5 Foods That Heal

by Garreth Myers

Whether you're striving to build your immunity or fighting against a debilitating disease, eating right can help reclaim your health. French fries, a succulent burger, and a fizzy drink may seem like the ideal working lunch while ready-to-heats, canned and frozen foods are quick after-work dinner options… but obviously nutrition eludes these newfangled processed foods! The next time you go grocery shopping, don't reach for a frozen dinner, pick up these five healing foods instead. Chock-full of vitamins and nutrients AND a quick cook, you can prepare savory eats with these foods over the weekend and store them in the refrigerator for the rest of the week. Plan your meals a little in advance so that the next time you are rushed, you don't have to stop by your local fast food joint.

Cherries - Toss them in salads, use them as garnish on homemade desserts, or simply pop them in your mouth after a meal. The ancient Chinese regarded these little red fruits as a symbol of immortality, and cherry wood was considered to keep evil spirits away. Today, science shows us that this reverence could actually have some merit! Quercetin and ellagic acid are two compounds found in cherries that are known to restrict the growth of tumors and cancer cells. Its antioxidant and anti-bacterial properties make cherries a great inclusion to all kinds of preparations. Puree the cherries to mix it with other fruit juices and make your very own mocktail at home. Even those with diabetes can enjoy this delicious little fruit as cherries have a glycemic index lower than even apples and bananas (just 22). Stock them while they are in season and look for ripe, fresh ones.

Spinach - Chosen with good reason as Popeye's favorite food, spinach may not jolt you with that instant power, but it certainly fortifies your body to fight against formidable diseases. Spinach contains 58 mcg of folate which helps lower homocysteine- an amino acid that increases the risk of dementia, heart diseases, and strokes. Folate also inhibits the perpetuation of cancer cells in the body, so that it lowers your risk of developing ovarian and breast cancers. Vitamin C and vitamin K present in spinach help strengthen bones and fight inflammation, making it great for arthritis and osteoporosis patients. Slice a few tender spinach leaves and use this as a healthy garnish for your meats. You could even make spinach dips or spinach soups with crunchy croutons.

Beans - The best time to cook beans (any kind of beans) is when you're feeling low or just simply bored. Beans can boost your sullen moods on those mundane days. Tryptophan, an amino acid present in beans aids sleep and regulates appetite. Beans promote healthy bowel movement as they contain fiber. Other nutrients present in beans are protein, antioxidants and iron. Beans can lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar and insulin production. There are a variety of beans that you can try out - pinto, kidney, black beans, Lima and garbanzo beans. Add beans to stews with meats and veggies or just pressure cook them with some finely chopped onions and tomato puree.

Sweet Potatoes - Bake it, fry it or just steam it, whichever way you choose to cook sweet potatoes, everyone is sure to gobble up as much as they can eat of this tasty veggie. A great treat for diabetics, sweet potatoes contain plant sterols and other compounds that help lower cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar. Slice up steamed sweet potatoes and have them with savory dips. Sweet potato salad is also a healthy breakfast option. Sweet potatoes also contain beta carotenoid, an antioxidant that lowers the risk of heart diseases.

Figs - This fruit is considered the symbol of fertility in many cultures. Popular since ancient times as an aphrodisiac, figs are especially beneficial for women. Rich in calcium, potassium, and iron, figs are great for pregnant women. Yet another reason pregnant women should include figs in their diet is because they contain Omega 3 fatty acids. This fatty acid reduces the incidence of preterm labor and premature pregnancy and aids in the baby's development. Figs are great for post-menopausal women as well, as they strengthen bones and improve bone density. The best way to eat figs is in its natural form without steaming, frying or baking.

As an old Spanish proverb goes, "A man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools." Take time out to plan your meals. Maintaining good health means you are capable of disciplining and controlling your mind, so that you always have a positive can-do spirit that is instantly infectious!

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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