Making the Choice to Eat Right
Every lifestyle choice you make impacts your health. This is especially true of the foods you eat. Eating or not eating certain foods can either help prevent or lead to certain diseases. So, even if you have a history of eating unhealthy foods, there is always room to positively change your health through nutrition. Just know that changes like this can take a while and that finding the best diet for you doesn't happen overnight.
Follow along to learn about 10 amazing disease-fighting foods.
Can the Foods I Eat Help Prevent Disease?
The key to healthy eating is to choose an array of whole foods like fruits and vegetables rather than processed foods. Focus on creating a colorful and diverse plate of these whole foods. That variety is better than trying to eat a lot of one type of vegetable or food. Incorporate the following foods into your diet.
Whole grains give you fiber and help you maintain stable blood pressure. This decreases your chances of heart disease, diabetes, and other heart-related issues as well as nourishes your body generally.
Some other nutrients and health benefits that whole grains offer:
- B vitamins. Vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin are all found in whole grains. They aid the body in converting energy from protein, fat, and carbohydrates. In addition, b vitamins are essential for your nervous system to function at its fullest capacity.
- Iron. The main role of iron is to help oxygen move through the blood. There are two types of iron, one comes from meat and is called heme-iron. In addition, there is another type of iron called non-heme iron. Whole grains and fortified whole grains contain the latter and are one of the major sources of non-heme iron.
- Magnesium and selenium. Magnesium helps build bones and brings energy to the muscles. Selenium helps prevent oxidation to your cells. Both of these minerals are crucial for your immune system.
Limiting the amount of fat you eat is a critical way to lower your cholesterol levels. High cholesterol levels increase your likelihood of coronary artery disease and put you at risk for heart attack and stroke. Many types of meat contain high levels of fat, and high meat consumption is often a primary cause of high cholesterol levels. In order to get the protein in a healthy way, consider incorporating these types of protein:
- Low-fat dairy products
- Skinless poultry
- Soy products
- Lean ground meat
Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fats
Your body needs fats to survive. Fat supplies your body with crucial energy, vitamins, and minerals. In addition, it helps your body create the exterior of every cell and the exterior of the nerves near the cells.
Without fat, your blood won’t be able to clot, you can’t move your muscles, or decrease inflammation. All of these functions are crucial for the prevention and management of disease.
Some examples of fats that carry these fats in them are:
- Olive oil
- Canola oil
- Vegetable and nut oil
Eating a high-sodium diet is dangerous for your body. Too much sodium alters your natural equilibrium of fluid balance, blood pressure, and blood volume. In addition, overeating sodium causes swelling of your lower extremities. Cutting down on how much sodium you eat helps reduce the likelihood you will get heart disease and generally increases your chances of fighting disease.
Greens carry an incredible amount of nutrition. They are rich in vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as B-vitamins. These vitamins help fight cancer, prevent osteoporosis, manage diabetes, and reduce the chances of heart disease.
Some of the greens that do this are:
- Bok choy
- Bok choy
- Mustard greens
Citrus fruits carry essential nutrients like vitamin C, flavonoids, and fiber. They reduce the risk of adverse heart events, inflammation and help the gastrointestinal system. Due to these far-reaching benefits, eating citrus helps fight off cancer, diabetes, and neurological disease, amongst other conditions.
Think about incorporating citrus fruits such as:
- Blood oranges
Root vegetables are vegetables that grow underground at the bottom of a plant. Some of them are not roots but instead are more like bulbous growths. They are typically low in calories yet contain high amounts of disease-fighting vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, calcium, and potassium. Examples of root vegetables you can incorporate into your diet are:
- Celery root
- Sweet potatoes
Green tea has been studied and found to be an incredible source of protection from heart disease and cancer. It also helps give a more balanced and level source of caffeine than coffee or other caffeine sources. Green tea is also far less dehydrating than other caffeine sources. Warding off dehydration is an excellent way in itself to fight disease.
Your body always contains both good and bad bacteria. An infection is when the harmful bacteria in your body become more significant than the good bacteria. Probiotics are considered good bacteria. Therefore, supplementing probiotics in your diet or eating probiotic-rich foods is essential so that you can generally fight infections and aids in your body's digestive processes.
Garlic contains germ-fighting compounds that boost the immune system and create more virus-fighting cells. In addition, it reduces stress hormones and helps your immune system function fully.
Overall, you should work to include a variety of foods that nourish your body. Remember to focus on your diet as a whole rather than including one type of food in the quest to fight off disease.