You are what you eat. Your health is your wealth. An apple a day keeps the doctor away — the list goes on. Snappy little phrases like these have been around for decades, yet do the masses heed their message? While everyone loves a good rhyme scheme, is it enough to keep us from over-indulging too often or ignoring the fact that certain sections of the food pyramid warrant more attention than others?
Exercise and dietary statistics in America are scary enough, but many of the foods we eat are harming our organs and immune system in ways we can't imagine. Worse yet is the ubiquity of such fare. The biggest offenders are the items lining our grocery aisles and gracing the menu pages of our favorite restaurants. Processed foods should only be consumed in very small quantities, but for most, they are a dietary staple.
However it's not all doom and gloom. The good news is that tasty, nutrient-rich, immune boosting foods are plentiful, especially this time of year. For example, dining on a summer salad stocked with calcium-rich arugula, omega-3-packed avocado, and silica-heavy cucumber is an excellent first step in your fight against anything from cancer to the common cold.
Food cannot only help prevent disease; it can also relieve the physical discomfort that accompanies many maladies. Dr. Sue Decotiis, a top doctor concentrated in nutrition and weight management, knows a lot about the power of a healthy diet. She can shed light on the nutrients that lie beneath the skin of our favorite fruits and the shells of our favorite seafood.
Click through the slideshow to discover what foods you should include, and which you should avoid, to keep your body running like the well-oiled machine it was meant to be.
These spiny little spheres pack a nutritious punch. If you have issues regarding digestion, Dr. Decotiis advises a diet rich in artichokes. Chlorogenic acid lives in the vegetables' leaves, and even the ancient Greeks and Romans were aware of its digestive benefits.
Our weight and overall wellbeing is largely determined by the foods we put into our bodies, as well as the bacteria they bring with them. "Prebiotics serve as nourishment to the beneficial bacteria of the intestines," says Dr. Decotiis. So if you want to keep your intestinal flora in check, start adding things like Brussels sprouts, garlic, shallots, onions, and Jerusalem artichokes to your meals. The addition of such ingredients puts you on track to prevent obesity and cardiac disease, plus it boosts the immune system.