Pick up any supermarket magazine and you’re likely to see hype around the latest food trend of the day. From kale to quinoa, there’s a new Superfood every month with wild claims of health benefits flying left and right the secret to long-life seems more attainable than ever.
But separating the facts from the marketing can be difficult, especially when we’re doing the grocery shopping, and trying to balance our budget with our well-being. So we’ve decided to take a closer look at the science behind some of these staples to find you some foods with a real, proven effect on your health.
It might not be the sexiest option among food on the list but this pungent clove is a regular addition to many types of cuisine and offers various proven benefits for the human body. A University of Adelaide study showed 200 mg of garlic daily had a significant effect on the reduction of high blood pressure, while further research also shows it to modestly reduce cholesterol levels. While the benefits of anti-oxidants are hotly disputed, garlic does pack a load as it supports the activity of glutathione, a strong anti-oxidant.
Whether you choose salmon, mackerel or sardines, seafood of this variety is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which contain docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Now saying all of that might be a mouthful, but all you really need to know is that they help your cardiovascular system by regulating your blood pressure and thinning the blood so it circulates better.
Oily fish also shows an ability to reduce the degenerative effects of age with an NHS study showing that oily fish wards off macular degeneration a common cause of old-age blindness. While a 2015 Neuroscience and Biobehavioral meta-review found that it could reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by almost 30%.
Beets are a tough vegetable to deal with; many people avoid them because they’re not sure how to cook them or what kind of dish to add them in. It might be time to start figuring it out adding it to your healthy food list though, because beetroot is a proven performance enhancer.
They contain high doses of iron, folate, nitrates and other minerals and they’ve been proven to reduce blood pressure. A 2014 study conducted on cyclists at high altitude also revealed that the nutrient rich vegetable improves endurance; with casual and moderately active exercisers also receiving moderate performance improvements after ingesting beetroot.
These tiny berries are like nature’s own candy and they don’t just taste good either. High in Vitamin’s K and C, as well as providing a good dose of healthy fibre the health benefits of blueberries aren’t easily ignored.
A 2012 study showed that eating the tiny fruit just once a month can help reduce the risk of heart attack by over 30%. Apparently by softening blood vessels blueberries stop the hardening of arteries which is a contributor to heart attack and stroke. Various studies have also shown them to have an effect on lowering blood pressure.
What’s more they’re easy to get and versatile too you can add them to your breakfasts or carry them around for a quick snack.
These scarlet red globules pack a burst of flavour in every bite, but the health benefits they bring might be just as powerful. The Middle Eastern fruit contains high portions of Vitamin A, C and E as well as iron and antioxidants.
A 2013 study into the effect of pomegranate juice on bone health in mice, revealed that the fruit has a significant effect in strengthening bones and reducing osteoporosis, while our bodies may be different these results usually have come carry-over.
A 2006 study also showed that daily pomegranate consumption is linked to a lowered risk of prostate cancer due to the rare Omega-5 acids they contain. Finally if you’re worried about your heart, pomegranates have been shown to improve blood flow and circulation thereby reducing the risk of heart attack. Now that’s some food for thought!