ginkgo also improves blood flow into the genitals which aids in erection, libido and anti-depressant-induced sex problems. And in case you travel a great deal, it's also good to note that this herb also assists for altitude sickness.
Although drugs are more convenient to find in your neighborhood CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens, pharmaceuticals can never replace herbs. The bottom line is that herbs work well, are cheaper than drugs, and cause fewer side effects. If you plan to use any herbs, make sure to consult your doctor and what your average intake should be.
Image courtesy of HerbsGuide.org.