As part of a healthy diet, whole foods play a significant role in helping our bodies function their very best.
While there are countless extremely nutritious whole foods, some actually have the power to help you heal from various conditions and diseases. Along with consulting with a doctor and following a healthy lifestyle, of course, including more of the below foods in your diet can have multiple healing effects, from fighting cancer to guarding against heart disease.
What: This tiny, nutrient-dense fruit packs an amazing amount of vitamin C (double the amount found in oranges), has more fiber than apples, and beats bananas as a high-potassium food.
Helps To Heal/Prevent: Heart disease, stroke, cancer, respiratory disease, blood clots, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, oxidative stress and damage to DNA (prompts damaged cells to repair themselves), wounds and sores.
How Much: Aim to eat one to two ripe kiwifruit a day while they’re in season, for the best taste and nutrition. California-grown kiwifruit are in season from October through May, and New Zealand kiwifruit are available between April and November.
What: Cherries boast a wide variety of healing powers, as well as packing a powerful nutritional punch for a relatively low calorie count.
Helps To Heal/Prevent: Inflammation, colon cancer, heart attacks, stroke, arthritis, rheumatism, anemia, gout, tumors and virus/bacterial infections. Plus they’re delicious!
How Much: Aim for a daily serving while they’re in season locally – and buy organic, if possible, since conventionally grown cherries can be high in pesticides. And keep a bag of frozen cherries in your freezer the rest of the year; frozen cherries retain 100 percent of their nutritional value and make a great addition to smoothies, yogurt, and oatmeal.
What: Guavas are a small tropical fruit that can be round, oval, or pear-shaped. They’re not all that common, so they might be hard to find, depending on where you live. But if you can track them down, it’s more than worth it.
Helps To Heal/Prevent: Cancer (thanks to containing more cancer-fighting antioxidant lycopene than any other fruit or veggie), blocked arteries, joint degeneration, nervous system problems, prostate cancer tumors, coronary heart disease, stroke, high cholesterol, high blood pressure.
How Much: Aim to eat fresh guavas (buy the red-fleshed version instead of the white) as often as you can when you can find them in stores. They’re not commonly available in the freezer section; and most guava juices are processed and sweetened, so they don’t provide the same superior nutrition that the whole, fresh fruit does. One to two guavas a day is a good goal.
What: Beans are a miracle food. If you think of fiber, protein, and antioxidants and immediately think whole grains, meat, and fruit, think again – beans offer all three in a single package. Beans are a great source of dietary fiber, protein, and iron. They also contain the amino acid tryptophan; foods with high amounts of tryptophan can help regulate your appetite, aid in sleep, and improve your mood. Many are also rich in folate, which plays a significant role in heart health.
Helps To Heal/Prevent: High cholesterol, elevated blood sugar, digestive disorders (including food poisoning and diarrhea), laryngitis, kidney stones, edema, rheumatism, breast and colon cancer, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Chinese medicine even uses various types of beans to help treat alcoholism!
How Much: Aim for a minimum of two servings of beans per week.
What: Not only is watercress extremely nutritious, it’s about as close as you can get to a calorie-free food. Calorie for calorie, it provides four times the calcium of 2 percent milk. Ounce for ounce, it offers as much vitamin C as an orange and more iron than spinach. It’s packed with vitamin A and has lots of vitamin K, along with multiple antioxidant carotenoids and protective phytochemicals.
Helps To Heal/Prevent: Cancer, macular degeneration, a weakened immune system, bone disorders, tumors, poor vision, gas, jaundice, urinary disorders, sore throat, mumps and bad breath.
How Much: Eat watercress daily if you can – raw if possible, such as in place of lettuce. In some regions, it’s more widely available during the spring and summer, when it’s cultivated outdoors. But you can also generally find it year-round in many grocery stores and at your local farmer’s market.