Fruits

Superfoods are those food types that are known to have very high nutritional and medicinal values. They help the body in the efficient and optimal carriage of its functions and ensure that immunity is boosted. These foods are all natural. Below is a list of 10 superfoods that will aid your body’s optimal functioning;

1. Quinoa

This nutrient filled pseudo-cereal has a wide range of benefits;

  • It has powerful antioxidants that like Quercetin and Kaemperol that help in body detoxification
  • High fiber content that helps lose weight, reduce blood sugar and lower cholesterol
  • Offers a gluten free diet
  • It is high in essential amino acids and proteins
  • It has trace minerals like magnesium

Fact: There are 100 types of its kind.

2. Coconut 

The oil found in coconuts has many beneficial nutrients;

  • Abundant in medium level triglycerides that diminish effects of brain disorders and boost day and night energy spending while curbing appetite leading to long term weight loss
  • Fatty acids that destroy pathogens curbing infection

Fact: In Philippines, they make vodka from coconut.

3. Kales 

kales
kales

This cruciferous vegetable has a number of nutritional advantages;

  • High potent antioxidants like Beta Carotene and nutrients known to boost eye health like Lutein
  • Best source of Vitamin C important to synthesize collagen apart from being a soluble antioxidant, Vitamin K for blood clotting and minerals like magnesium, potassium and calcium.
  • When steamed it is highly effective in lowering bad cholesterol levels by binding bile acids

Fact: It has more vitamin C than orange.

4. Eggs

eggs
eggs
  • Raise good cholesterol levels
  • Contain the rare and very essential choline nutrient
  • Better eye health through Lutein and Zeaxanthin
  • High in animal protein and essential amino acids

Fact: China consumes 40% of world total eggs.

5. Lentils

Types of lentils
lentils
  • High soluble fiber that lowers bad cholesterol levels, lowers blood sugar and boosts digestion
  • Potent source of magnesium and folate that reduce risks of heart diseases, iron that helps in oxygen transport in blood affecting energy and metabolism and protein.

Fact: Long shelf life of full one year.

6. Amaranth

Amaranth
Amaranth grains
  • Gluten free and has fiber that helps lower bad cholesterol as well as triglyceride levels
  • Peptides and oils that have anti inflammatory effects
  • Antioxidant nutrients and rich protein, potassium, zinc and phosphorus source
  • Has the rare lysine, an essential amino acids that helps in bodily calcium absorption and energy production
  • Essential vitamin A,C,E,K,B5,B6 source
  • Boosts immunity and prevents aging

Fact: Grown by Aztecs about 5,000 to 6,000 years ago.

7. Sweet potatoes

sweet potato
sweet potato
  • High source of manganese, potassium, calcium, magnesium and iron
  • Source of vitamins B6,B5, B1 essential to efficient body functioning
  • Has potent antioxidants

Fact: Official vegetable of North Carolina.

8. Bell pepper

bell peppers
bell peppers
  • Source of carotenoids that aid in good vision, healthy skin and high immunity as well as vitamin C
  • High fiber
  • Lycopene that acts as a powerful antioxidant

Fact:  Only member of Capsicum genus  that does not produce capsaicin which is why they are not hot.

9. Kiwis

Kiwis
Kiwis
  • High vitamin C source for radiant skin
  • High fiber that boosts bowel movement and reduces constipation
  • Potassium that boosts heart health

Fact: Its unique antioxidant protects you from DNA damage.

10. Mushrooms

mushrooms
mushrooms
  • Lower bad cholesterol levels
  • Great source of iron hence helps anaemic people and calcium for strong bones
  • Have polysaccharides that have anti carcinogenic effects reducing the risk of prostate and breast cancers.
  • High protein and vitamin source including the rare vitamin D
  • Has ergothioneine a powerful antioxidant

Fact: People of ancient Egypt believed mushrooms grew magic.

These foods all have a good mix of nutrients that will have you visiting the doctor less and enjoying a healthy life. They are unique in the richness of nutrients they provide compared to other foods. This richness is what makes them superfoods!

 

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Blueberries are widely popular fruit from the family of Ericaceae whose other members include bilbery and cranberry. Furthermore, they belong to the Vaccinium genus. Within the genus, there are three distinct groups of blueberries.

blueberries
blueberries

Highbush blueberries (picture below) are the most common type of blueberries and these are the most popular among consumers. They are native to North America and were exported into other parts of the world from here. They can grow up to 4 m in the wild, but in cultivation, they rarely exceed the height of 2 meters. Lowbush blueberries, commonly called „wild blueberries“, grow up to 30 cm above ground, but often stay even lower than that.

