Saturday, November 24

Crazy Healthy Food, Part II

As promised, my senior thesis as I graduate myself from my self-created culinary school. Here you have my nominations for the Top 25 Raw Vegan Super Foods:

Apples – Help women lose weight, and lower the risk of death from heart disease, lung cancer, and type-2 diabetes.

Apple Cider Vinegar – In its raw, organic, unfiltered form, ACV helps manage diabetes by lowering blood glucose levels. Studies show it may also lower cholesterol and blood pressure, kill or slow the growth of cancer cells, and decrease the appetite.

Asian Pears – Extremely high fiber content, which lowers bad LDL cholesterol levels, aids colon health, and promotes weight loss. Also a good source of vitamin C, which prevents macular degeneration and the growth of cataracts.

Avocados – Lower risk of heart disease and macular degeneration. Great source of soluble fiber, vitamin E, folate, and potassium.

Beans, Sprouted – Packed with fiber, protein, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Reduce heart disease, type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and breast and colon cancers.

Blueberries – Lower risk of heart disease and cancer, anti-inflammatory, and prevent memory loss, urinary tract infections, and eyestrain.

Broccoli – Fights cancer, heart disease. Also acts as a hypoallergenic, which means that it lowers the impact of allergy-related substances on the body.

Cinnamon – Found to stabilize blood sugar and relieve indigestion. Cinnamon is a potent antiviral, and helps prevent colorectal and skin cancer, as well as the development of Alzheimer's.

Dark Raw Chocolate/Cacao – Very high in antioxidants, mood-elevating nutrients like tryptophan (which improves sleep), and chemicals that mimic the brain's chemistry when in love. It can also lower blood pressure. (By the way, “cocoa” and “cacao” differ only in English. Cacao is commonly used to describe raw cocoa; cocoa describes the ground bean after it has been roasted. Carobis a different bean altogether, though it shares some properties.)

Dark Greens – Best source for an array of vitamins and minerals. Rich in antioxidants that protect cells from free radical damage. The beta carotene and lutein in dark greens can improve eyesight. High fiber helps with weight management. Lipoic acid regenerates the body’s vitamin C and E stores, defends against free radicals, and regulates blood sugar.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Cold-Pressed –Monounsaturated fats lower "bad" LDL cholesterol and raise "good" HDL cholesterol. Heart healthy and full of antioxidants that help reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.

Figs – A primary source of potassium, which lowers blood pressure and prevents muscle spasms. Also a major source of calcium, vitamins A and C, and laxative substances.

Flaxseed – High in dietary fiber as well as lignans (an antioxidant), micronutrients, and healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Flax helps prevent cardiovascular disease, decreases insulin resistance, and decreases waist circumference.

Garlic – Boosts the immune system, lowers blood pressure, prevents heart disease. People who eat a lot of garlic have low rates of ovarian, colorectal, and other cancers. Its allicin fights infection and bacteria. Let crushed garlic stand for 30 minutes before heating or adding acids (such as lemon juice), to activate and preserve enzymes that protect the heart.

Guavas – Five times the vitamin C of an orange, and more heart-disease-preventing lycopene than tomatoes. Full of dietary fiber, vitamin A, folic acid, and potassium, copper and manganese. Microbiologists say they can protect against certain foodborne pathogens (Listeria and staph).

Lychees – More heart-healthy polyphenols than grapes. These polyphenols fight the flu, and help prevent degenerative diseases such as cancer. Low calories and high fiber are an aid to weight loss. Rich in potassium, copper, B-complex vitamins and vitamin C. And they’re my kids’ favorite fruit.

Miso – A living food. Contains lecithin (a kind of phospholipid caused by fermentation), which is effective in preventing high blood pressure. A top food source of probiotics, high in protein and rich in vitamins and minerals. Find it in paste form in the refrigerated section of Asian and well-stocked Western markets.

Nuts – The most popular vegan protein source, but also a good place to get your calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, potassium, selenium, zinc, vitamin-E, and B-complex vitamins. The monounsaturated fatty acids in nuts help lower "bad" cholesterol and increase "good" cholesterol," which may prevent coronary artery disease and strokes. Nuts are an important source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, an anti-inflammatory that may decrease blood pressure, coronary artery disease, strokes and breast, colon and prostate cancers, and help with arthritis, depression, Alzheimer’s and even schizophrenia. Also contain certain antioxidants that protect against heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's, viral and fungal infections, and degenerative nerve disease.

Quinoa – A gluten-free grain and a complete protein, with all eight essential amino acids. It’s also a source for calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron. Sprout quinoa to get your daily dose of dietary fiber.

Red Bell Peppers – A better source of vitamin C than citrus. People who eat more vitamin C have less arthritic knees, better skin (fewer wrinkles, less dryness), faster recovery from colds and flus, and a much lower risk of stroke.

Spinach – Spinach is famous for its iron and folate (a B vitamin that prevents birth defects). But did you know the yellow pigment lutein in spinach protects your eyes from age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness? It also keeps the walls of your arteries clear, which may protect against heart attacks.

Spirulina – Sprinkle this microalgae into salad dressings, smoothies, spreads, dips, and juice to get the benefits of this chlorophyll-rich, protein-laden brain food. Spirulina is an immune booster, and an anti-fungal with antibacterial properties that come from high levels of GLA (an essential fatty acid), RNA, DNA, folate, vitamins A through E, vitamin K, a large number of important minerals, calcium, carotenoids, omega3, and omega 6 (which help protect cells from damage).

Sweet Potatoes – Full of beta-carotene, and the best source of vitamin A, which protects mucus membranes, skin, vision, and the lining of the urinary, respiratory, and intestinal tracts. Also contains essential vitamins such as vitamins B-5, B-6, and thiamin, niacin, and riboflavin, as well as calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, and potassium.

Tomatoes – A primary source of lycopene, an antioxidant reported to protect against heart disease and breast cancer.

Turmeric – A natural anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflamatory. May fight cancer because it contains curcumin, a tumor inhibitor that also suppresses the enzymes that activate carcinogens.

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Collected and cross-checked and refined from lots and lots of resources, but my primary sources are: Health Diaries, LiveStrong, Nutrition and You, Prevention Magazine, WebMD, Wikipedia, and World’s Healthiest Foods.