6 Top Medicinal Foods for Every Diet

Maylin Rodriguez-Paez, RN

Not feeling well, or just want to feel better in general?

Before you reach for the medicine cabinet, take a closer look at what's in your fridge. You may find just what you need there. After all, before medicines were around, foods (and herbs) often did the trick quite nicely.

In this post, we’ll explore the medicinal benefits of six amazingly healthy foods.

Ready for some "food for thought"?

Pomegranates

Pomegranates were once considered the food of the ancient gods. Today, fortunately, they’re accessible to “mortals” like you and me. And best of all, they may help to reverse atherosclerosis.

During a study, participants took a pomegranate juice supplement daily. After a year, ultrasounds revealed a remarkable discovery: atherosclerotic lesions in the carotid arteries shrunk by a mean of 35%.1

Pomegranates prevent cholesterol oxidation1 — a factor involved in plaque development.

Beets

Beets are all the rage in juice bars, and it’s for good reason. They taste great, and they’re good for you.

Beet juice may support healthy blood pressure levels. In an experiment, participants drank one cup of beet root juice. Between 3 and 6 hours after consumption, their systolic blood pressure levels dropped a mean of 11.2 mm Hg.2

Beets contain nitrates, which relax blood vessel walls.

Tart cherries

If you’re a fan of the sweet and sour, tart cherries are your match made in heaven.

In one study, drinking tart cherry juice was found to boost melatonin levels and enhance the quality and duration of sleep. On average, participants who drank the juice slept 39 more minutes.3

Not bad for a tasty treat!

Tomatoes

Tomatoes aren’t trendy in the health food world, but they should be. One of their key antioxidants, lycopene, is a powerful cancer fighter.

In a small trial, a group of men ate tomato sauce daily, supplying 30 mg of lycopene daily for 3 weeks. After several weeks, blood testing revealed a 17.5% drop in the mean serum levels of PSA, a blood marker for prostate cancer.4

Yogurt

You probably know that yogurt is great for your gut, but did you know it’s good for your mouth too?

According to research, young children who frequently eat yogurt are less likely to get cavities.5 Yogurt contains friendly bacteria which protect teeth against demineralization and, also, help remineralization.6

But please skimp on the sugary yogurt cups. The sugar is anything but good for your teeth.

Cabbages

Cabbages are known for their anti-cancer properties, but they’re less-well known for their anti-ulcer effects. They contain S-methylmethionine (also known as “vitamin U”), which protects the stomach against damage.7

One study showed that people with stomach ulcers healed faster by drinking cabbage juice — 7.3 days for drinkers versus 42 days for non-drinkers.8

Cabbage juice isn’t the tastiest drink around, but it seems totally worth it.

Manuka honey

Manuka honey is a special type of honey found in New Zealand and Australia. It contains a compound that in many respects functions as a natural antibiotic, called methylglyoxal.9

Research shows manuka honey reduces bacterial infection and supports wound healing.9

Next time you have a cut, think honey, but don’t go for the conventional kinds. There are preparations specifically made for wound care.

The Bottom Line

Hippocrates was onto something when he talked about food as medicine. Fast forward hundreds of years later, and we’re doing the same thing.

What’s your favorite medicinal “super food”? Please let us know in the comments!

References:

  1. Clin Nutr. 2004 Jun;23(3):423-33.
  2. Hypertension. 2013 April 15. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.111.00933
  3. Eur J Nutr. 2012 Dec;51(8):909-16.
  4. Exp Biol Med (Maywood.). 2002 Nov;227(10):886-93.
  5. J Dent. 2010 Jul;38(7):579-83.
  6. Aust Dent J. 2008 Dec;53(4):314-9.
  7. Available at: http://jocpr.com/vol4-iss1-2012/JCPR-2012-4-1-209-215.pdf. Accessed July 15, 2013.
  8. Calif Med. 1949 January; 70(1): 10–15.
  9. PLoS One. 2013; 8(2): e55898.

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19 comments:

travel_mom_2011 said...

I always go back to aloe vera juice when I feel my tummy needs a good "reset"....just 2 ounces first thing in the morning and another 2 ounces lastly before bed (for a few days in a row) seems to bring me back to digestive comfort :)

LifeExtension said...

travel_mom_2011 - Good one! Thanks for sharing. :-)

Nancy Moody said...

All of the above are great in green shakes and so good for you I don't know about Manuka honey but will check it our. Thanks for sharing.

LifeExtension said...

Nancy Moody - It's our pleasure. Thanks for reading!

Stephen in Orlando said...

Thanks for providing the great list! However, I was wondering what your thoughts on garlic were? From my research, this seems like one special food! In fact, I just recently read about a study which suggested that eating raw garlic twice a week could protect the body from lung cancer.

LifeExtension said...

Stephen in Orlando - Garlic is a good one! It's definitely part of the "must-eat" list.

Dexter R Swain said...

I can vouch for the manuka honey and pomegranate. Both were used to heal a deep wound I had on my leg.

Life Extension said...

Tu dieta disociada- Thanks for reading!

Life Extension said...

Dexter R Swain - Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I heard about Cabbage juice this morning on Fox News and was looking for some info when I found this article. Thanks for confirming its use. I enjoy and learn from following you on Twitter.

Life Extension said...

Anonymous - Awesome! We're glad to have helped. Thanks for following us on Twitter. :-)

Workout Meals said...

Excellent Post...Diet meals represents any meals or consume whose formula has been changed in some way to make it part of a body adjustment eating plan.

Clifford said...

I have gone through this article and it is really very informative about the proper dieting foods. Dieting means not reducing the amount of foods you eat, its about taking proper food materials. This blog providing the proper information regarding the medicinal foods for dieting process. Thanks for this article.

Life Extension said...

Clifford - Right! Dieting is about making the right nutritional changes in your life, not about restricting calories.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if fermented cabbage is just as healthy as raw..like some home made sauerkraut.

Cocina Metabolica said...

Losing weight gradually is much better than losing them instantly and gain weight again. This is a great method of dieting and very effective. Thanks for sharing your inspiring post.

ann devlin said...

Sauerkraut is very good . Due to the fermentation process it contains a healthy supply of natural probiotics. When buying it in the store you should check that the only ingredients are cabbage and salt (but it's unlikely to be sea salt).Homemade is better, as you can choose to use the healthier sea salt rather than regular table salt. It's recommended in the Budwig anti cancer diet.

Life Extension said...

ann devlin - Nice tip! Thank you

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