There are many natural foods that are beneficial for your health. Some of these foods reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Others may protect against certain types of cancer. Some of these foods are rich in antioxidants, which protect the body from harmful free radicals. Here are some examples of such foods.
Table of Contents
Phytonutrients reduce risk of heart disease
Research indicates that a diet high in phytonutrients lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke. However, the exact mechanisms involved are still unknown. While there are population studies that show the beneficial effects of a phytonutrient-rich diet, there are not enough large-scale clinical trials that have been done to confirm these findings. Further, these trials are difficult to conduct and quantify. In addition, phytonutrient supplements have been tried, with mixed results. One reason for this is that they interact with the body differently than the same compounds found in whole foods.
Phytonutrients have an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect. They also improve the immune system and may boost the activity of hormones. Many of these nutrients have also been shown to affect the metabolism of estrogen, a hormone that is known to play an important role in heart disease.
Fiber reduces risk of diabetes
Recent research has shown that consuming a diet rich in dietary fiber can reduce the risk of diabetes. This has implications for both prevention and treatment of diabetes. Specifically, dietary fiber may reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes. It can also lower the amount of fasting blood glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin in the blood.
The study also examined the associations between dietary fiber intake and other outcomes. Specifically, the association between fiber intake and the incidence of a broad range of cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors was found to be statistically significant. The study found that dietary fiber consumption was associated with lower levels of fasting plasma glucose and higher levels of glucose after a 2-h post-load meal.
Folate reduces risk of some cancers
Folate is an essential nutrient that can decrease the risk of some cancers. It has been shown to decrease the risk of bowel, pancreatic and oesophageal cancer, according to a comprehensive report released by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) in 2007. The report estimates that low folate intake in the US and UK contributes to the high risk of these cancers.
Folate plays critical roles in the synthesis of DNA and in DNA methylation. It is also required for the regulation of gene expression. A deficiency in folate may impair DNA integrity and alter the expression of tumour suppressor genes. Numerous epidemiological studies have examined the relationship between folate intake and risk of cancer, indicating that folate intake is associated with a lower risk.
Antioxidants protect against free radicals
Antioxidants are molecules that help the body fight free radicals and fight against oxidative stress. Free radicals are unstable molecules that lack an electron in their outer shell and try to fill it with one from the outside. These free radicals damage cells and can cause a range of health problems. They are also known to damage DNA and proteins in the body. Luckily, antioxidants help your body stop this process by interacting with free radicals and terminating the chain reaction before they damage vital molecules.
Antioxidants are found in many natural foods, including fruits and vegetables. They can also be found in foods with antioxidants like vitamin A, vitamin C, or vitamin E. They are most effective when consumed together. These compounds can act in synergy with one another and other bioactive compounds to help your body fight free radicals.