You Really Are What You Eat Recent dietary research has uncovered 14 different nutrient-dense foods that time and again promote good overall health. Coined "superfoods," they tend to have fewer calories, higher levels of vitamins and minerals, and many disease-fighting antioxidants. Beans (legumes), berries (especially blueberries), broccoli, green tea, nuts (especially walnuts), oranges, pumpkin, salmon. soy, spinach, tomatoes, turkey, whole grains and oats, and yogurt can all help stop and even reverse diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and some forms of cancer. And where one might have an effect on a certain part of the body, it can also affect the health of other body functions and performance, since the whole body is connected. With these 14 foods as the base of a balanced, solid diet, weight loss gimmicks and other fly-by-night programs can become a thing of the past in your life. Conversely, the ill-effects of an unbalanced diet are several and varied. Low energy levels, mood swings, tired all the time, weight change, uncomfortable with body are just a few signs that your diet is unbalanced. An unbalanced diet can cause problems with maintenance of body tissues, growth and development, brain and nervous system function, as well as problems with bone and muscle systems. Symptoms of malnutrition include lack of energy, irritability, a weakened immune system leading to frequent colds or allergies, and mineral depletion that can trigger a variety of health concerns including anemia. And since the body is connected, realizing that an unhealthy body will result in an unhealthy spirit only makes sense. When we nourish our body with these superfoods and complement them with other nutrient-dense and healthy fresh foods, our spirit will be vitalized and healthy as a direct result. Many modern diets based on prepackaged convenience foods are sorely lacking in many vitamins and minerals, which can affect our mental capacities as well, and cause irritability, confusion, and the feeling of 'being in a fog' all the time. Superfoods can be the basis of a sound, healthy, nutritious solution to curing many of these ailments and more. Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure It seems like everywhere you look, there's a new pill or medicine that will 'instantly cure' your sickness, disease or health issue. And while taking a pill to cure what ails you might be convenient and simple, maybe it's really time to sit down and take a good, long look at what you're feeding your body, or as it might be, not feeding your body. Are you truly giving your body the nutrients it needs to take care of itself? Most of us find when we take a look at what we've been eating that the choices we've been making in the name of convenience, simplicity, or saving time have actually been detrimental to our overall health - body, mind and spirit. Our modern day diet largely consists of excessive consumption of starch, sugar, fried and fatty foods. As a result, diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer's and some cancers are becoming more and more common. Healthy foods and good nutrition can not only help keep you fit, but treat disease as well. You may not even have to go to a health food store. You can purchase them right at your grocery store, or make a trip to your local farmer's market. And if you focus on basing a healthy, well-balanced diet on the 14 "Superfoods," the detrimental effects of these diseases can be slowed, stopped or even reversed. And when you nourish your body physically with these nutrient-dense foods, your mental capacities increase, and your spiritual wellness is enhanced as well. In addition, since your spiritual health is optimal, it will shine through to the outside, and people will notice you're happy, calm, and that your stress levels have decreased dramatically. So look for ways to cut the junk out of your daily eating and replace it with members of the Superfoods group. Your body, mind and spirit will all be healthier as a direct result. Color Your Way to Daily Health It's important that we eat plenty of different fruits and vegetables every day. Diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. Fruits and vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and other substances that are important for good health. Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories and are filling. You've probably heard about the 5 A Day for Better Health program. It provides easy ways to add more fruits and vegetables into your daily eating patterns. It's vital that we eat a wide variety of colorful orange/yellow, red, green, white, and blue/purple vegetables and fruit every day. By eating vegetables and fruit from each color group, you will benefit from the essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that each color group has to offer alone and in combination. There's several different yet simple ways to start incorporating vegetables and fruit into your familiar and favorite meals. You can begin your day with 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice, slice bananas or strawberries on top of your cereal, or have a salad with lunch and an apple for an afternoon snack. Include a vegetable with dinner and you already have about 5 cups of fruits and vegetables. You may even try adding a piece of fruit for a snack or an extra vegetable at dinner. Don't be afraid to try something new to increase your vegetable and fruit intake. There are so many choices when selecting fruits and vegetables. Kiwifruit, asparagus, and mango may become your new favorite. Keep things fresh and interesting by combining fruits and vegetables of different flavors and colors, like red grapes with pineapple chunks, or cucumbers and red peppers. Get in the habit of keeping fruits and vegetables visible and easily accessible - you'll tend to eat them more. Store cut and cleaned produce at eye-level in the refrigerator, or keep a big colorful bowl of fruit on the table. Getting Your Nutrition from Real Food is a Good Habit for Life Many people think popping a multi-vitamin supplement to get their nutrients is just as good as what comes from real foods. They don't realize that it is far better to get vitamins and minerals from natural foods and juices. Our bodies utilize the vitamins and minerals from real foods more efficiently. And most people find it much easier to select a variety of whole foods they enjoy eating instead of trying to make heads or tails of the entire selection of vitamin and mineral supplements that are available. And any of us who've swallowed a multi-vitamin or a mineral supplement can say without a doubt that the taste leaves a lot to be desired Supplements are also difficult for our bodies to break down and use, making it difficult to get the full punch from the vitamins and minerals they contain. Conversely, by consuming plenty of nutrient-dense food to get the equivalent means the nutrients are going to be easier for the body to process and utilize, and less likely to be wasted. We are also processing nutrients throughout the course of the day when we obtain them from food, instead of just getting them from the 'one a day' approach. Many of the supplements available today use fillers and binders to hold them together, plus coatings on the tablets themselves. These are products the body does not need and will not use. Some people find they are allergic to the dyes and fillers used in vitamin pills. However, the body uses the fiber that binds fruits and vegetables. Often the "skin" of a vegetable, like the potato, is the most nutritious part. In addition, sometimes the vitamin and mineral supplements can upset our stomachs, making taking them even more difficult the next day. In many cases, combining supplements can counteract their effectiveness and can produce stomach upset when dealing with the taste and smell of some supplements. On the other hand, a variety of fruits and vegetables enhance the flavor of a nutritious meal and their fiber aids digestion. If you're looking to lose weight, eating fresh food is vital to a weight loss plan. Also, eating fresh fruits and vegetables help hair, skin and teeth stay attractive and healthy. And when you think about it, fruits and vegetables are the original 'to go' food. It's simple to grab for an orange, apple, banana, grapes, or quickly toss a few vegetables together for a salad to take to work. So when you're looking for well-balanced, healthy, reliable nutrition, don't reach for the bottle. Reach for the food! Healthy Diet Essentials According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a healthy diet as one that Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products; includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts; and is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars. But just what minerals and nutrients are vital to our health and well-being? Consider these nutrient-dense foods when you're looking to improve your vitamin and mineral intake. Vitamin A is needed for good eyesight and optimal functioning of the immune system. Cod liver oil, dairy products, sweet potatoes and dark green leafy vegetables are all great natural food sources of vitamin A. Vitamin B1, also known as thiamin, is imperative to the body's ability to process carbohydrates. Whole grain breads, cereals and pastas have high amounts of thiamin. Riboflavin, or B2, can be found in fortified cereals, almonds, asparagus, eggs, and meat. It's used in many body processes, including converting food into energy and the production of red blood cells. Niacin, also known as B3, can be found in lean chicken, tuna, salmon, turkey, enriched flour, peanuts, and fortified cereals. It aids in digestion and also plays a key role in converting food into energy. Vitamin B6 can be found in fortified cereals, fortified soy-based meat substitutes, baked potatoes with skin, bananas, light-meat chicken and turkey, eggs, and spinach. It's vital for a healthy nervous system, and helps break down proteins and stored sugars. Vitamin B12 is needed for creating red blood cells, and can be found in beef, clams, mussels, crabs, salmon, poultry, and soybeans. Citrus fruits, red berries, tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, red and green bell peppers, cabbage, and spinach are all loaded with vitamin C, which is vital to promoting a healthy immune system, and making chemical messengers in the brain. Vitamin D can be found in fortified milk, cheese, and cereals; egg yolks; salmon; but can also be made by the body from sunlight exposure. It's needed to process calcium and maintain the health of bones and teeth. Vitamin E functions as an antioxidant and is essential to your skin's good health. Eat plenty of leafy green vegetables, almonds, hazelnuts, and vegetable oils like sunflower, canola, and soybean to get this vital nutrient. Folic acid can be found in fortified cereals and grain products; lima, lentil, and garbanzo beans; and dark leafy vegetables. It's vital for cell development, prevents birth defects, promotes heart health, and helps red blood cells form. Pregnant women need to take special care to ensure they are getting enough of this for themselves and their developing baby. Dairy products, broccoli, dark leafy greens like spinach and rhubarb, and fortified products, such as orange juice, soy milk, and tofu are all loaded with calcium. Like vitamin D, it's very important in helping to build and maintain strong bones and teeth. Organ meats, oysters, clams, crabs, cashews, sunflower seeds, wheat bran cereals, whole-grain products, and cocoa products are all high in copper, which aids in metabolism of iron and red cell formation. It also assists in the production of energy for cells. Iron can be found in leafy green vegetables, beans, shellfish, red meat, poultry, soy foods, and some fortified foods. It's needed to transport oxygen to all parts of the body via the red blood cells. Potassium can be found in foods like Broccoli, potatoes (with the skins on), prune juice, orange juice, leafy green vegetables, bananas, raisins, and tomatoes. It aids in nervous system and muscle function and also helps maintain a healthy balance of water in the blood and body tissues. Red meat, fortified cereals, oysters, almonds, peanuts, chickpeas, soy foods, and dairy products are great dietary sources of zinc. Zinc supports the body's immune function, reproduction capabilities, and the nervous systems. Protein is the main component of muscles, organs, and glands. Every living cell and all body fluids, except bile and urine, contain protein. The cells of muscles, tendons, and ligaments are maintained with protein. Children and adolescents require protein for growth and development, and adults need it to maintain cell integrity. It can be found in foods like beans, milk and meat. The primary function of carbohydrates is to provide energy for the body, especially the brain and the nervous system. Complex carbohydrates are the best choice for a stable blood sugar level. Whole grain breads and cereals, legumes, and starchy vegetables are all good complex carbohydrate sources. Essential fatty acids play a part in many metabolic processes, and there is evidence to suggest that low levels of essential fatty acids, or the wrong balance of types among the essential fatty acids, may be a factor in a number of illnesses. Good sources are fish and shellfish, flaxseed, canola oil, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, leafy vegetables, and walnuts. Though this list is far from complete, it gives a good base of knowledge on which to build a healthy, well-balanced diet. Super Foods for Super Weight Loss Experts say there are two basic categories of foods that can be considered "keeping it off superfoods" because they fill your tummy without piling on the calories: fruits and vegetables. And the nutrient that gives fruits and vegetables that 'staying power?' Fiber. So, if fruits and vegetables are the "keeping-it-off superfood groups," fiber may well be the "keeping-it-off super-nutrient." Protein is another super-nutrient. It's becoming more scientifically accepted that protein may help to curb appetite. Protein also offers staying power, and can slightly boost your metabolism in the process. But it's imperative that you choose your proteins wisely, because like all other foods, if you're eating more than your body needs, it'll show up on the scale as a