Their berries are smaller in size than highbush and are not so popular, so you will not find them in many supermarkets. And the third group of blueberries are the rabbiteye blueberries. This species grows in southern U.S.A. They can grow up to 6 meters in wild, but only 3 meters in cultivation. They are less cultivated than highbush blueberries.

Highbush blueberries
Highbush blueberries

The fruit is a small berry ranging in color from blue to purple-black and its surface is covered with a protective white waxy coating called the „bloom“. The taste ranges from sweet to tart. They are used in cuisines all around the world, from America to Europe and Asia.

However, their popularity is the biggest precisely in America where they are the second most-popular fruit, after strawberries. The season of blueberries in the north hemisphere is from May to October and in the south hemisphere from October to April. But in many countries, fresh blueberries are available year-round.

America is the biggest producer and consumer of blueberries in the world. Canada is the second largest producer, followed by South American countries like Chile, Argentina and Uruguay, and New Zealand.

History of blueberries

blueberries-history

Although the fruit itself is small, the size of its history is big. It’s been said that blueberries have been around for nearly 13 000 years. Native Americans had been familiar with this plant a long time before the Europeans came along. According to the legend, they gave blueberries to the pilgrims to help them endure their first winter in the new land.

 

The Native American people would dry blueberries in the sun and put them into soups and stews or added them to meat. Or they would crush them into a powder and used it on meat as a preservative. Bluberries became a part of their folklore. They called them “star berries” because of the five-pointed star-like shape on the top of each berry. The berries, leaves and roots of the plant were used in medical purposes. At the same time in Europe people were using blueberry’s close relatives for medical purposes as well. They would make tea out of bilberry’s roots to help women during childbirth and used bilberry syrup for treating coughs.

Nutritional content

nutritional-content-bb

Blueberries are low in cholesterol, saturated fat and sodium; high in dietary fiber and a very good source of vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese. But their true strength lies within the richness of phytonutrients.

The most abundant and important among these are anthocyanins (malvidin, delphinidin, pelargonidin, cyanidin, peonidin). They are the pigments which give blueberries, and other plants, that beautiful blue, purple and red color.

But other than these, there are many other significant phytonutrients in blueberries as well: hydroxycinnamic acids (coumaric, ferulic and caffeic acids), hydroxybenzoic acids (procatchuic and gallic acids), flavonols (kaempferol, myricetin, quercetin) and other phenol-related phytonutrients (pterostilbene, resveratrol). All of the mentioned function as both anti-inflammatory and antioxidants.

Research has shown that freezing blueberries does not damage their precious phytonutrients. Therefore, they can be preserved and consumed even in the off-season. However, they are damaged by cooking, so the nutritive value of fresh blueberries is slightly higher than of those which are prepared in a cooked recipe. Research has shown that organically cultivated blueberries are significantly richer in antioxidants, both anthocyanin and phenol, than those grown non-organically. So, if you have the chance, and want to maximize antioxidant benefits from blueberries, use the organic ones.

Health Benefits

berry

Blueberries are considered a superstar among the healthy food. In addition to beneficial effects on body systems which require special protection from oxidative stress, like the cardiovascular system, intake of blueberries shows the same beneficial results in the entire body, in absolutely all body systems. For example, there is evidence of antioxidant protection in muscles damaged by excessive exercise, in nervous system, in blood sugar regulatory system and every other system in the body.

Cardiovascular system

The beneficial effect on cardiovascular system is multiple. The antioxidants from blueberries protect the cells in blood vessel walls and also the cholesterol in blood from oxygen damage which could lead to clogging of the blood vessels. Beside this, they support a healthy blood pressure. In individuals who have high blood pressure, regular blueberry consumption reduces the pressure, and in people with normal blood pressure, it helps maintain it healthy.

Nervous system

nervous_System

Nerve cells are sensitive to oxidative stress because they have a high risk of oxygen damage. They require a balanced oxygen metabolism in order to function properly. By lowering the stress, antioxidants from blueberries help nerve cells to work properly. Studies have shown that regular intake of blueberries can improve memory and other cognitive functions and slow down and postpone degradation of nervous system in elderly people.

Other health benefits

blood_sugar

It has been shown that blueberries have a favorable effect on people diagnosed with sugar regulation problems, such as patients with metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. The nutrients from blueberries help in maintaining the balance of blood sugar levels, preventing it to spike too high or drop too low.

The retina of the eye is another part of the body that is at the higher risk of oxidative stress. Blueberries protect retina from oxidative damage and from damage from sunlight as well.

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apple
apple

Apples are one of the most popular fruits in the world. All kinds of apples that we find on our markets today, although they may look different, varying in size and color, belong to the same species, Malus domestica.

It belongs to the Rose family of plants,

which includes many other popular fruits, such as: plums, apricots, peaches, cherries, pears, almonds and raspberries.

