Hippocrates, he of the Hippocratic oath, once said ‘The wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings. Let food be your medicine.’ Of course, he was born well before the time of doughnuts and artery-clogging burgers and fries. Now, not all food is medicine and can actually hasten your demise. But there are still those superfoods that will make you feel perky, healthy and yes, just a little smug.
Nuts about nuts
Nuts, unless they are roasted, salted or doused in pepper or spices, are entirely natural. If monkeys could write recommendations, they just might. You also might be swinging from trees if you also go for this pure snack. Amazingly, some recent studies have shown that if you chomp down a handful at least four times a week, it helps reduce heart disease. They also fuel the craving to snack on more fatty and caloric foods. Not to mention that fibre and vitamin content. Love those chunky Brazils? Great source of selenium that might proctect you against depression and cancer.
I say tomato
Ah the humble red fruit – yes it is a fruit. One medium tomato will give you 50% of daily Vitamin C. Beta-carotene is great for immune systems but it’s the lycopene that makes the miracle – it can neutralize the free radicals that form cancer. Cooking actually intensifies the lycopene– how’s that for a magic trick? It also contains lutein, which may protect the retina from free radical damage that causes eye disease.
Like a virgin
Sophia Loren has been quoted as taking the ‘odd bath in virgin olive oil.’ Fair enough. But she might be better off throwing it over salad. It’s good stuff – particularly if it is nun-like and extra virgin. All those good fats – the monounsaturated ones – will drop your cholesterol levels. Also it will help your heart, lower your blood pressure and reduce the possibilities of some cancers, like colon cancer.
It’s been known for a very long time that oily fish is good for us, especially our brains. Mackerel, sardines and particularly kippers, that old English breakfast food that makes you think of silver platters and mustached old colonels. But it’s not just good for your brain – it fights against heart disease as well. A report on Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association has long established that oily fish can help maintain a normal heart rhythm.
Another happy monkey food
There are of course plenty of other superfoods like blueberries and pumpkins seeds, but nothing is as beautiful, comic or convenient as a banana. It’s already packaged and full of carbohydrate-rich energy. But they also contain antioxidants and potassium – one wards off cancer, the other lowers your blood pressure. Not to mention that B6 to give you great skin and shiny hair. I have heard some people rubbing the inside of the skins on themselves as a moisturiser – but I’m not sure about that one.
All in all, you need to eat well and get lively with your food. Go on, make Hippocrates proud!