gain, instead of a loss. The following superfoods are smart, low-calorie choices that will benefit your weight loss efforts: Green Tea - Researchers suspect that the catechins (helpful phytochemicals) in green tea may trigger weight loss by stimulating the body to burn calories and mildly decrease body fat. So indulge in either a hot cup or a nice tall iced glass of green tea. Broth - or tomato-based soup - Soups can help reduce hunger before meals and increase your feeling of fullness. Low-calorie green salads - Having a low-calorie salad - which is not defined as one that's loaded with croutons, high fat dressings, and cheese - as a first course can help you feel full, thereby reducing how much you eat with your main course. Wisely choose your ingredients, and its high fiber content can be the key to helping you fight cravings later in the day. Yogurt - Including dairy products as part of your healthy diet may promote your weight loss efforts. Choosing a light yogurt may help you fight off hunger pangs due to its combination of protein and carbohydrate. Beans - A great combination of fiber and protein, beans help you feel full longer, which means they may work to curb your between-meal appetite. Water - Water is your body's lifeblood, and you should be drinking it through your day. It's a great no-calorie beverage, and you can get it by drinking unsweetened tea, flavored unsweetened mineral water, regular water with lime or lemon, or even in your cucumber. In addition to helping flush toxins from the body, it can also help you feel full. So when those hunger pangs strike, try drinking a glass of water before grabbing that snack. High-Fiber, Whole-Grain Cereal - Whole grains in general help boost fiber and the nutritional value of your meal. One of the easiest ways to give your daily diet a whole-grain boost is to have a bowl of higher-fiber whole-grain cereal as breakfast or a snack. Flush the Fat With Smart Food Choices Flushing the fat? As crazy as the concept might sound, the Fat Flush Plan can help you reshape your body while detoxifying your system. This low-carbohydrate, three-phase diet regimen was created by nutritionist Ann Louise Gittleman, Ph.D., C.N.S. Phase 1 of the plan, called The Two-Week Fat Flush, lasts 14 days and is designed to jump-start weight loss. Phase 2, The Ongoing Fat Flush, helps you continue to lose weight, and Phase 3, The Lifestyle Eating Plan, focuses on maintenance. The Fat Flush Plan was designed to increase metabolism, flush out bloat and to boost the fat burning process. At the core of the plan is the commitment to promote a balanced lifestyle and encourage simple healthy habits that seem to have gone by the wayside in our modern and hectic everyday life. Every aspect of each phase of the plan is focused on accomplishing this goal: helpful essential fats, amounts of protein, antioxidant-rich vegetables, moderate amounts of fruits, calorie-burning herbs and spices, cleansing diuretic beverages, exercise, journaling and even sleep are addressed. The Two-Week Fat Flush is based on an average of 1,100 to 1,200 calories daily, and is designed to jumpstart weight loss for dramatic results. It will transform your shape by accelerating fat loss from your body's favorite fat storage areas - your hips, thighs and buttocks. The Ongoing Fat Flush is the next step for those individuals who have additional weight to lose but who also want to pursue a more moderate cleansing program and enjoy a bit more variety in food choices while still losing weight. This part of the program is designed for ongoing weight loss, with approximately 1,200 to 1,500 calories each day. This is the phase that will be followed until you reach your desired weight or size. The Lifestyle Eating Plan is your maintenance program for lifetime weight control. This phase offers over 1,500 calories daily, providing a basic lifelong eating program designed to increase your vitality and well-being for life. You'll add up to two dairy products and up to two additional friendly carbs. Phase 3 friendly carbs include more choices from a variety of starchier veggies and nongluten hypoallergenic grains. Foods are always introduced one at a time to make sure there are no allergic reactions and you're your body tolerates the food well. Superfoods that Squash Stress Life has a way of getting the best of us some days. Whether it's working too many hours, shuffling your kids all over town for their activities, taking care of your household, or dealing with personal or family matters, stress can take its toll on you physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. But there are simple steps you can take to combat stress, starting with the foods you eat. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol is a good start when life's particularly stressful. Stimulants and depressants like these can both zap your energy and rob you of the fuel you need to successfully cope with tension. Sugary foods should also be avoided as well, as they cause your blood sugar levels to spike then dip rapidly, which can in turn make your energy levels spike and dip at the same rate. However, there are several superfoods out there that provide you with the energy and nutrition your body needs to keep stress in check Asparagus, which is high in folic acid, can help level out your moods. Folic acid and vitamin B are key players in producing serotonin, a chemical that gets you into a good mood. And though we may hear negative things regarding red meat, it's actually a wise dinner option for a stressed-out family. Beef's high levels of iron, zinc and B vitamins not only help get you into a good mood, but help you stay there as well. Your local butcher can help you select lean cuts for the healthiest options Milk really does a body good. Chock full of calcium, protein, antioxidants, and vitamins B2 and B12, it helps strengthen bones and promotes healthy cell regeneration. Paired with a healthy whole-grain cereal choice in the morning, low-fat milk is a great way to start your day and arm yourself to do battle with the stressors that await you. Cottage cheese is also another great dairy choice, and when coupled with a fruit that's high in vitamin C, it helps the body battle free radicals that run rampant during your most stressed periods. Almonds are also an awesome choice when it comes to arming yourself against stress. They're high in magnesium, zinc, as well as vitamins B2, C, and E and unsaturated fats, all which are great warriors against free radicals, which have been shown to cause cancers and heart disease. Superfoods for your Brain We've all had days when we didn't feel like we were 'on our game.' And as we age, both our bodies and our brains grow old as well. By making smart food choices though, we can preserve our precious gray matter longer and improve brain function. Here are some brainy choices for keeping our noggins in tip-top shape. Blueberries have been shown to shield the brain from stress, dementia, and Alzheimer's disease. Research has also shown that diets rich in blueberries significantly improved both the learning capacity and motor skills. Avocados, though considered a 'fatty fruit,' contribute to healthy blood flow and decreased blood pressure, lessening the chances of developing hypertension, which can lead to a stroke. Deep-water fish, such as salmon is a wise, freshwater fish choice. It's abundant in omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are essential for healthy brain function. Nuts and seeds are good sources of vitamin E, an important vitamin needed by your brain to stave off declining cognitive functions. Cashews, peanuts, walnuts, sunflower and sesame seeds and almonds are all great choices. Whole-grain breads, brown rice, and oatmeal also contribute to a healthy brain by reducing the risk for cardiac disease. By promoting a healthy heart and improved blood flow, the brain is sure to thrive via excellent oxygen and nutrient delivery through the bloodstream. Complex carbohydrates also supply the brain with a steady stream of glucose that enhances brain function. It's important to avoid simple carbohydrates often found in junk food because the glucose gives the brain a short-lived sugar high, often followed by a crash that makes you feel hungry and tired. Freshly brewed tea also has potent antioxidants, especially the class known as catechines, which also promotes healthy blood flow. Since black teas do contain caffeine it's important to use it sensibly. Dark chocolate has powerful antioxidant properties, contains several natural stimulants, which enhance focus and concentration, and encourages the production of endorphins, which helps improve mood. Again, moderation is the key. Superfoods to Rejuvenate Body, Mind and Spirit When the goal is rejuvenating the body, mind and spirit, the method should be smaller, more frequent snacks and meals. This will help keep energy levels on an even keel, and regulate your blood sugar levels to avoid spikes and dips. When you choose the right combination of foods, your body gets the much-needed boost it needs to sustain itself properly, even through those slumps later in the day. So dump those high sugar junk foods and reach for the following foods and get that boost you need. Any fresh fruit, especially with skins or seeds like peaches, apples, pears, oranges, and strawberries, is a great source of vitamins and fiber. In the summer you can choose a peach and get plenty of dietary fiber, niacin (vitamin B3), potassium, beta carotene and vitamin A, plus high amounts of vitamin C. Niacin is important for providing energy for cell tissue growth. Along with regulating fluid balance, potassium helps maintain the electrical stability of the cells of your heart and nervous system and is important for cell and muscle growth. Vitamin B12 plays a role in red blood cell formation, nerve function, and metabolizing protein and fat. Dried Apricots and Almonds combination provides a high amount of vitamin A, iron protein and dietary fiber. Both foods are low in cholesterol and sodium, and apricots are a great source of potassium, which is important in regulating your body's fluid balance. The vitamin A in apricots contributes to healthy vision, bone growth, and reproduction, and helps fight infection. Raisins are a healthy, low-fat, low-cholesterol, and low-sodium snack with significant amounts of potassium, phosphorus, copper, and iron, and when mixed with low-fat yogurt, you also get riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin B12, as well as a high amount of calcium, which is needed not only for strong bones and teeth but also plays a key role in the normal functioning of the heart and other muscles. Baby carrots and sesame sticks are a tasty treat that will provide significant amounts of beta carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, vitamin B6, iron, potassium, copper, and fiber. Beta carotene helps protect against diseases like heart disease and some cancers. Vitamin A is important for healthy skin, for better night vision, and to fight infection and respiratory ailments. Folate, or vitamin B9, is essential to human life, helping to form red blood cells and break down proteins, and playing a key role in cell growth and division. Peanut butter on some whole grain crackers is an excellent source of protein, iron, niacin, and fiber. Peanut butter on celery is a classic snack, has great staying power, and the celery is stuffed with numerous vitamins, minerals, and is high in fiber. Low-fat string cheese is a good quick source of protein and calcium. They come in easy-to-carry individual servings and you can add a piece of fresh fruit for extra fiber. Superfoods that Help Heartburn Heartburn and indigestion make millions of people miserable. Continuous digestive problems can be a symptom of overeating, bad food choices or something more serious. Thankfully simple changes in the foods you eat can provide relief. A number of foods can trigger heartburn or indigestion by relaxing the band of muscles at the end of your esophagus so it can't keep out stomach acid. By avoiding spicy foods with black pepper or chili powder, garlic and raw onions, citrus foods like tomatoes, oranges, and grapefruit, fried or fatty foods, alcohol or anything with caffeine such as coffee, tea, soft drinks, heartburn and indigestion can be greatly lessened or avoided. For overall healthy digestion and to minimize acid reflux, make sure you get plenty of fiber from a variety of vegetables, non-citrus fruits, and whole grains. Drink enough fluids to help your body absorb important nutrients and lubricate food waste, and use low-fat methods when cooking. Try drinking herbal chamomile tea after dinner or before bedtime, as it's believed to have a calming effect on the stomach. Smaller but more frequent meals can also help decrease heartburn and indigestion episodes. Be sure to eat your meals and snacks in a calm, relaxed atmosphere where there's little if any noise or distractions. Wear properly fitting clothing that isn't tight in the waist and abdominal area, and don't lie down immediately after eating a meal. Make your morning meal oatmeal. It's high in fiber, low in saturated fat and cholesterol and when combined with skim milk, gives you a calcium-charged boost to your day. By adding blueberries or raisins you'll be adding some extra iron and potassium into the mix for a well-balanced meal. You can't beat turkey if you want a lean, nutrient-packed protein source that'll be easy on your stomach. Turkey is high in niacin, which helps lower cholesterol levels in the blood. Chicken without the skin is also a terrific low-fat source of protein. Both are easy to cook either indoors or out. Apples and grapes are low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium, and are a great non-citrus fruit choice for vitamin C and fiber. Superfoods to Stomp out a Cold Not only do healthy, nutrient-dense foods nourish your body and help the cells grow and reproduce, they also help arm your body's defenses to ward off attacks from germs that cause colds. Low-fat meats, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and whole grains all play a part in preparing your body to do battle. Another important component of your anti-cold defense system is water. When your body is dehydrated, it's at an increased risk of germs latching on and not letting go. So be sure to drink plenty of water and decaffeinated drinks