Food is not what we first think of as a disease-fighting tactic. But there are some foods that are considered to be extremely powerful in fighting the symptoms of certain diseases. Some of these foods include leafy greens such as spinach, antioxidant-rich blueberries and strawberries, as well as heart-healthy avocados.
Eating healthily is encouraged by many private medical aid schemes in South Africa, and for good reason. Below are just some of the top disease-fighting foods that you can add to your daily menu today.
Spinach is packed with carotenoids like beta-carotene and is one of the best vegetables you can include in your diet. It can help to decrease diabetes by 14 percent and is known for providing lutein and zeaxanthin for eye and retina health.
Kale and chard have darker leaves, which means they are high in iron and other necessary minerals needed for good health. If you do not enjoy the taste or smell of cooked spinach, you can add kale or baby spinach to a smoothie blend of berries, nut butter or yoghurt for a delicious way to start the day.
In the warmer months, many people enjoy delicious bowls of berries and yoghurt as breakfast or a snack. And the best berries to include in these dishes are blueberries. This is because of their elevated levels of flavonoids and antioxidants, which help with improving memory and lowering triglycerides.
Almost all berries are great for boosting your antioxidant levels, but blueberries come out tops in terms of health benefits. They are lower in calories than other berries (hurray for a guilt-free snack), they help to protect against cancer and they help to reduce memory loss. Add a handful or two to a bowl of full cream yoghurt as a healthy breakfast or blend them up with some mint, bananas and almond butter for a powerhouse smoothie.
Private medical aid schemes in South Africa encourage healthy eating, and one of the healthiest fruits that you can eat is the avocado. These creamy, green fruits provide a large amount of healthy fats which are essential for healthy development, as well as nutrients like vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, and folate.
Avocados have more than four grams of fibre in them which is great for digestive health and regularity and they contain monounsaturated fats which makes them ideal for heart health. You can eat avocados on toast topped with Himalayan salt, pepper and chilli flakes or you can add chunks to a salad. To dress up a piece of fish or chicken, create a salsa with avocado, tomato and mint with a fresh squeeze of lime for extra zing.
The deep purple hue of beetroot is an eye-catching element in any dish, but this root vegetable is more than just a pretty face. Beets are loaded with antioxidants (as are all fruits and vegetables with purple hues) and are full of fibre and Vitamin C.
If you are stumped for ideas on how to incorporate beetroot in your meals, try finely grating raw beets into salads for some earthy crunch. Try to avoid the pickled versions, as these have added sugar and preservatives. You can also roast beets along with parsnips and pumpkin pieces for a delicious side dish. Beetroot leaves can be washed and prepared just like chard or kale, too.
We know all about the benefits of blueberries, but did you know that raspberries provide over 25 percent of your daily Vitamin C and manganese intake? These sweet, tart little jewels are incredibly juicy and delicious and also have the added benefit of having important antimicrobial properties.
Raspberries can be eaten by the handful on their own, but if you want to temper their tartness, you can add them to a fruit salad or to a salad of baby spinach, shaved parmesan, medium-rare steak and balsamic vinegar. If you prefer to drink your fruits, add half a cup of raspberries to a fruit smoothie of blueberries, nut butter, banana and apple. Raspberries make a perfect addition to fruit waters. All you need to do is add a few to an ice tray, top with water and freeze for ice blocks with flavour.
Eat your way to better health
If you want to sign up for any of the private medical aid schemes in South Africa, you will need to undergo a health check first. And what better way to improve your health than by eating some delicious “superfoods”? Spinach, raspberries, blueberries, beetroot and avocado are all perfect options to choose from or you can include all of them in your new diet. Be sure to eat the right sized portion for your weight and don’t overdo sugary fruits if you want to maintain your weight.