The Magic 9

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Garlic_801254336.jpgThere are some of the foods that you should make a point of including in your diet regardless of your age and gender, likes or dislikes. These foods nourish our cells and bodies and help our bodies function like they were meant to function without changing the make up or mechanism within.

1. Garlic
Research has shown that garlic could help prevent heart disease, hypertension and cancer, and can possibly improve lung function because of its high antioxidant content. Garlic is also a great way to boost one’s immunity especially in the cold season.
Include a clove or two of garlic in your diet every day. Just make sure that the garlic isn’t overcooked. However steer clear of garlic if you’re on anti-coagulant medication.

2. Citrus
Oranges, lemons and grapefruit fall into this group. Citrus fruits are a fantastic source of vitamin C as we all know and antioxidants as well.

Citrus contains zeaxathin that maintains healthy vision and flavanones that play a role in preventing cancer. Caffeic acid also found in the fruits is said to reduce the risk of heart disease and eye disease.

3. Cocoacocoa__2727447_200318926.jpg
Cocoa exerts its positive effect mainly in three ways: firstly, by keeping the layer of cells that lines the heart and blood vessels healthy, thereby reducing the risk of heart attacks; secondly, by lowering blood pressure, which is also related to heart disease; and thirdly, by modulating platelet function in a similar way as aspirin does. The flavanols in cocoa are responsible for this and are only present in dark chocolate. Therefore indulge in some dark chocolate occasionally.
You can also have a cup of hot cocoa before you sleep. Simply delicious!!!

4. Beans
As has been discovered by research, eating plenty of beans can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke and help prevent cancer. This is because they are a rich source of antioxidants. These legumes also provide a good source of B vitamins, potassium and fibre. They also have plenty of carbohydrates, with no cholesterol!! On the upside.

Recently a variety of veggies, fruits, legumes and nuts battled it out for the top spot on a new list of the 20 most antioxidant-rich foods. The small red bean came out tops, and red kidney beans and pinto beans weren’t far behind. Other beans to include in your diet are lima bean, kidney bean, baked beans and black beans.

The can be eaten in meals as substitutes for meat, and while legumes don’t contain complete proteins such as meat, you could supplement your diet by eating grain or dairy products along with them.

fish__453790_490604197.jpg5. Fish-tuna and any other oily fish
Fatty fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, which help to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Omega-3s can also play a role in preventing conditions like hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, dry eye syndrome, and possibly cancer. These are all diseases that affect a staggering number of people across the globe.
Make a plan to eat fatty fish at least two to three times a week instead of red meat everyday. Also grill or bake the fish preferably to avoid too much fat in your diet all together.

6. Eggs
They are categorized as a functional food which means it provides health benefits beyond it basic nutritional benefits. An egg provides 12% of the daily recommended value for protein, as well as a wide variety of other nutrients such as vitamin A, B6, B12, D, folate, iron, phosphorous and zinc.

Carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin are the key nutrients, found in egg yolks. These substances collect in parts of the eye and have been shown to play a role in promoting vision and preventing some common causes of blindness. Most people fear eggs thinking you will grow fat or get cholesterol. However, if your cholesterol levels have been tested and are normal, two or three eggs per week could boost your health. Just remember to opt for poached, boiled or scrambled eggs instead of fried ones.

7. Yoghurt
Yoghurt is a great source of probiotics and calcium. Probiotics are microbial foods or supplements that can be used to change or improve the intestinal bacterial balance to boost the health of the host. They prevent the overgrowth of harmful bacteria by competing for attachment sites and nutrients in the gastrointestinal tract. They also replenish the good bacteria after one takes antibiotic medication which destroys both good and bad bacteria. Low fat yoghurt can do well as a snack.

8. Brazil nuts
These are high in selenium content a powerful antioxidant, which protects against harmful free radicals that may cause heart disease and cancer while fostering good immunity. The nuts also a good source of zinc which is essential to metabolism and digestion. Unlike the proteins in most plant products, Brazil nuts’ proteins contain all the necessary amino acids to foster optimal growth. They are considered a complete protein.

Although these nuts are high in fat, they shouldn’t be included in the diet more than three times per week. Rather opt for nuts with less fat, like almonds.

9. Bananasbananas_941825439.jpg
Bananas are rich in potassium and are good in preventing stroke. They also help to maintain bowel health due to their high fibre and are good energy-boosting snacks.

Potassium also plays a vital role in the functioning of the muscles, heart and nerves. It ensures that the body’s fluid levels remain balanced and that the body is neither too alkaline nor too acidic. It also prevents calcium from being lost in the urine.

Eating bananas before bedtime can also make for a good night’s sleep, as bananas help to increase serotonin levels.

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