to help your body stay hydrated and ready. Just one cup of yogurt a day may work to keep the gastrointestinal track healthier, which can help ward off colds. It has to be yogurt with live cultures, as this is the key ingredient that helps keep the GI track ready to rumble. And an added bonus to eating yogurt - recent studies suggest regular dairy consumption helps you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Garlic contains allicin, an antibiotic that has been shown to prevent complications from a cold in some research. Garlic can be added to many of your favorite dishes to spice them up and help you suit up to do battle against cold germs. It's been said an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Well, so can an orange. One orange a day provides your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C. Oranges are also abundant in flavonoids, which helps your body's cells regenerate and stay healthy and strong. Green bell peppers are the vegetable family's best vitamin C source. Add them to a salad, or simply slice one up and eat it raw. Flavonoids are also found in peppers. You may even want to prepare a green pepper dip seasoned with garlic for an added germ-kicking effect. Lean ground beef, especially when prepared with a bit of garlic, can maintain cell health and fight off illness. It's a good source of protein, selenium and zinc, and when eaten with a bit of tomato, is a great defense during cold season. Superfoods for Fighting the Flu Breakouts of the flu are responsible for millions of lost hours at both work and home each year, not to mention many miserable days trying to recover. If you're wondering what you can do to naturally boost your immunity and prepare your body's defenses, study the foods you're eating, look at your family's meals, and make the changes needed to ensure everyone is eating a well-balanced diet abundant in nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables, low-fat proteins, and complex carbohydrates. Black currants are even richer in vitamin C than oranges, containing approximately three times the recommended daily intake for adults. It's imperative that you get plenty of vitamin C since it helps prevent infections and helps keep the immune system healthy. Pork has high levels of zinc and selenium, both of which help keep your immune system strong. It's also one of the best sources of B vitamins and contains only a little more total fat than beef. So be sure to include lots of pork entrees in your menu planning. Mix up your morning breakfast with a glass of grapefruit juice instead of orange juice for a vitamin C-rich drink that's both sweet and tart. However, you should check with your doctor if you're on certain medications for blood pressure, AIDS, anxiety, or hay fever, as mixing grapefruit juice with certain drugs can lead to dangerous toxicity. Brussel sprouts are a great vegetable source of vitamin C, are high in fiber and contain lots of folate as well. They improve anticarcinogenic glucosinolates, which have important cancer-fighting properties. They're a great addition in a stew to provide lots of fl-busting nutrients. Yogurt that includes live cultures has a positive effect on your GI tract, and as a result, helps the body purge the germs from the body more quickly and effectively and fight the flu. You want your yogurt to contain the active culture L. acidophilus, which is also helpful in fighting off yeast infections. Potatoes are one of the most affordable sources of vitamin C, and nicely complement any entrée with their high levels of potassium and fiber. The skin contains the most fiber and the flesh just under the skin contains the most vitamin C. Fresh potatoes are the best source of vitamin C. Be careful of how you choose to prepare them, as soaking them in water robs them of their germ-busting vitamin C. Whole wheat pasta is also rich in niacin, fiber, and iron. Its complex carbohydrates are an essential part of a healthy diet that will keep your immune system strong. Simply substitute recipes calling for traditional pasta with the whole wheat variety instead for a delicious and nutritious twist on your favorite pasta dishes. Superfoods for Super Bones Many people believe that the primary cause of osteoporosis is the lack of calcium in their diet. However, in the overall picture, calcium is only a small piece of the puzzle. Though calcium supplements can certainly help, there are other dietary concerns that need to be examined. Actually, the primary dietary cause of osteoporosis is the eating foods that are highly acidic in nature, such as refined white sugar, refined white flour, high-fructose corn syrup, soft drinks, cookies, candies, sweets, desserts, and anything containing sweeteners. The over-consumption of these products causes the pH level in your blood to become very acidic. In an attempt to counterbalance this, your body reaches out for any calcium and magnesium it can find, and releases those into your bloodstream in an attempt to keep the pH level at a healthy balance. Therefore, with every soft drink, candy, cake and goodie you indulge in, you are robbing your skeleton of its bone density. The calcium and magnesium the body harvests in an attempt to counteract this acidic environment gets passed through your kidneys, where it can also contribute to kidney stones and exits your body through your urine. To prevent losing your bone mass to dietary causes, simply avoid consuming any white flour, processed sugars, added sugars, soft drinks, sweets, candies, breads, or any other ingredients that are made with refined carbohydrates. In addition, certain superfoods, like broccoli, cabbage, celery and other dark green leafy vegetables help keep the pH balance in a healthy equilibrium. You need to get plenty of calcium and magnesium from healthy sources such as organic, plant-based vitamins. You also need to supplement your diet with various sea vegetables, which are naturally alkaline. Those include seaweed, kelp, and many others. Sprouts are also an awesome superfood choice. Superfoods that have your Heart in Mind Heart disease is number one killer among both men and women in the United States. And though we all realize that eating nutrient-dense healthy foods help reduce the risk, we may not know which foods are the best choices to battle this deadly disease head on. The key is stepping up fiber and choosing unsaturated fats. Eating unsaturated fats, like omega-3 fatty acids and olive oil, can help to reduce triglycerides. And a diet rich in soluble fiber, which is often found in legumes and some fruits and vegetables, helps to decrease LDL cholesterol levels. Sardines are an awesome source of omega-3 fatty acids, along with calcium and niacin. You can prepare fresh ones on the grill, or canned sardines work great in salads or sandwiches. Mackerel is another excellent source of omega-3s, and is full of selenium, which is an antioxidant mineral which may help protect the body from heart disease and cancer. A great way to get omega-3s on the go is by grabbing a handful of walnuts for an afternoon snack. Add some to your green salad, or give chicken salad a nutrition boost by adding ground walnuts. Kidney beans are an affordable source of high fiber, are low fat, and have no cholesterol. Add them to salads and chili, as they truly are almost a perfect health food. Since canned varieties tend to be higher in sodium, try to use the dried varieties whenever possible. Whole-grain barley is rich in soluble fiber and insoluble fiber, which is good for combating constipation. It's also a good protein source and has a good supply of iron and minerals. Choose whole-grain barley cereals, or substitute whole-grain barley for rice and pasta side dishes once a week. Oatmeal is a great way to boost your fiber content early in the morning, and it also has a low glycemic index, which helps to provide lasting energy stave off hunger. Choose rolled oats, and add some raisins, apples, and honey for flavor. Instant oatmeal isn't a healthy option as it's usually loaded with sugar. Superfoods that Fight Cancer As the nation's second most deadly disease, cancer brings with it several risk factors. Therefore, it's logical that we take a good look at the foods we're eating, and start introducing nutrient-rich foods that are known to help reduce the cancer risk. A diet rich in fiber, vegetables, and fruits, including juices made from 100 percent fruit juice, can make a big difference in your cancer risk. Foods rich in phytochemicals which are found in beans and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and kale are strong choices. So are dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, romaine lettuce, and collard greens, which are packed with fiber, lutein, and carotenoids - all cancer-fighting substances. Focus on choosing foods that have abundant amounts of vitamins C, E, and A, all antioxidants themselves. These help protect you from cancer by preventing the growth of free radicals in your body. Tomatoes are an awesome cancer-fighting superfood. Not only do tomatoes contain lycopene, the antioxidant phytochemical that also helps prevent heart disease, but they're a good source of vitamins A, C, and E, all which do battle against cancer-causing free radicals. Add them to your salad or use as a topping on your homemade pizza. They're also a great way of adding some zest to your favorite sandwich. Watermelon is also stuffed full of antioxidants, and includes about 80 percent of your daily vitamin C requirement. It is also a great source of vitamin A, or beta carotene. And like tomatoes, it also contains lycopene. Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable, which help reduce the risk of colon and rectal cancer. Plus cabbage is rich in fiber and has almost 50 percent of daily requirement of vitamin C, making it a well-rounded superfood with cancer- fighting power. Carrots are also a wonderful source of fiber and beta carotene, and they have about three times the daily requirement of vitamin A. Did you know that one-quarter cup of kidney beans has the same amount of fiber and protein as two ounces of red meat? Whole wheat pasta is also a good source of fiber, and broccoli will tip the daily scales for your daily vitamin A and C needs. Toss them all together with your favorite low-fat Italian dressing for a simple dinner of cancer-fighting proportions. Strawberries and blueberries are rich in vitamin C and fiber. They're quick and simple finger food, and easily be added to your favorite whole grain cereal oatmeal, or low-fat yogurt. Superfoods for Conquering the Pain of Arthritis With some thought and planning, it's easy to make these nutrient-dense foods part of your daily diet. With choices from virtually every food group, you'll soon be well on your way to arming yourself to battle the pain of arthritis and begin to manage it from the inside out. Salmon is among the richest sources of healthy fats, making it an ideal source of omega-3 fatty acids. In addition, salmon contains calcium, vitamin D, and folate. Besides helping with arthritis, eating salmon may protect the cardiovascular system by preventing blood clots, repairing artery damage, raising levels of good cholesterol, and lowering blood pressure. Commonly referred to as one of nature's 'perfect foods,' bananas are perhaps best known for packing potassium, but they're also good sources of arthritis-fighting vitamin B6, folate, and vitamin C. They're easy for your body to digest, and since they're a great source of soluble fiber, they are an important player in your weight loss efforts, because you fell full after eating one without consuming a large number of calories. If you are in need of vitamin C but aren't a big fan of citrus fruits, reach for a green pepper. A single green pepper contains 176 percent of your daily needs for vitamin C -- and colorful red and yellow varieties have more than double that amount. That makes them richer in C than citrus fruits, but sweet peppers are also excellent sources of vitamin B6 and folate. Vitamin D is a tough one to come by in foods, but shrimp fills that bill, since they have about 30 percent of the daily recommended amount in about three ounces - much more than a cup of milk. Shrimp also contains omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin C, along with other nutrients essential for general health, including iron and vitamin B12. Hard or soft, fresh or ripened, cheese in all its variety is an excellent source of calcium for bones, and protein for muscles and other joint-supporting tissues. Cheese can be easily sliced to put on a cracker or a sandwich, grated into your favorite recipe, or eaten alongside an apple or pear for a fresh, quick snack. Green tea contains hundreds of powerful antioxidant chemicals called polyphenols and has been cited for helping prevent problems ranging from cancer to heart disease. But studies also suggest green tea may help prevent or ease symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Superfoods to Fend of Alzheimer's disease Alzheimer's disease is a progressive brain disorder that gradually destroys memory and the ability to think and reason. Recent estimates show approximately 4 million people in the U.S. have dementia, most with Alzheimer's disease. By 2050, that number could be as high as 16 million. However, by making some simple adjustments in your diet to include foods high in folate, you can help reduce your risk. According to research, older adults whose diets were high in folate reduced their risk of Alzheimer's disease by half compared with those whose diets contain less than the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA Folate has also been shown to lower blood levels of homocysteine, a risk factor for heart disease. High homocysteine levels, as well as decreased folate and vitamin B-12 levels, have also been associated with stroke and Alzheimer's disease. A healthy, well-balanced diet is your best option to get the folate you need. Be sure it includes at least five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables each day. Foods rich in folate include oranges and bananas, dark leafy green vegetables, asparagus, broccoli, liver, and many types of beans and peas, including lima, lentil and garbanzo, as well as fortified breads and cereals. The antioxidants in apples could help protect the brain from the type of damage that