Health benefits of Popular foods
Though the field of medicine continues to advance and branch out in so many ways, nutritionists and health experts continue to praise the benefits of certain foods. In fact, eating healthfully has been shown to reduce the risk of obesity, cardiovascular illnesses and even certain types of cancer.1
However, understanding which foods to eat for specific benefits can sometimes be difficult, which is why Medical News Today previously supplied a list of the top 10 healthy foods.
Now, MNT specifies the health benefits of a much wider range of foods, providing a cornucopia of delicious and nutritious options for individuals who wish to boost their health by eating healthfully.
Below is a list of the food products along with information regarding their potential health benefits.
Note that this article contains summaries and you should click through to read individual articles containing the full list of possible health benefits.
Almonds are a rich source of vitamin E, copper, magnesium, good quality protein, and healthy unsaturated fatty acids.
Studies have revealed that almonds can potentially help prevent cardiovascular heart diseases2, cut the risk of cancer3, and help prolong life.4
Apples are sometimes called “nutritional powerhouses” because of their impressive nutritional profile.
Apples are rich in Vitamin C (a powerful natural antioxidant), B-complex vitamins, dietary fiber, phytonutrients (which help protect the body from the detrimental effects of free radicals), and minerals such as calcium and potassium.5
Studies have revealed that eating apples can potentially help prevent dementia6, reduce your risk of stroke7, and reduce your risk of diabetes8
Along with other leafy greens, arugula contains very high nitrate levels (more than 250 mg/100 g). High intakes of dietary nitrate have been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce the amount of oxygen needed during exercise and enhance athletic performance.
The potential health benefits of arugula include lowering risk of cancer, preventing osteoporosis and improving muscle oxygenation during exercise.
Asparagus is very rich in dietary fiber and contains high levels of vitamin B6, calcium, zinc and magnesium.
The potential health benefits of asparagus include: reducing the risk of diabetes, preventing kidney stones, and reducing the risk of neural tube defects in babies.
Bananas are naturally free of fat, cholesterol and sodium and is very rich in potassium.
The potential health benefits of bananas include: lowering blood pressure,reduce the risk of developing childhood leukemia, and supporting heart health.
Basil is rich in vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, potassium, and calcium.
Studies have revealed that basil can potentially reduce inflammation and swelling9, prevent the harmful effects of aging10, and may be useful in treating arthritis and inflammatory bowel diseases.11
Beetroot, also known simply as the beet, has been gaining in popularity as a new super food due to recent studies claiming that beets and beetroot juice can improve athletic performance, lower blood pressure and increase blood flow.
Beetroot is a rich source of folate and manganese and also contains thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, pantothenic acid, choline, betaine, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and selenium.
Bok choy belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family, which also includes kale, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, rutabaga and turnips.
These nutrition powerhouses supply loads of nutrients for little calories. If you are trying to eat healthier, cruciferous vegetables like bok choy should be at the very top of your grocery list.
Broccoli contains high levels of fiber (both soluble and insoluble) and is a rich source of vitamin-C.
In addition, broccoli is rich in vitamin A, iron, vitamin K, B-complex vitamins, zinc, phosphorus and phyto-nutrients.
Studies have found that broccoli can potentially help prevent osteoarthritis12, protect your skin against the effects of UV light13, reverse diabetes heart damage14, and reduce bladder cancer risk.15
Cantaloupes are also commonly known as muskmelons, mush melons, rock melons and Persian melons. They are a member of the botanical family Cucurbitaceae, along with honeydew and watermelons.
Cantaloupe contains an abundance of antioxidants including choline, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene, all of which provide protection against a range of diseases and conditions from the common cold to cancer.
Potential health benefits of cantaloupe include lowering risk of developing asthma, managing blood pressure, aiding digestion, keeping hydrated and reducing inflammation.
Carrots are a great source of vitamin A. They provide 210% of the average adult’s needs for the day.
The potential health benefits of carrots include: preventing lung cancer16, destroying leukemia cells and inhibiting their progression17, and helping to restore vision.18
As part of the brassica family, more commonly known as cruciferous vegetables, cauliflower contains antioxidants and phytonutrients that can protect against cancer, fiber that helps with satiety, weight loss and a healthy digestive tract, choline that is essential for learning and memory as well as many other important nutrients.
The potential health benefits of cauliflower include preventing mutations and reducing stress from free radicals, preventing constipation and helping memory.
Celery is a very rich source of antioxidants and vitamin K.
The potential health benefits of celery include: lowering blood pressure, preventing cancer, and soothing joint pain.
Originally cultivated in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, have spread their culinary influence to areas all over the world.
The potential health benefits of chickpeas include improved glucose levels, lipids and insulin levels for diabetes, maintaining bone strength and heart health.
Chives are a nutrient-dense food, meaning that while they are low in calories they are high in beneficial nutrients like vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
The potential health benefits of chives include: potential beneficial and preventative effects against cancer, prostate cancer, esophageal and stomach cancer and positive effects on sleep and mood.
Chocolate is rich in antioxidants. Despite its bad reputation for causing weight gain, there are a number of health benefits being associated with its consumption.
The potential benefits of eating chocolate are said to include: lowering cholesterol levels, preventing cognitive decline, and reducing the risk of cardiovascular problems.
Often known in the UK as coriander, cilantro comes from the plant Coriandrum sativum. In the United States, the leaves of the plant are referred to as cilantro (the Spanish translation) and the seeds are referred to as coriander.
Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like cilantro decreases the risk of obesity, overall mortality, diabetes and heart disease while promoting a healthy skin and hair, increased energy and overall lower weight.
Studies have found that cinnamon can potentially be effective against HIV19, improve glucose and lipids levels in patients with type 2 diabetes20, help prevent Alzheimer’s disease,21 and stop the destructive process of multiple sclerosis (MS).22
In addition, researchers at Penn State found that consuming cinnamon can help reduce the body’s negative responses to eating high-fat meals.23
Coffee is one of the main sources of antioxidants in the U.S.
The potential health benefits of drinking coffee include: protecting against type 2 diabetes24, preventing Parkinson’s disease25, lowering the risk of liver cancer26, preventing liver disease27, and promoting good heart health.28
Collard greens are part of the cruciferous vegetable family, which also includes kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, rutabaga and turnips.
Collard greens are an extremely rich source of vitamin K and also contain folate, thiamin, niacin, pantothenic acid, choline, phosphorus and potassium.
Health benefits of collard greens may include assisting with bone health, reducing cancer risk, helping lower glucose levels in those with diabetes and improving sleep and mood.
Cranberries are a good source of vitamin C, fiber and vitamin E.
Studies have found that cranberries can potentially be effective at reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD)29, slowing tumor progression30, preventing urinary tract infections31, and can benefit oral health by preventing bacteria from binding to teeth.