Maylin Rodriguez-Paez, RNNot feeling well, or just want to feel better in general?
Before you reach for the medicine cabinet, take a closer look at what's in your fridge. You may find just what you need there. After all, before medicines were around, foods (and herbs) often did the trick quite nicely.
In this post, we’ll explore the medicinal benefits of six amazingly healthy foods.
Ready for some "food for thought"?
PomegranatesPomegranates were once considered the food of the ancient gods. Today, fortunately, they’re accessible to “mortals” like you and me. And best of all, they may help to reverse atherosclerosis.
During a study, participants took a pomegranate juice supplement daily. After a year, ultrasounds revealed a remarkable discovery: atherosclerotic lesions in the carotid arteries shrunk by a mean of 35%.1
Pomegranates prevent cholesterol oxidation1 — a factor involved in plaque development.
BeetsBeets are all the rage in juice bars, and it’s for good reason. They taste great, and they’re good for you.
Beet juice may support healthy blood pressure levels. In an experiment, participants drank one cup of beet root juice. Between 3 and 6 hours after consumption, their systolic blood pressure levels dropped a mean of 11.2 mm Hg.2
Beets contain nitrates, which relax blood vessel walls.
Tart cherriesIf you’re a fan of the sweet and sour, tart cherries are your match made in heaven.
In one study, drinking tart cherry juice was found to boost melatonin levels and enhance the quality and duration of sleep. On average, participants who drank the juice slept 39 more minutes.3
Not bad for a tasty treat!
TomatoesTomatoes aren’t trendy in the health food world, but they should be. One of their key antioxidants, lycopene, is a powerful cancer fighter.
In a small trial, a group of men ate tomato sauce daily, supplying 30 mg of lycopene daily for 3 weeks. After several weeks, blood testing revealed a 17.5% drop in the mean serum levels of PSA, a blood marker for prostate cancer.4
YogurtYou probably know that yogurt is great for your gut, but did you know it’s good for your mouth too?
According to research, young children who frequently eat yogurt are less likely to get cavities.5 Yogurt contains friendly bacteria which protect teeth against demineralization and, also, help remineralization.6
But please skimp on the sugary yogurt cups. The sugar is anything but good for your teeth.
CabbagesCabbages are known for their anti-cancer properties, but they’re less-well known for their anti-ulcer effects. They contain S-methylmethionine (also known as “vitamin U”), which protects the stomach against damage.7
One study showed that people with stomach ulcers healed faster by drinking cabbage juice — 7.3 days for drinkers versus 42 days for non-drinkers.8
Cabbage juice isn’t the tastiest drink around, but it seems totally worth it.
Manuka honeyManuka honey is a special type of honey found in New Zealand and Australia. It contains a compound that in many respects functions as a natural antibiotic, called methylglyoxal.9
Research shows manuka honey reduces bacterial infection and supports wound healing.9
Next time you have a cut, think honey, but don’t go for the conventional kinds. There are preparations specifically made for wound care.
The Bottom LineHippocrates was onto something when he talked about food as medicine. Fast forward hundreds of years later, and we’re doing the same thing.
What’s your favorite medicinal “super food”? Please let us know in the comments!
- Clin Nutr. 2004 Jun;23(3):423-33.
- Hypertension. 2013 April 15. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.111.00933
- Eur J Nutr. 2012 Dec;51(8):909-16.
- Exp Biol Med (Maywood.). 2002 Nov;227(10):886-93.
- J Dent. 2010 Jul;38(7):579-83.
- Aust Dent J. 2008 Dec;53(4):314-9.
- Available at: http://jocpr.com/vol4-iss1-2012/JCPR-2012-4-1-209-215.pdf. Accessed July 15, 2013.
- Calif Med. 1949 January; 70(1): 10–15.
- PLoS One. 2013; 8(2): e55898.