triggers Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, according to recent research. But it's estimated that on average Americans only eat approximately one-seventh of an apple per day, nowhere near enough. Blueberries are an awesome food choice as well to arm your body to combat declining mental capacities. It's also imperative to choose unsaturated fats so your circulatory system stays healthy. Healthy blood flow and blood vessels lessen the chance of brain damage due to strokes or compromised circulation. Superfoods for a Super Long Life Recent research shows that specific chemicals in foods -- such as sulforaphane, a phytochemical in broccoli -- work with your genes to ratchet up your body's natural defense systems, helping to inactivate toxins and free radicals before they can do the damage that leads to cancer, cardiovascular disease, and even premature aging. And the hope for the future is to be able to tell someone what diseases or maladies they are might be genetically predispositioned to early on, so their diets can be focused accordingly. We'll know which ones to add, which ones to avoid, and be able to take a proactive role in preventing or deterring a genetic disease. In the meantime, many foods have been determined to pack a punch to the aging process. Lycopene, the pigment that makes tomatoes red, also appears to reduce risk for cardiovascular disease, some cancers, and macular degeneration. It's also been associated in greater self-sufficiency in elderly adults. While fresh tomatoes have a good hit of lycopene, the most absorbable forms are found in cooked tomato products, such as spaghetti sauce and soup and prepared salsas. Pink grapefruit, guava, red bell peppers, and watermelon are also rich in lycopene. Eating at least two cups of orange fruits like sweet potatoes, squash and carrots boosts intake of beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A, essential for healthy skin and eyes, and which may also reduce the risk of some cancers, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis. Lutein and lycopene, also found in orange produce, also help reduce the risk of macular degeneration and may protect skin from sun damage and even reduce wrinkling as well. Mangos and cantaloupes are also beta-carotene endowed. And if you don't do anything else to change your diet, eat your dark leafy greens. They have been showed to significantly reduce your risk for heart disease and may also save your eyesight. Dietary guidelines advise at least three cups of greens a week. Frozen or bagged is as good as fresh. Don't forget the mental aging process either. The heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids have also recently been shown to keep your brain sharp. A recent study found that a higher intake of fatty fish significantly reduced mental decline. If fresh fish isn't an option, go for canned tuna, salmon, and sardines. Superfoods for Healthy Hair We've all learned through the years that a well-balanced diet is healthy for our body and critical for optimal health and performance. Our hair is no different A mixture of protein, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and iron are all required for healthy, strong hair. Good hair nutrition begins with getting enough protein, which is the building block of your hair. Then you need complex carbohydrates to help assemble the proteins for hair growth. Other important vitamins and minerals include B complex, which is associated with energy production and building good hair and skin issues, folic acid, B12, and zinc. Hair follicles can have low energy levels just like we do. Therefore, it's very important that you eat a high protein mean at the start of each day. Consider the following food choices for breakfast and the other daily meals in order to give you hair the healthiest opportunity to grow and thrive. If you don't have high cholesterol, try eating red meat twice per week. It has the protein your hair needs, but also is full of B vitamins, iron and zinc, which are all important for healthy hair. Bacon is another great choice as it's also full of B vitamins, zinc and protein, but since it's also high calorie, it's not the best choice if you're also trying to lose weight. Eggs and egg whites are another great protein option, especially for vegetarians or those who cannot eat red meat or bacon due to dietary restrictions. Salmon is another great protein choice, and works great for breakfast, lunch or dinner. You'll find it's also full of B vitamins, including B12, and other vitamins and minerals. Just be sure to keep in mind that you should also have complex carbohydrates, which feed you energy over a longer period of time than refined carbohydrates, with your protein source at meals. Brown short-grain rice is an ideal form. It's also a good source of B vitamins and some fiber. Whole grain choices complement your protein consumption by helping organize the proteins for the hair to utilize for optimal growth and health. Superfoods that Fight Depression We've all had the blues once in while. But when they happen on a more frequent basis, it becomes cause for concern. But there are ways to adjust your diet to help stabilize your mood. It's imperative to eat meals at regular intervals in order to keep your serotonin levels in check, a chemical in the brain that has a calming effect. Good nutrition is your best defense for managing depression. Carbohydrates are linked to serotonin production and lack of carbohydrates may cause changes in your mood. Here are more food ideas to help you combat depression and kick those blues. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, salmon and mackerel are always a great choice for dinner. Omega-3 fatty acids also help prevent heart disease and stroke and may help prevent some cancers. Plus, salmon contains selenium, an important antioxidant mineral. Be sure to choose wild salmon at the grocery store or local fish market, since it contains more omegas than farmed, or Atlantic, salmon. A recent study indicated that people who suffer from depression also have lower levels of the antioxidant vitamin E. So, though oil is high in fat and should be consumed in strict moderation, canola oil is rich in vitamin E. It's a healthier alternative for sautéing foods and vegetables. Dark green vegetables like spinach and peas are high in folate, a key player in the production of serotonin. They're also an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber. Fresh is always the best option, as canned versions tend to have lower nutritional value. Legumes are also high in folate and protein and low in fat, and are an excellent option for those who are vegetarian or meat-restricted diets. Chickpeas are rich in fiber, iron, and vitamin E. For a simple snack, combine a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas with some minced garlic, fresh lemon juice, and olive or canola oil in your blender or food processor. Add salt, pepper and other spices as you wish. The resulting hummus makes a healthy and hearty vegetable dip. Chicken and turkey are both rich in vitamin B6, which plays a role in serotonin production in the body. They are both a good source of selenium and other vitamins and minerals, too. And please, if you've been dealing with the symptoms of depression for a while, please contact your doctor to discuss available treatment options and medication that may be available to you. Superfoods for Super Sex Every aspect of a food - its color, shape, scent and texture - can make it sexy. In addition, certain foods contain substances that make us feel good by interacting with our hormones or stimulating our brain. Consider incorporating some of the following into your next candlelight dinner to help you and your partner get in the mood. Oysters are a good source of minerals like selenium and zinc, and are also high in protein. A perfect appetizer to a beautiful meal - but be careful when purchasing, as some can have high levels of pollutants and PCB. If you're pregnant, oysters should be avoided. Chocolate has been a symbol of love and lust for centuries due to theobromine, a stimulant to the brain that creates a pleasurable effect. Chocolate also contains antioxidants that may lower cancer and heart disease risk. However, chocolate is also very high in fat, so self-restraint should be exercised. Dark chocolates are usually lower in sugar, but higher in antioxidants and theobromine than milk chocolate. Kiwi and papaya are colorful fruits have an alluring and interesting aspect about them that can help flip the switch. Loaded with antioxidants, tropical fruits help fend off heart disease and cancers. Kiwi actually has more vitamin C in it than an orange, and papaya is rich in beta-carotene and high in fiber. Honey was thought in medieval times to sweeten the marriage when mixed into a drink. Bear in mind, however, it's still pretty high in sugar, so use sparingly. Asparagus can also help get your partner in the mood. It's one of the few good sources of vitamin E and is a natural diuretic. Steaming is the best way to prepare them without losing nutrients, and they can easily be eaten by hand. A good cup of coffee or tea after that romantic dinner stimulates the release of epinephrine, which contributes to stimulation in the body. It can also be found in dark chocolate. Just don't consume too much caffeine before bed, unless you plan on being awake all night long!
Superfoods to Help you Manage Your Monthly Menstruation Every month it's the same thing. You're bloated, tired, cranky, fighting cravings, and trying to get rid of headaches. You wish you could be like your friend or your sister, who seems to just breeze right through her cycle with little or no problem. Take a look at your diet and see if these superfoods are a part of it. If they're not, they can easily become a part of a well-balanced healthy diet that might just make your cycles to come simple to manage. Bananas have long been well known as nature's 'perfect food.' They're loaded with potassium, zinc, iron, folic acid, calcium, B6 and soluble fiber. They're good for digestion, menstrual difficulties and essential for athletes because they can quickly replace what your body loses during your cycle or when you're exercising frequently. And, if you suffer from diarrhea during your monthly cycle, they are the idea treatment when eaten in conjunction with apples, rice and dry toast - more commonly known as the BRAT treatment. Bee pollen has been popularized by famous athletes who take it regularly for strength and endurance. It has been used successfully to treat a variety of ailments including allergies, asthma, menstrual irregularities, constipation, diarrhea, anemia, low energy, cancer, rheumatism, arthritis and toxic conditions. It can, however, provoke allergic reactions in those who are taking it for the first time, so it's important to start with small amounts and slowly build up to a teaspoon or so per day. Bee pollen can be taken in powder, capsule or tablet form--or in raw unprocessed honey mixed with cereal or spread on toast. Make sure you're getting plenty of iron-rich foods in your diet. Leafy green vegetables, beans, shellfish, red meat, poultry, soy foods are great choices. Try teaming these with citrus foods containing vitamin C, which will promote iron absorption. Steer clear of alcohol, caffeinated beverages, or salty foods, and as always, make sure you choose unsaturated fats. These will only exacerbate that bloated feeling you suffer through each month. Superfoods To Help You Manage Menopause Including these superfoods in your diet can help to alleviate symptoms associated with menopause, maintain your memory power, and prevent osteoporosis. These superfoods are delicious to eat, easy to prepare, and super-good for you! Tofu is an alternative protein source to meat. Along with other soy products, tofu can be beneficial for lowering your cholesterol and preventing heart disease. Soy products like tofu may also decrease the side effects associated with menopause, including the dreaded 'hot flashes.' Navy beans are loaded with fiber, which can help reduce your risk of color and other forms of cancer, as well as relieve the symptoms associated with diverticulosis. Women need 30 grams of fiber each day, so include them in your favorite chili recipe, or try them as a side dish alternative to pasta or rice. Packed with calcium, yogurt can help prevent osteoporosis. It has also been shown to boost your immunity and help with weight management. Additionally, yogurt contains high amounts of good bacteria such as acidophilus, which helps to prevent yeast infections and urinary tract infections. It also contains protein, which may help your body battle the fatigue and weariness that follows a hot flash. As we age, we sometimes find ourselves forgetting things or feeling as if we're in a fog. If you find this to be the case, grab for the blueberries the next time you're shopping for groceries. Recent studies show they may actually help with short-term memory loss. They're also loaded with antioxidants. Pair them with some low-fat plain yogurt for a top-notch way to protect both your brain and your bones. Avocado also contains antioxidants, such as vitamin E, which can help to protect your vision and skin, which can suffer as we age. The monounsaturated fat found in avocados has also been shown to improve the condition of hair and skin. They're great on a turkey sandwich, or mash up a few ripe ones and whip up a quick side of guacamole to have with some low-fat baked tortilla chips. And as always, it's important to make low-fat and low-sodium choices when menu planning. These do nothing to help alleviate the symptoms brought on by menopause, and are unhealthy options at any age, but especially as we grow older. Avoid smoking or alcohol, and get plenty of rest, and you'll soon find your menopause symptoms are easily managed. Menopause is a tough transition for many women. It usually begins to occur in late middle age when the efficiency of the ovaries begins to decline. Problems associated with the related estrogen deficiency that occur may include arteriosclerosis, osteoporosis, decreased skin elasticity and changes in the sympathetic nervous system that result in "hot flashes." However, by including the following superfoods in your everyday diet, symptoms can be alleviated, memory power maintained, and osteoporosis prevented. Tofu is an excellent protein alternative for