Your Guide to Foods that Heal

by eHarmony Staff

Your Guide to Foods that Heal

Feeling sluggish, bloated or just all around blah? We’d be willing to wager it’s your diet. Here’s a guide to foods that’ll make you feel better.

Eating your veggies may not be the only thing that can keep you in tip-top shape. There really is some truth in carrots improving your eyesight and spinach making you strong. (That’s why you never see rabbits wearing glasses or Popeye losing a fight!) When added to your balanced diet, other functional foods can help you feel better and can heal the body, some over time and some almost instantly. These rejuvenating refreshments are all-natural, have no side effects, and just might keep you healthy.

Quick Fixes

Carbohydrates are thought to have a calming effect on the brain, as they stimulate the body to release serotonin. Also known as the sleep-inducing hormone, serotonin transmits calmness and mood stability to your brain cells. Varying from simple sugars to complex starches, carbs include foods ranging from avocados, bananas, kiwis, and pecans to chocolate, pasta, potatoes, and bread. Finally, there is a real medical reason to back up the excuse that French fries and Hershey’s bars really do make you feel better!

Additional discomfort mediators that provide almost instant reprieve include other types of everyday chow. Chamomile is known for relieving stomach distress and calming nerves, while spearmint and peppermint provide indigestion relief. Besides accessorizing sushi, ginger is also good for motion sickness. When lozenges aren’t around, try some licorice to soothe sore throats and bananas to quiet coughs.

Long-Haul Healers

Tomatoes

Eating tomatoes, and even tomato-based products like salsa and bruschetta, can help prevent cancer. The anti-aging antioxidant properties in lycopene, which is found in tomatoes, neutralize free radicals that can damage cells and trigger cancer. Experts believe that whether the tomatoes are fresh or processed, you will benefit from lycopene’s powers. Don’t feel guilty about opening the jar of spaghetti sauce on a busy evening or having a douse of ketchup on your burger; you are still on the super-food train.

Garlic and Broccoli

Offering more than a pungent aroma, garlic is a strong natural antibiotic in chopped or crushed form. Over time, it helps to reduce cholesterol, while also containing antiviral properties to fight illnesses. Broccoli is also a power food, serving as an imposing anticarcinogen. These mini trees contain a substance called sulforaphane that works to dramatically reduce the number, size, and reproduction of malignant tumors, as well as delay their growth.

The Multitaskers

Oatmeal

A great source of fiber, oatmeal serves as both an instant and a long-term agent for health, because it’s made from both soluble and insoluble fiber. On a daily basis, fiber keeps your insides cleaned out; over time – even as quickly as a month – it lowers your LDL cholesterol (the bad one). While the oats bully their way through your gut, they also break down in your digestive track to reduce the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream, fighting cancer along the way. Have a bowl of oats daily to enjoy the benefits, but not the instant maple and brown sugar variety. The real deal is needed for such benefits, so look for the plain oat flakes with no sugar added.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon has been proven to significantly reduce LDL cholesterol and also the level of blood sugar in those with type 2 diabetes. Semi-instant benefits from cinnamon include improved digestion, congestion release, alleviated muscle and joint pain, relief from feminine discomfort, and a break in arthritis pain, mostly due to better circulation and the blood-thinning properties of this wonder spice.

Yogurt

Yogurt is full of the beneficial bacteria that support the immune system, working both instantly and over time. Yogurt guards against ulcers, strengthens bones, discourages vaginal infections, lowers cholesterol, and aids in digestion. The living bacteria works to stimulate the digestive track, helping with regularity, while the protein and dairy make you feel fuller after eating it. Because it can be served in so many different ways – as part of breakfast, as a sauce or side instead of sour cream, in place of oils in baking recipes, and as a frozen treat – yogurt is a versatile snack that supports great health.

Water

Water is the superhero of beverages. The honorable H2O promotes weight loss, conquers kidney stones, and smoothes skin to boot. Similar to a garbage disposal, your digestive system needs water to help flush away the toxins or it will come screeching to a halt. So stay hydrated to keep the motor running efficiently.

Of course, a balanced diet is the most integral ingredient to health. An overdose of chocolate, ketchup, or oatmeal isn’t going to cure your ailments or instantly make you the picture of health. To contribute to overall wellness, complement your daily fuel intake with exercise activities to round out your approach. And now you can integrate your own personalized provisions to offer your body a helping hand.

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