The apple is a deciduous tree. Size of the cultivated apple trees ranges from 2 to 5 meters, and wild trees can be up to 12 meters high. The flowers are of white and pale pink color and the fruit matures in late summer and early autumn. They come in all shades of green, red and yellow. The size of the fruit, its color and taste vary according to the needs and preferences of target consumers. Apples are mostly eaten raw, but can be turned into refreshing drinks and tasty desserts.

Major apple producers in the world today are China, which accounts for almost a half of the total apple production, U.S.A. and Turkey, then Poland and Italy.

History of Apple

history_fruits

The apple, Malus domestica, originated from a wild plant species Malus sieversii which grew, and still grows, in Central Asia, on the territories of the countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and China. From there, it has been brought to other parts of Asia, to Europe, and then to North America. Archaeologists have found evidence of human apple consumption from as far back as 6500 B.C. It is thought that the apple tree was the first tree ever to be cultivated; and it has been grown in Asia and Europe for thousands of years now. It was very popular in ancient Greece and Rome.

Apples were brought to North America by European colonists in the 17th century. The first apple orchard in America was planted by a reverend in Boston in 1625. From there, the seeds were dispersed along the Native American trade routes and cultivated on farms across the country.

Apple Juice
Apple Juice

Apple Cider
Apple Cider

Today, there are more than 7 000 varieties of apples, cultivated for various tastes and uses, from eating raw to cooking, juice and cider production.

adam_and_eve_apple

 

Over the history, apples have become incorporated into mythology of many nations as symbols with diverse meanings in different cultures. In Germanic and Norse mythology apples were symbols of fertility and gave gods the eternal youthfulness. In Christianity and many other traditions they appear as forbidden fruit, but that may be a wrong image, created by a translation error. The word „apple“is not actually used in the Bible itself. This popular misconception, that it was the apple that Eve took from the tree of the forbidden fruit and gave to Adam, the act which damned all of humanity, comes from the confusion of Latin words mălum (an evil) and mālum (an apple). The tree of forbidden fruit is „the tree of the knowledge of good and evil“, and the fruit that Eve gave to Adam was „the fruit of evil“, not an apple.

 

Nutrition Value of Apple

apple_nutrition

As all fruits, apples are healthy. But what exactly is in apples that makes them good for your body? They are rich in dietary fibers and vitamin C, low in calories and have almost no saturated fats, cholesterol and sodium. However, the most important chemicals found in apples are its phytonutrients. The most important phytonutrients in apples are polyphenols. They include flavonols (quercetin, kaempferol and myricetin), catechins (epicatechin), anthocyanins (if apples have red skin), chlorogenic acid, phloridizin and some other. They are found both in the pulp and in the skin of an apple.

 

Top 7 Health benefits of Apple

eating_apple

Modern lifestyle brings along with it many diseases as a consequence of fast tempo, increased stress and malnutrition. We are being bombarded by junk food. Junk food restaurants are popping up on every corner and offer cheap prices, which makes fast food a convenient solution in our busy fast lives, but it weakens our bodies. Diseases like atherosclerosis, asthma, cancer and blood sugar regulation are the price we pay. There is a popular saying „An apple a day, keeps the doctor away“and according to the results of increasing number of research experiments, that may just be it. Because apples are being proven to be very healthy and efficient in lowering the risk of the diseases we mentioned above. That is the case thanks to the polyphenols in their pulp and skin. Polyphenols are chemicals found in plants whose 

1. antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions have beneficial effects on the human body as well.

Studies have shown that apples have especially good effects on our

2. cardiovascular system.

That is associated with two aspects of their chemical composition: the water-soluble fiber (pectin) content and their mixture of polyphenols. Regular intake of apples has shown to

 3. lower blood cholesterol levels.

They also provide protection from oxidation to the blood cholesterol molecules and to the cell membranes of the cells in blood vessels’ walls. This way they

4. prevent blood clogging

and

5. lower the risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease.

The polyphenols in apples improve our

6.body’s regulation of blood sugar

at many different levels. Quercetin inhibits the enzymes in our blood that digest carbohydrates. This means that less of the carbohydrates are going to be broken down into simple sugars and less load will be placed on the bloodstream to accommodate more sugar. Polyphenols decrease the rate of glucose absorption from digestive tract into blood and this way lower the amount of sugars in our blood. They stimulate the pancreas to produce more insulin, the chemical whose function is to get the excessive sugar out of our blood.

Researchers have shown that apples have a good influence on several different cancer types, especially breast cancer and colon cancer, but none of them is as remarkable as their beneficial effects on cases of lung cancer. Although all fruits and vegetables lower the risk of lung cancer, apples showed to be especially protective against it.

In addition to these, apples have

7. positive effects in cases of asthma, neurodegenerative diseases and some age related health problems.