meat and it can be very helpful in lowering your cholesterol and preventing heart disease. Tofu and other soy products may also help lessen the side effects of menopause, such as hot flashes. Recent studies have shown that fiber can help reduce your risk of colon and other types of cancer, as well as diverticulosis. Women need approximately 30 grams of fiber each day. Navy beans come in at 19 grams, so they're a wonderful choice. Use them in your chili or soups, or try them for a nutritious side dish instead of the usual pasta or rice. As we grow older, we may find that our memory begins to slip a bit, and we find ourselves forgetting things. By eating blueberries, we might actually be able to curb that short-term memory loss. Toss them on top of some plain yogurt for a great breakfast or snack choice. Yogurt, which is loaded with calcium, can help prevent osteoporosis. As an added bonus, it can help strengthen your immunity and support your weight loss efforts. Choose yogurts that contain high amounts of good bacteria such as acidophilus, which can also help prevent yeast and urinary tract infections. Avocados are high in antioxidants such as vitamin E, which is important element to protecting both your vision and skin. They also contain monosaturated fats, which have been shown to improve the condition of hair and skin, which can suffer when a woman goes through menopause. Chunk up a nice ripe avocado for a delicious guacamole dip, or even try them on your sandwich with a tomato. Try also to avoid drinking a large amount of caffeinated drinks each day, and boost your body's vitamin C absorption by teaming an orange with an iron-rich food like whole-grain oatmeal. Superfoods for a Healthy Prostate The prostate gland has a reputation as a health destroyer. Hypertrophy of the prostate gland, which affects nearly every elderly male, strangles the urethra. This troublesome condition makes urination difficult and increases the risk of bladder infections and kidney damage. However, there are many superfoods that may already be a part of your everyday diet that can help thwart the onset of prostate problems. Tomatoes, watermelons, red grapefruit, papaya and red berries are all great sources of lycopene, a health-promoting plant pigment known for its cancer-battling ability. It also promotes a strong immune system and helps support prostate health in men. Though fresh are always an excellent option, the lycopene in cooked tomatoes is actually absorbed more readily by the body. It's also your ally in the battle against heart disease. Quercetin, a flavonoid that forms the backbone of many other flavonoids, may have positive effects in combating or helping to prevent many different types of cancer, including prostate. It also acts as an antihistamine and has anti-inflammatory properties, which may be helpful in relieving the pain of an inflamed prostate. Foods rich in quercetin include apples, black & green tea, onions, raspberries, red wine, red grapes, citrus fruits, broccoli & other leafy green vegetables, and cherries. Quercetin can also be found in honey and sap, including the type from eucalyptus and tea tree flowers. It's important to remember to get a healthy balance of foods to keep your prostate healthy, including antioxidants, vitamin E from nuts and seeds, and drink plenty of clear fluids to help flush the bladder. Try to avoid caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods. Keeping your weight in check will also help maintain a healthy prostate. Superfoods for Erectile Dysfunction There are many underlying physical and psychological causes of erectile dysfunction. Reduced blood flows to the penis and nerve damage are two of the most common physical causes. Underlying conditions associated with erectile dysfunction include vascular disease, diabetes, drugs, hormone disorders, neurological disorders, pelvic trauma, surgery, radiation therapy, a venous leak or psychological conditions. A lack of zinc can interfere with the maturation of the reproductive organs, as well as interfere with reproductive functions and processes. It can contribute to impotence. Chronic diarrhea, poor appetite, and thus significant weight loss of the unhealthy and undesirable sort, hair loss, and the slow healing of wounds are all associated with zinc deficiencies. So, too, are open sores on the skin and in the mouth, strange tastes in the mouth, and inefficient or reduced mental functioning, especially cognitive processes. So be sure to include lots of zinc-rich foods in your diet, including red meat, fortified cereals, oysters, almonds, peanuts, chickpeas, soy foods, and dairy products. Zinc is vital to many internal processes and supports immune function, reproduction, and the nervous system. It's also imperative to include other vitamins and minerals in your diet, as they may also help improve erectile dysfunction. Be sure to eat whole, fresh, unrefined, and unprocessed foods. Include fruits (lots of richly pigmented berries to support vascular integrity), vegetables, whole grains, soy, beans, seeds, nuts, olive oil, and cold-water fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, halibut, and mackerel. Avoid sugar, dairy products, refined foods, fried foods, junk foods, and caffeine. If you've found in the past that you're sensitive to certain kinds of foods, eliminate them from your diet, ass it could be a contributing factor to erectile dysfunction. Also be sure to drink plenty of water. A good rule of thumb is to drink 50% of your body weight in ounces of water daily (e.g., if you weigh 150 lbs, drink 75 oz of water daily). Try to avoid alcohol and smoking, as they can have a negative impact on erectile function. Erectile dysfunction may be chronic or recurring, or it may occur as a single isolated incident. In the past, it was assumed that impotence was primarily a psychological problem, but many therapists and physicians today believe the majority of all cases of impotence have some physical basis. Superfoods for Healthy and Natural Conception In both the female and male body, the balance of hormones has to be just right for conception to occur and for pregnancy to proceed. Nutrients that are in excess or that are in depletion can throw off balance and disrupt the pregnancy process. When we can choose whole foods for our diet, we are increasing our chances of obtaining the most nutrients we need. Whole foods include fruits, fresh vegetables, unrefined grains, beans, nuts, seeds, eggs, and small whole fish. It's important to make sure you're choosing healthy whole superfoods that have an abundant supply of each of the following vitamins and minerals. B-complex vitamins need to be replenished all the time, as they are water soluble and passed out of the body with urination. Vitamins B6 and B12 are particularly important for fertility and hormonal function. Fortified cereals, fortified soy-based meat substitutes, baked potatoes with skin, bananas, light-meat chicken and turkey, eggs, and spinach are all great sources of B6 and beef, clams, mussels, crabs, salmon, poultry, soybeans, and fortified foods have healthy amounts of B12. Folic Acid, also known as folate, is essential for the production of genetic material in conjunction with vitamin B12. The body cannot store Folic Acid so it must be replenished regularly. It is found naturally in dark green leafy vegetables, apricots, avocados, carrots, egg yolks, liver, melons, whole grains, and yeast's. Zinc is an essential component of genetic material and plays an important role in the fertility of men (affecting sperm count) and women. Zinc is vital to healthy cell division, so healthy zinc levels are essential at conception. Zinc occurs naturally in oats, rye, almonds, pumpkin seeds and peas. Superfoods to Fight Flatulence There are many causes for flatulence, such as overeating, eating too quickly, excessive consumption of refined carbohydrates or artificial sweeteners, food allergies and intolerance, a deficiency of vitamin B, excessive consumption of alcohol, emotional stress and parasites. One of the most common causes can be lactose, found in dairy products such as milk and cheese. Many other healthy foods can also cause gas, such as cabbage, beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, onions, cauliflower, whole wheat flour, radishes, bananas and apricots. Luckily, with some adjustments in our food choices and eating habits, the chances of this embarrassing malady can be greatly lessened or eliminated. Do not overeat, and chew food slowly. Try to identify if it is a certain food causing the problem and eliminate it from your diet. Try chewing a sprig of parsley after meals. Try lemon juice or apple cider vinegar in water with your meal. You might also want to try sipping your drinks slowly through a straw in an effort to minimize the amount of air you take in during drinking. Vitamin B complex, especially B3 (niacin) rich foods like light-meat chicken, tuna, salmon, turkey, enriched flour, peanuts, and fortified cereals can be helpful as they aid in the digestive process and in converting food to energy. Yogurts that have acidophilus and peppermint oil in water sipped with the meal can also help with the digestive process. If the problem persists, you may want to try and eat proteins and carbohydrates in different meals. In addition, peppermint and fennel-based teas are useful for occasional indigestion, particularly when there is flatulence and a sensation of fullness. Ginger has been shown to promote the flow of digestive juices, a normal process that supports the digestive system. Superfoods that Battle the Herpes Virus Herpes outbreaks can be embarrassing, not to mention uncomfortable and painful. And sometimes, prescription medication doesn't fend off the flare ups. But with some consideration and creativity, we can add superfoods to our diet that will help our body fight off the herpes virus. Cranberries may help to fight infection by the herpes virus, one of the most common viral infections in humans, according to recent research. Cranberries are already known to prevent urinary tract infections by reducing the power of certain E. coli bacteria to stick to the urinary tract walls, and recent studies suggest that cranberries also significantly suppressed herpes type 2 by preventing the virus to attach to and penetrate the walls. HSV-2 or herpes simplex infection causes cold sores and genital herpes. Broccoli fights cancer, heart disease and other serious conditions. It's high in vitamin C, which helps strengthen the immune system. Broccoli may also inhibit the herpes simplex virus from reproducing. Kelp is a stellar, nutrient-dense sea vegetable that can also help eliminate herpes outbreaks. It is also known as Laminaria and it works as a blood purifier. Other superfoods that can help strengthen the body's immune system to fight the herpes simplex virus are those that are high in vitamins B, C, and E, as well as lysine, an amino acid. Fish, bean sprouts, fruits, vegetables, and whole grain complex carbohydrates are all great sources for these. Try to avoid refined sugars, stimulants like caffeine, alcohol, excessive sun exposure, and smoking, as these all have the ability to deplete energy stores which can in turn compromise your immunity and your ability to fend off infections. Stress is a major cause for herpes outbreaks, so do whatever possible to minimize stress in your life - get plenty of sleep, take time out to relax, and get plenty of fresh air and exercise. Superfoods for Hives Relief Hives are also known as urticaria, and they cause raised white or yellow, itchy wheals surrounded by an area of red inflammation. It is an allergic reaction by the skin, causing the body to release histamine into the effected tissues. The size of the wheal itself varies, with the larger ones sometimes joining together in places to form an irregular rash. They usually cause severe irritation and usually appear on the limbs and trunk, but can appear anywhere. Acute urticaria develops rapidly and usually lasts for just as few hours - it is characterized by a feverish, faint feeling and occasionally nausea. Chronic urticaria can persist for a long period of time. Common triggers include drugs such as aspirin and penicillin, food additives, food sensitivity such as milk eggs, shellfish and nuts, environmental factors such as exposure to cold, heat or sunlight, stress and anxiety, and bites and stings. All fruits and vegetables contain some amount of vitamin C. Foods that tend to be the highest sources of vitamin C include green peppers, citrus fruits and juices, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, turnip greens and other leafy greens, sweet and white potatoes, cantaloupe and spinach. Vitamin C helps promote a healthy immune system and releases antihistamines. Green tea is also reported to have an antihistamine effect. Vitamin B12 has been reported to reduce the severity of acute hives as well as to reduce the frequency and severity of outbreaks in chronic cases. Vitamin B12 is found in animal foods, fortified foods, and some fermented foods. Some sources of B12 are eggs, meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, and foods made from soy. Salmon and low-fat milk are particularly good sources. If you suffer from food allergies, it's important to keep a detailed food diary. Note what you ate when you have hives breakouts, as it may be just a simple matter of eliminating a food or several foods from your diet in order to avoid suffering from hives. Cranberries- The Superfood to Stave Off Bladder Infections Cranberries may help to fight off urinary tract infections (UTIs). They reduce the power of certain E. coli bacteria to adhere to and penetrate the walls of the bladder. In about half the cases of UTIs, the E. coli responsible have special little hairy tips called P fimbria. The bacteria use their fimbria to attach themselves to the bladder so that they can multiply and cause an infection. That's where cranberries -- which contain a group of chemicals called proanthocyanidins -- come in. They bind to the P fimbria of the E. coli and hinder them so they are unable to sticking to the walls of the bladder. As a result, the E. coli is flushed out in the urine instead of causing an infection. And because cranberries remove rather than kill the bacteria, there's less of a chance for the E. coli to become resistant. It's imperative that those who are prone to