It’s not exactly a secret that your physical health and your overall well-being are significantly impacted by the foods you consume. But there are a variety of specific foods that are known to produce certain desired effects, such as foods that are good for your heart, foods that can help lower cholesterol, help you sleep better, or even foods that can reduce cramping. Here’s a look at a few such scenarios in which the food you eat can boost your health.
Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants to Fight Damage from Free Radicals
When you’re young, your body is quite efficient at generating new, healthy cells that fight off disease and foster growth. But as you age, free radicals – atoms with odd numbers of electrons, which makes them unstable – begin to damage your body’s cells and hinder new cell growth.
Antioxidants can interrupt this damage, and these chemicals, such as Vitamin A, beta-carotene, and Vitamin E, can be found in your diet. Eating antioxidant-rich foods is one way to help boost your body’s natural ability to fight off disease and enhance your longevity. Different types of foods are rich in antioxidants such as:
Fight Fatigue with Energy-Boosting Foods
If you suffer from mid-day fatigue, you’re not alone. Millions of people all over the world struggle with having enough physical and mental energy to get through the day. Some of this is driven by the modern lifestyle and the always-on culture coupled with the blurred lines between home and work. If you’re not eating a healthy diet, it’s certainly not helping matters.
However, there are some foods that are known to help fight fatigue – without consuming large quantities of caffeine or drinking bad-for-you energy drinks. Some such foods include:
- Chia seeds
- Sweet potatoes
Consume More Fiber for Digestive Health and Weight Loss
Many people begin to suffer from digestive issues as they age, and some struggle with problems such as irritable bowel syndrome beginning in childhood or young adulthood. Most people with such digestive issues should avoid greasy, fatty foods, especially fried foods as they don’t tend to cooperate with sensitive tummies.
So what is good for your digestive health? A few foods that may sound familiar:
- Whole grains
- Lean meats and fish
Note that some of these foods fall into certain categories that result in adverse effects for some people. Yogurt, a dairy product, can be troublesome for people who are lactose intolerant, and those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity avoid whole grains.
Boost Memory and Cognitive Functioning with Brain Foods
Along with physical fatigue in mid-afternoon also comes cognitive fatigue. Not only are you physically exhausted, but you can’t seem to make any headway on that big project with the looming deadline. The more you try to plug away, the more you become frustrated with your inability to focus.
While your diet plays a role in your energy levels physically and not having enough vitamins and nutrients can cause your body to exhaust all its resources before the end of the day, there are some smart foods that boost cognition. To boost brain power, focus, and concentration, consume some brain-friendly foods such as:
- Coconut oil
- Extra virgin olive oil
You’ve probably noticed that many of these foods are present on more than one list – meaning eating a diet rich inberries, spinach, and beans is a smart way to fuel your body with the vitamins and nutrients it needs to fend off illness, prevent disease, and promote healthy aging. If your diet is lacking in healthy vitamins and minerals, a few simple changes can help you regain energy, boost your immune system, and maintain a healthy weight.
Jennifer McGregor has wanted to be a doctor since she was little. Now, as a pre-med student, she’s well on her way to achieving that dream. She helped create PublicHealthLibrary.org with a friend as part of a class project. With it, she hopes to provide access to trustworthy health and medical resources. When Jennifer isn’t working on the site, you can usually find her hitting the books in the campus library or spending some downtime with her dog at the local park.