UTIs eat cranberries or drink cranberry juice on a daily basis, because once the bacteria are able to adhere to the wall, the infection sets in, and the cranberries can't help at that point. It's probably best to use cranberry products twice a day if you are prone, as the effects of the cranberries wear off after about 10 hours. You should also be diligent about drinking lots of fluids in order to flush the bladder out on a regular basis. Citrus fruits and fresh vegetables high in vitamin C are also good, as they help boost the body's immunity and germ-fighting abilities. Coffee, tea and other caffeinated beverages should be avoided, as well as alcohol. Be sure to complement your diet with plenty of foods rich in vitamin B, such as fortified cereals, lean proteins, asparagus, almonds and bananas, as they all assist the body in the digestive process and converting food to energy, which your body will need if it's working to fend off a UTI. Superfoods for Getting Over Food Poisoning Food poisoning is an all-encompassing term involving the consumption of contaminated food, stomach flu, stress, drug interactions, nutrient deficiencies or their excess. It can come on rather suddenly after eating; diarrhea or vomiting can begin 30 minutes to one hour after eating foods that are chemically poisonous; within one to 12 hours with bacterial poisoning, and 12 to 48 hours with viral or salmonella poisoning. Food poisoning can be serious and a medical professional should be contacted especially if it is accompanied by a difficulty in swallowing, speaking or breathing; if there is a fever of 100 degrees F; if the person can't even hold down liquids; if there is severe diarrhea of more than two days. The best remedy is to curtail eating until all the symptoms have subsided and the toxins have had the chance to exit your system. Drink plenty of fluids - vitamin C and blackberry and peppermint teas can be taken then to strengthen the stomach, along with yogurt that contains acidophilus to recolonize the lost flora in the bowel. Diluted sweetened drinks can also be consumed to replace the body's lost fluid and electrolytes, and the BRAT diet (bananas, apples, rice and toast) can also be helpful in getting the toxins cleared from the body. As a precaution against food poisoning, great care should be taken when preparing foods. Avoid over-handling foods, and when in doubt, throw it out - don't take a risk with leftovers if you're just not sure how long they've been in your refrigerator. Mint, lemon, raspberry, chamomile or teas might also be helpful in easing the stomach pain associated with food poisoning or stomach cramping. Ginger tea is also good for settling an unsettled stomach, and promotes good digestion. Try to get plenty of rest as food poisoning can be an exhausting and nutrient-depleting chore for your body. Once you're feeling better, be sure to eat a well-balanced healthy diet that includes foods rich in iron, zinc, vitamin C to help your body get back to its old self again. Superfoods to Alleviate the Symptoms of Gout Gout, also called gouty arthritis, is caused by an accumulation of uric acid in the blood. The disease usually appears in midlife and primarily in males. It can be hereditary or the secondary to some other disease process. The main symptom of gout is severe pain and swelling in joints, but gout usually effects one joint at a time, then may move from one joint to affect another joint. The kidneys filter uric acid out of the body. But with gout, the body makes excess uric acid or the kidneys fail to function properly, failing to rid the body of the uric acid and it begins to build up in the joints in the form of uric acid crystals. This condition is very painful. The accumulation of these crystals causes severe pain and swelling in the joint. A common site for gout is the big toe joint. But gout can occur in an ankle, knee, elbow, wrist or finger. Typically the onset occurs at night with excruciating pain, swelling and inflammation. Rich food and alcohol may contribute to the rise in uric acid and the increase in the severity of the symptoms. Luckily, there are several superfoods that are probably already a part of your everyday diet that help alleviate the symptoms of gout. The pectin and vitamin C in apples can help alleviate gout. The vitamin C helps strengthen the immune system and the pectin helps the joints remain flexible. Onions protect the circulatory system and are a powerful antibiotic. They're good for urinary infections, and their diuretic activity helps with arthritis, rheumatism and gout. Beets are richer than spinach in iron and other minerals, and the greens are helpful in cases of gout since the iron helps oxygenate and purify the bloodstream. It's also important to drink plenty of water to help keep the kidneys filtrating properly and to prevent the formation of kidney stones. Avoid foods that are high in purines, as they account for approximately 50 percent of the uric acid produced in the body. Organ meats like liver, sweetbreads, brains, kidney, meat gravies, meat extracts, scallops, wild game, mackerel, herring, anchovies and sardines and cauliflower are all high in purines. Superfoods for a Super Pregnancy Pregnancy is a wonderful time in your life. It can also be very taxing and exhausting for your body, mind and spirit at times. But by nourishing your body with these great superfoods, you'll be energized, strong, and sharp, and ready to welcome your pending bundle of joy healthy and happy. Beans and legumes are good sources of protein, fiber, calcium, iron, thiamine, and niacin. Make a big batch of beans when you have time and freeze them in small containers. Be careful with canned varieties, as they're usually higher in sodium and their nutritional value is a bit lower since they're processed using high temperatures. Soybeans provide more protein than any other bean or legume, making them a staple either the vegan or non-vegan. Soybeans are rich in many nutrients, including calcium and iron. Include plenty of whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, millet, and oats as they're a great source of fiber, minerals, protein and B complex vitamins. Buy the least processed grain types you can find, since many of the commercially prepared grains have had the nutritional and beneficial germ and bran removed. Dark green leafy vegetables like kale, collard greens, watercress, and spinach are especially important while pregnant or lactating because they supply so many vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron. Dark leafy green vegetables also are rich in phytochemicals like beta carotene and lutein which protect against many forms of cancer. Vegetables from the cabbage family such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage are wonderful sources of vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium. They are also rich in phytochemicals that have anticancer properties. Dark green leafy vegetables and cabbage family vegetables provide important nutrients that help to promote a plentiful milk supply for your baby. Nuts and seeds are good sources of fiber, protein, minerals, and essential fatty acids. Be sure to eat flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds and walnuts to get omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for baby's brain and nervous system development as well as your own health. Nuts and seeds can be eaten raw or toasted, and work great in a salad made of dark leafy green vegetables. Lastly, it's important to drink plenty of water, and make sure you're getting plenty of rest during this time. A well-hydrated, well-rested body recovers more quickly, and ready to take on the challenges that life with a newborn baby brings with it. Nutritional Hope for Schizophrenic Patients Schizophrenia is a difficult malady, both to diagnose and to treat. It's defined as any of a group of psychotic disorders usually characterized by withdrawal from reality, illogical patterns of thinking, delusions, and hallucinations, and accompanied in varying degrees by other emotional, behavioral, or intellectual disturbances. Recent research suggests that those who suffer from schizophrenia could benefit from incorporating more B3 (niacin), essential fatty acids (EFAs) and eating more whole grain carbohydrates to help level out blood sugar levels so that bouts with hypoglycemia are lessened. Food sources high in niacin include light-meat chicken, tuna, salmon, turkey, enriched flour, peanuts, and fortified cereals. Niacin is an important player in the digestion process, and it aids in converting food into energy. Therefore, it also plays a role in the essential fatty acid metabolism of the brain, processes of which are disrupted in schizophrenia. Because these processes are disrupted in the brain, it's imperative that essential fatty acids are a base in the diet of a schizophrenic patient. Since they can't be synthesized by the body, they must be obtained from food. Look to fish, shellfish, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, dark green leafy vegetables and walnuts for EFAs. Essential fatty acids play a part in many metabolic processes, and there is evidence to suggest that low levels of essential fatty acids, or the wrong balance of types among the essential fatty acids, may be a factor in a number of illnesses, including schizophrenia. Some schizophrenic patients also suffer from bouts of hypoglycemia, which can be greatly helped by choosing healthy, whole grain carbohydrates such as whole grain breads and pastas, as they help the body maintain a steady blood glucose level. Other research shows that some schizophrenic patients suffer from food allergies that greatly affect their thinking and behavior. For this reason, keeping a detailed food journal and paying close attention to moods and thinking patterns after eating is imperative. Research has also shown that some schizophrenic patients suffer from high levels of copper, an essential metallic element that can adversely affect the brain in high doses. Vitamin B6, found in bananas, turkey and spinach, as well as zinc, found in red meats, peanuts, chickpeas and almonds, can help remove excess copper from the body. Superfoods for Sinusitis Relief Sinusitis simply means inflammation of the sinuses, but this gives little indication of the misery and pain this condition can cause. Chronic sinusitis, sinusitis that persists for at least 3 weeks, affects an estimated 32 million people in the United States and Americans spend millions of dollars each year for medications that promise relief from their sinus symptoms. Symptoms of sinusitis can include fever, weakness and tiredness, a cough that may be more severe at night, and runny nose or nasal congestion. In addition, drainage of mucus from the sinuses down the back of the throat (postnasal drip) can cause a sore throat. However, by introducing a few of the superfoods from certain vitamin groups, we can lessen our chances of becoming afflicted with this painful and bothersome malady. Citrus fruits, red berries, tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, red and green bell peppers, cabbage, and spinach are all excellent dietary sources of vitamin C, which helps promote a healthy immune system. The B-complex vitamins are actually a group of eight vitamins, which include thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3) and folic acid (B9), and are essential for a healthy nervous system, processing carbohydrates for energy, and the creation of red blood cells. Organ meats, beans, whole grain cereals, oatmeal, potatoes, salmon, bananas, and spinach are only a few of the many food members of the vitamin B group with high levels of this group of nutrients. Vegetable oils, nuts, green leafy vegetables, and fortified cereals are common food sources of vitamin E, an antioxidant that acts to protect your cells against the effects of free radicals, which are potentially damaging by-products of energy metabolism. Free radicals can damage cells and may contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Vitamin E has also been shown to play a positive role in immune function. Inhaling steam from a vaporizer or a hot cup of water can soothe inflamed sinus cavities. Another treatment is saline nasal spray, which can be purchased in a pharmacy. A hot water bottle; hot, wet compresses; or an electric heating pad applied over the inflamed area also can be comforting. A person susceptible to sinus disorders, particularly one who also is allergic, should avoid cigarette smoke and other air pollutants. Inflammation in the nose caused by allergies predisposes a patient to a strong reaction to all irritants. Drinking alcohol also causes the nasal-sinus membranes to swell. Try to avoid dairy products, as they stimulate your body to produce more mucous. Superfoods for Super Skin It's been said we are what we eat, and that sentiment definitely holds true when it comes to our skin. It's our body's biggest organ, and it deserves all the nutritional TLC we can give it. So take a look at what you've been feeding yourself, and therefore feeding your skin. One the most important components of skin health is vitamin A, and probably one of the best sources of it is low-fat dairy products. It could be said the health of our skin depends on vitamin A. Low-fat yogurt is not only high in vitamin A, but also acidophilus, the "live" bacteria that is good for intestinal health. Turns out, it may also have an impact on the skin, since it aids in digestion. Other good sources of vitamin A include cod liver oil, sweet potatoes, carrots, leafy vegetables, and fortified breakfast cereals. It's important to also make sure you're eating foods rich in antioxidants, such as blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and plums. The benefits of these foods for healthy skin are plentiful. The antioxidants and other phytochemicals in these fruits can protect the skin cells, so there is less chance for damage. This in turn guards against premature aging, and keeps skin looking younger longer. Other fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidants include artichokes, black, red, and pinto beans, prunes, and pecans. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are essential to your skin. Include salmon, walnuts, canola oil, and flax seed. EFAs keep cell membranes healthy, and allow nutrients to pass through. We also need healthy oils, which contain more than essential fatty acids. Eating good-quality oils helps keep skin lubricated and keeps it looking and feeling healthier overall. Look for oils that are cold pressed, such as olive or extra virgin oil. We only need about two tablespoons a day of healthy oils, so use wisely. Selenium plays an important role in the health of skin cells. Turn to foods like Whole-wheat bread, muffins, and cereals; turkey, tuna and brazil nuts for this important nutrient. Recent studies show that if selenium levels are high, even skin damaged by the sun may only suffer minimal, if any, damage. Choosing the whole grain versions of complex carbohydrates can have a significant effect on insulin levels. Processed and refined sugars can cause inflammation that may ultimately be linked to skin break outs. Green tea has anti-inflammatory properties, and it protects the membrane of the cell. It may even help prevent or reduce skin cancer risks. Water plays such an important role in your overall health, and it has a profound effect on your skin's health as well. Well-hydrated skin is healthy and young-looking. It also helps move the toxins out of your system so they have less chance to do damage. Superfoods for Relief from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome The main indications of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), on the other hand, are overall general physical and mental weariness. There are many different causes of tiredness. Just because you're frequently tired doesn't necessarily mean you've got CFS. The condition must persist for more than six consecutive months and include other symptoms such as memory loss, sore throat, headaches and muscle/joint pain without swelling or redness. Though there are several potential causes for CFS, the main reason for all fatigue is poor nutrition. Other causes could be faulty digestion, food allergies, obesity, sleep problems, tension or depression. Smoking, alcohol and drugs are also contributing factors. The main indications are physical and mental weariness. It can be so severe that people are unable to participate fully in normal, everyday activities. Even getting plenty of rest doesn't seem to make any difference for most sufferers. But, with basic lifestyle changes and a diet rich in whole food nutrients, almost anyone can help prevent or even reverse these symptoms. You can switch to a more wholesome diet that consists mainly of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Citrus fruits, berries, tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, red and green bell peppers, cabbage, and spinach are all full of vitamin C, which helps promote a healthy immune system. Zinc does the same. Red meat, fortified cereals, peanuts and dairy products are all good food sources of zinc. And, for protein, focus on fish high in omega-3 oils and lean poultry, since they are loaded with essential fatty acids (EFAs) which help improve circulation and oxygen uptake with proper red blood cell flexibility and function. It's imperative to get EFAs from your dietary choices, as the body cannot manufacture them. EFA deficiencies are linked to diminished mental capacities and immune function. Other things that will help include decreasing stress and getting plenty of good quality rest and regular moderate exercise. Drink lots of pure, clean water, and avoid sweets, caffeine, sodas, processed and salty foods. Set obtainable goals and think positively. Superfoods for a Spiffy Circulatory System Circulation problems can be felt in a number of ways. Some symptoms include fatigue due to poor circulatory function, which may bring on other symptoms such as dizziness and fainting. The inability to concentrate, coldness in the hands or feet, headaches, angina, and high blood pressure are also other signs there could be problems with the circulation system. There are nutritionally- dense foods we can incorporate into our diets to ensure our circulatory system is functioning at its best. If your circulation is poor, it is vital that the vitamin C content of the body is kept up, because it will help prevent hardening of the arteries and arterial ballooning. Citrus fruits, red berries, tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, red and green bell peppers, cabbage, and spinach are all great vitamin C foods sources, and it helps promote a healthy immune system and is required to help make collagen, which holds cells together, which is vital in maintaining the integrity and strength of the arteries and veins. Leafy green vegetables, almonds, hazelnuts, and vegetable oils like sunflower, canola, and soybean are all great sources of antioxidants, which are widely recognized for their ability to ward off diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Other great sources include broccoli, cabbage and kale. Nuts are high in beneficial, unsaturated fatty acids and research shows a correlation between nut consumption and a reduced incidence of ischemic heart disease. Walnuts, pecans, and hazelnuts are very high in these needed fatty acids. Fish oils as in sardines and may help to improve or reverse atherosclerosis, angina, heart attack, congestive heart failure, arrhythmias, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. Fish oils help maintain the elasticity of artery walls, prevent blood clotting, reduce blood pressure and stabilize heart rhythm. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects body tissue from damage caused by unstable substances called free radicals. Free radicals can harm cells, tissues, and organs can cause damage to the cell walls of the vessels in the circulatory system. Vitamin E is also important in the formation of red blood cells. Wheat germ, corn, nuts, seeds, olives, spinach, and asparagus are all wonderful vitamin E food sources. Superfoods to Combat Cirrhosis of the Liver Cirrhosis refers to the replacement of damaged liver cells by fibrous scar tissue which disrupts the liver's important functions. Cirrhosis occurs as a result of excessive alcohol intake (most common), common viral hepatitis, obstruction of the bile ducts, and exposure to certain drugs or toxic substances. People with cirrhosis often experience loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and weight loss, giving them an emaciated appearance. Diet alone does not contribute to the development of this liver disease. People who are well nourished, for example, but drink large amounts of alcohol, are also susceptible to alcoholic disease. Adults with cirrhosis require a balanced diet rich in protein to allow the liver cells to regenerate. However, too much protein will result in an increased amount of ammonia in the blood; too little protein can reduce healing of the liver. Doctors must carefully prescribe the correct amount of protein for a person with cirrhosis. In addition to protein, a balanced diet with adequate calories, fats, and carbohydrates can actually help the damaged liver to regenerate new liver cells. In fact, in some liver diseases, nutrition becomes an essential form of treatment. Grains and legumes are great protein sources for those who suffer from cirrhosis. Red meat should be avoided since the liver is not working to its optimal capacity and most likely will have trouble processing fats. Nuts, seeds, and soy products are also good sources of low-fat protein. Oatmeal, brown rice, whole grain breads and pastas should be part of a healthy balanced diet, as they are all whole grain carbohydrates that provide a steady supply of energy, important for your body's ability to heal. Cereals, breads, potatoes and legumes are great sources for the B-complex vitamins, which bolster metabolism, maintain healthy skin and muscle tone, enhance immune and nervous system function, promote cell growth and cell division -- including that of the red blood cells that help prevent anemia. Together, they also help combat the symptoms and causes of stress, which is important to keep in check when you're nursing your body back to health. Citrus fruits, red berries, tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, red and green bell peppers, cabbage, and spinach, are all great sources of vitamin C, which helps promote a healthy immune system. It's imperative to stay as healthy as possible during the healing process, so your body can focus on liver repair. Coupled with plenty of rest and lots of fresh water to help flush the toxins from your system, a well-balanced nutrition plan and a healthy, proactive relationship with your healthcare provider should put you well on the road to recovery. Superfoods that Get you Moving It's no wonder so many Americans suffer with constipation (4 million of us, to be exact). Our diet of meat and processed food contains little fiber. Most of us are lucky if we're getting in half of the 30 grams of fiber that we should each day. Without that bulk in our diet, it can make bowel movements practically immovable. The human digestive tract was designed for unprocessed plant foods that are loaded with dietary fiber: beans, leafy greens, fresh and dried fruits, vegetables and whole grains. High levels of dietary fiber increase both the frequency and quantity of bowel movements, decreasing the transit time of stools, as well as the absorption of toxins from the stool. Drink at least eight to twelve 8-oz. glasses of clean water per day. Hard, dry stools are a classic sign of dehydration. A good rule of thumb is to drink a glass of water when you wake up and then every hour after that. Try adding some wheat or barley grass to your daily routine. Mix two to three teaspoons of a nutrient-rich blend of dehydrated wheat and/or barley grass in water, and have another serving later in the day. These drinks have a restorative action on the intestinal tract and are especially good for constipation. As a supplement to a healthy, high-fiber diet, bran and prunes are particularly effective in relieving constipation. Whole prunes and prune juice possess good laxative effects. Eight ounces is usually an effective dose. A similar amount of aloe vera juice is also helpful. Vitamin C rich foods can help as well, as they help with food and nutrient absorption. Try parsley, broccoli, bell pepper, strawberries, oranges, lemon juice, papaya, cauliflower, kale, mustard greens, and Brussels sprouts, as they're all great sources of vitamin C. Super Solutions for Crohn's Patients When the small intestine is inflamed -- as it often is with Crohn's disease -- the intestine becomes less able to fully digest and absorb the nutrients from food. Such nutrients, as well as unabsorbed bile salts, can escape into the large intestine to varying degrees, depending on how extensively the small intestine has been injured by inflammation. This is one reason why people with Crohn's disease become malnourished, in addition to just not having much appetite. Furthermore, incompletely digested foods that travel through the large intestine interfere with water conservation, even if the colon itself is not damaged. Thus, when Crohn's disease affects the small intestine, it may cause diarrhea as well as malnutrition. Should the large intestine also be inflamed, the diarrhea may become even more extreme. People with Crohn's disease whose small intestine is affected, are prone to becoming malnourished due to loss of appetite, poor digestion and malabsorption, and the fact that a chronic disease such as Crohn's tends to increase the caloric needs of the body due to the energy the body consumes during a flare-up. Good nutrition is one of the ways the body restores and heals itself. Therefore, every effort must be made to avoid becoming malnourished. Protein is a key nutritional element in the recovery process. Consume healthy proteins such as lean cuts of chicken and fish. A protein deficiency can lead fatigue, insulin resistance, and loss of muscle mass. Iron deficiency is fairly common in people with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's colitis and less common in those with small intestine disease. It results from blood loss following inflammation and ulceration of the colon. Try teaming iron-rich foods such as poultry, soy foods, and some fortified foods such as whole grain cereals with fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamin C like potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, red and green bell peppers, and cabbage. This food partnership improves the iron absorption rate, and the vitamin C gives the immune system a boost. Restrict your consumption of certain high-fiber foods such as nuts, seeds, corn. High-fiber foods also provoke contractions once they enter the large intestine and can cause cramping as a result. They may also cause diarrhea, since they are not completely digested by the small intestine. Sometimes a low-fiber diet is necessary minimize abdominal pain and cramping symptoms. It may also be necessary to supplement your diet with nutritional supplements to ensure your body is getting the proper amount of vitamins and minerals needed. Superfoods for a Superior Thyroid An estimated 27 million Americans have thyroid disease, and more than half are undiagnosed. Frequently misunderstood, and too often overlooked and misdiagnosed, thyroid disease affects almost every aspect of health. Taking care of it with good nutrition is a smart step in the right direction. Here are some superfoods that research has shown can nurture a healthy thyroid, as well as some ones to avoid. Coconut and coconut butter, or more commonly known as coconut oil, has been used as a food and medicine since the dawn of history. Unlike saturated animal fats found in meats and dairy products, coconut butter is a raw saturated fat containing fatty acids which the body can metabolize efficiently and convert to energy quickly. Research also shows it helps to regulate thyroid function. Kelp is a stellar, nutrient-dense sea vegetable. It is also known as Laminaria and contains a natural substance that enhances flavor and tenderizes. Kelp works as a blood purifier, and promotes adrenal, pituitary and thyroid health. Its natural iodine may help normalize thyroid-related disorders, like overweight, and lymph system congestion. Turkey is one of the leanest protein foods and is low in calories, making it an excellent healthy food choice. Turkey also contains selenium which has been shown to inhibit cancer development, improve the immune system, and aid in the metabolism of our thyroid hormone. Thyroid patients should avoid the consumption of goitrogens, substances that suppress the function of the thyroid gland, and which can also cause an enlargement of the thyroid. Goitrogens are in foods such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, mustard, kale, turnips, and canola oil. Soy and peanuts also include goitrogens and should be avoided. Both copper and iron are so important for thyroid function, so thyroid patients should take time to make sure they're getting enough in their diets. Foods such as organ meats, oysters, clams, crabs, cashews, sunflower seeds, wheat bran cereals, whole-grain products, and cocoa products are all rich in copper. Foods like leafy green vegetables, beans, shellfish, red meat, and poultry are high in iron. Complement your iron intake with adequate amounts of vitamin C from foods such as citrus fruits, red berries, tomatoes, potatoes, and bell peppers to help maximize your body's iron absorption efficiency. Jump for Joy and Juice! Juice can actually be considered a natural water source and provides the body with protein, carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals that can be absorbed quickly and efficiently. Fresh juice also contains necessary enzymes, and pigments such as carotenes, chlorophyll, and flavonoids. Juicing fresh fruits and vegetables provides numerous nutritional advantages that are extremely important to weight loss. In addition, diets containing a high percentage of uncooked foods are significantly associated with weight loss, improved blood sugar control, and lower blood pressure. Your appetite finds a raw foods diet more filling. Cooking can cause the loss of up to 97% of water-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Since uncooked foods such as juices contain more vitamins and other nutrients, they are more satisfying to the body, so it does not feel starved for nutrients. This means the metabolism will keep running efficiently and keep your weight loss efforts headed in the right direction Juicing kick-starts your body's digestive process and enables quick absorption of high-quality nutrition, which can result in increased energy. This is one of the great advantages of achieving weight loss through improved nutrition. Fresh juices, combined with a well-balanced diet will provide you with the energy needed to burn more calories, fat, and provide you with the fuel you need for physical activity. However, juicing does remove the fiber from these nutrient-dense foods. So be sure to include an appropriate amount of fiber-rich foods in your daily diet. Juicing should be a complement to a well-balanced healthy diet, not a substitute. So with a little planning and creativity, juicing could enhance your well-balanced diet and add some zest. The internet is a great resource for juicing recipes and information, and with the realization that raw foods and juicing is a great health boost, books and magazine articles are touting the benefits and offering recipe ideas. Organic Foods Equal Improved Health Organic food is food that is free from all genetically modified organisms, produced without artificial pesticides and fertilizers and derived from an animal reared without the routine use of antibiotics, growth promoters or other drugs. Once only available in small stores or farmers' markets, organic foods are becoming much more widely available. Organic foods have been shown to improve your immune system, help you sleep better, shed the excess weight more easily, and improve your blood work just to name a few. Organic food can boast intense, realistic flavors, and a higher vitamin and mineral content. And though logically it makes sense to consume a diet based on organic foods, some worry about the cost. But with careful planning and preparation, going organic is actually quite affordable. And, the peace of mind knowing you and your family are consuming foods that haven't been treated with pesticides or genetically altered is worth the extra money spent. The pesticides used by conventional farmers can have many negative influences on your health, including neurotoxicity, disruption of your endocrine system, carcinogenicity and immune system suppression. Pesticide exposure may also affect male reproductive function and has been linked to miscarriages in women. Additionally, conventional produce tends to have fewer nutrients than organic produce. On average, conventional produce has only 83 percent of the nutrients of organic produce. Studies have found significantly higher levels of nutrients such as vitamin C, iron, magnesium and phosphorus, and significantly less nitrates (a toxin) in organic crops. So it's a smart idea to buy and eat organic produce and free-range organic foods as much as possible for maximum health benefits. In addition, the knowledge that you're supporting the organic foods industry that is dedicated to protecting the environment by steering clear of harmful pesticides and chemicals that can result in the loss of topsoil, toxic runoff and resulting water pollution, soil contamination and poisoning and the death of insects, birds, critters and beneficial soil organisms should help you feel even better. Raw Foods Diet is Beneficial to Your Health The benefits advocated from eating such a diet seem endless: lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels, eliminating cravings, preventing overeating, purging the body of accumulated toxins, balancing hormones, maintaining blood glucose levels and reversing degenerative diseases. Followers of a raw diet cite numerous health benefits, including increased energy levels, improved appearance of skin, improved digestion, weight loss and reduced risk of heart disease, just to name a few. Proponents believe that enzymes are the life force of a food and that every food contains its own perfect mix. These enzymes help us digest foods completely, without relying on our body to produce its own cocktail of digestive enzymes. There can be some side effects when you are first starting a raw foods diet. Some detoxification effects may be experienced as your body attempts to shed some toxicity. This may include occasional headaches, nausea sensations and mild depression. If these symptoms persist, you should seek the help of somebody who is experienced with detoxification symptoms. Following a raw food diet means that you have to carefully plan your meals to make sure you don't fall short of essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals. In some instances it might be appropriate to consider taking dietary supplements, especially when just starting out. You'll need to invest in some appliances so that you are able to prepare the food, if you don't already have them available. A durable juicer, a blender and a large food processor make raw food preparation a breeze. You may also want to look into purchasing large containers to soak sprouts, grains and beans, as well as for storage. A durable juice extractor for your fruits and vegetables. The smoothest way to begin a raw foods lifestyle is to slowly transition into it. Try starting off by eating approximately 70 to 80 percent raw foods in your diet. Have fruit and salads throughout the day and a cooked vegetable meal with a salad in the evening. This should help make the transition easier on your body and hopefully lessen side effects associated with detoxification. This is an emotional time as well, so you should allow yourself plenty of time to make the switch. Journaling during the process can help. Before you know it, you'll be feeling the positive effects of a healthy, detoxifying raw foods diet. Hay Diet Treats Chemical Condition of the Body Dr. William Howard Hay introduced food combining in 1911. After 16 yrs medical practice his own health began to deteriorate, and he developed high blood pressure, Brights disease (now more commonly known as acute or chronic nephritis, a kidney disease) and a dilated heart. There being no treatment available for dilated heart at the time, Dr. Hay was inspired to treat his own symptoms. His basic premise is that there is one underlying cause for health problems and that is the wrong chemical condition in the body. He did this by eating 'fundamentally' as he called it; taking foods in a natural form and not mixing proteins and starches at the same meal. The wrong chemical condition is acidity which is caused by the manufacture and accumulation of acid from the products of digestion and metabolism in amounts greater than the body can eliminate. Along with dietary changes, Dr. Hay also advised fresh air, exercise and general lifestyle changes. The basic rules of this diet are: starches and sugar should not be eaten with proteins and acid fruits at the same meal; vegetables, salads and fruits should play a major part in the diet; proteins, starches and fats should be eaten in small quantities and only wholegrain unprocessed starches should be used; and finally at least 4 hours should elapse between meals of different food groups. It is also known as the "food combining" diet. Acid foods are protein rich, meat, fish, dairy, etc., and alkaline the carbohydrate-rich starch foods like rice, grains and potatoes. Following the simple rules of the Hay Diet can reverse chronic and degenerative conditions such as constipation, indigestion and arthritis. It can be beneficial to asthma and allergy sufferers. It can also stimulate natural weight loss, thus reducing the health risks linked to obesity, such as diabetes, gallstones and coronary heart disease. Water is our Body's Lifeblood The human body can last weeks without food, but only days without water. The body is made up of approximately 55 to75 per cent water. Water forms the basis of blood, digestive juices, urine and perspiration and is contained in lean muscle, fat and bones. As the body can't store water, we need fresh supplies every day to make up for losses from lungs, skin, urine and feces. Water is needed to maintain the health and integrity of every cell in the body, keep the bloodstream liquid enough to flow through blood vessels, help eliminate the by products of the body's metabolism, helps to flush out toxins, regulate body temperature through sweating, lubricate and cushion joints and carry nutrients and oxygen to the body's cells, just to name a few. Drinking refreshing, clean water plays a major role in reducing the risk of certain diseases. The loss of body water through urination is greatly increased by the ingestion of decaffeinated and alcoholic beverages. These drinks have a diuretic effect, meaning they stimulate the kidneys to excrete more urine. Not only do we lose water, we also lose water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin C, vitamin B (thiamine) and other B complex vitamins. For every caffeinated or alcoholic beverage you drink, you need to add an additional glass of pure water. A diet containing lots of fruits and vegetables will supply about 4 cups of water per day. Even with a diet high in fruits and vegetables, it is still necessary to drink an additional 6 to 8 cups of water per day to supply enough water to meet the body's daily needs. For every caffeinated or alcoholic beverage you drink, you need to add an additional glass of pure water. Dehydration occurs when the water content of the body is too low. This is easily fixed by increasing fluid intake. Symptoms of dehydration include headaches, lethargy, mood changes and slow responses, dry nasal passages, dry or cracked lips, dark-colored urine, weakness, tiredness, confusion and hallucinations. Eventually urination stops, the kidneys fail and the body can't remove toxic waste products. In extreme cases, this may result in death. Approximately six to eight glasses of a variety of fluids can be consumed each day. More than eight glasses may be needed for physically active people, children, people in hot or humid environments, and breastfeeding women. Less water may be needed for sedentary people, older people, people in a cold environment or people who eat a lot of high water content foods. Macrobiotic Diet Helps Balance Your Diet and Your Life Macrobiotics devotees believe that food, and food quality, affects our lives more than is commonly thought. It is thought to affect our health, well being and happiness. They focus on moving away from processed foods, and moving toward more natural and more traditional methods of food preparation. They claim it is better to choose food that is less processed, more natural, use more traditional methods of food preparation for themselves and their family. Macrobiotics emphasize locally-grown, organically-grown whole grain cereals, legumes, vegetables, fruit, seaweed and fermented soy products, combined into meals according to the principle of balance between yin and yang properties, rather than scientific dietary guidelines. Macrobiotic diets follow the idea of Yin and Yang. Cereals, fruit, beans, nuts and vegetables, and rice make up the main part of the diet and are considered neutral and are naturally balanced in terms of Yin and Yang. Foods which are either extremely Yin in nature or extremely Yang in nature are eaten very rarely if at all. Very Yin products include coffee, tropical fruit, sugar, soft dairy products, vegetables, alcohol and honey. Very Yang products include poultry, meat, firm dairy products like hard cheeses, and eggs. The macrobiotic diet is high in natural, unprocessed foods, complex carbohydrates, and vegetables. It is low in saturated fats, whilst providing the essential fats. Food should be organically grown and eaten fresh. The Macrobiotic lifestyle also governs how food should be prepared. No microwave should be used - rice must be cooked in a pressure cooker. Food should be eaten and chewed slowly, in a relaxed manner. Low-fat high-fiber diets are also believed to play a role in preventing some types of cancer. And the macrobiotic emphasis on fresh, non-processed foods may be beneficial to those dealing with certain food allergies and chemical sensitivities. Followers assert that the balance and harmony of the macrobiotic diet and lifestyle create the best possible conditions for health. They claim that the diet yields many positive health effects, including a general sense of well-being, and some studies actually show that people on the diet have a decreased risk of heart disease and some forms of cancer.
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