GOOD THINGS COME IN 3s – BANANAS, BERRIES & BEETS
Hi everyone and welcome to another WHAT’S ON THE #MENU MONDAY. These blogs are dedicated to all the fabulous foods everywhere that are so good for our health. And, of course, today’s blog is no different. For today we’re profiling 3 common foods that are plentiful, delicious and loaded with Health Promoting nutrients and vitamins.
First up in our TRIO OF SUPERFOODS:
Bananas are grown in over 107 countries and are one of the most widely consumed fruits in the world. In fact, in America we consume more bananas than apples and oranges combined – which is a really good thing because the banana is one of the most nutritional foods we can eat. And, this is why:
PROMOTE HEART HEALTH. Bananas are rich in potassium, which helps protect our vascular system by working in opposition to sodium – a substance that can wreak havoc on our blood pressure. In addition, potassium helps balance our other body fluids and PH levels. When we add fiber, vitamin C and vitamin B6 to the potassium, we have a great recipe for supporting overall heart health. Together these compounds lower hypertension and protect against heart attack and stroke.
FIGHT CANCER. The vitamin C in a banana is a great antioxidant that helps combat the formation of cancer causing free radicals. Specifically, bananas are believed to lower our risk for colon cancer and some studies indicate that consuming bananas in the first two years of life may reduce the risk of developing childhood leukemia.
SUPPORT DIGESTIVE HEALTH. Thanks to its fiber and potassium content, bananas help aid our digestion. They help us feel full, they keep us regular and they provide electrolytes that help treat indigestion, nausea and diarrhea.
BOOST MEMORY AND MOOD. Bananas contain tryptophan. Now this is an amino acid that turns into serotonin once it enters our brain. Serotonin, of course, is one of our “feel good” chemicals that plays a role in learning and memory AND fights depression. Our body also uses serotonin to produce melatonin – a hormone that helps regulate our sleep and boost our mood.
Well, this is no surprise. We discuss the benefits of berries often. They’re delicious, nutritious and so versatile in a daily diet. It’s once again on our list of Superfoods and here’s why:
GREAT FOR OUR HEART. The chemical compounds and antioxidants in berries fight the systemic inflammation that can accompany high blood pressure. When we lower our blood pressure our risk for heart disease – particularly if it runs in the family – is lowered significantly. This reduces our risk for heart attack and stroke and appears to modify the gene known as 9p21, which is known to be related to heart disease.
FIGHT CANCER. Once more, berries are packed with flavonoids and antioxidants that help prevent cancer. Our risk for colon cancer in particular is lowered. These compounds fight cancer causing free radicals, support our immune system and inhibit the growth of new cancer cells.
BOOST OUR BRAIN. Berries contain anthocyanidins – a type of flavonoid. Now, this flavonoid is found almost exclusively in berries. It’s known to cross the blood-brain barrier and locate itself in the learning and memory centers of the brain. This stimulates these parts of our brain and results in mental alertness, strong neural pathways, improved memory and cognitive skills. And, the polyphenolics protect against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease by preventing the buildup of toxins.
PREVENT ILLNESS. In addition to all the above, when consumed twice a week the flavonoids in berries lower one’s risk for developing Parkinson’s disease by 25 percent. The sugar content of berries combined with the fiber makes this fruit a diabetic-friendly food that helps balance insulin levels. And, the rich nutrients in berries such as cranberries and blueberries are very effective in preventing and fighting urinary tract infections.
Here we have a root vegetable that is best known for its deep scarlet color. And over time, the beet also has gained a reputation for being one of the healthiest veggies around. Here’s why:
PROTECT OUR HEART. Beets are a great source of betaine and folate. Together these two nutrients protect our arteries from inflammation and help lower homocysteine levels in the body, which lead to an increase for heart disease. The fiber content of the beet helps regulate cholesterol and triglycerides levels. And, the potassium in beetroot helps dilate blood vessels and regulate blood pressure throughout our body.
FIGHT CANCER. The phytonutrients that give the beet its dark red color also help protect us from cancer. These nutrients have high levels of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds that protect against harmful free radicals and carcinogens. Betaine in particular is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that is so important in fighting cancer. Beetroot as well is known to inhibit tumor growth and beet juice helps detoxify and protect body cells with its nutrients.
BOOST EYE HEALTH. Beet greens are a rich source of lutein, an antioxidant that helps protect our eyes from age related macular degeneration and cataracts. These leafy greens also contain a variety of phytochemicals that protect our vision and improve the nerve tissues of the eye. And, the beta carotene in the beet converts into vitamin A, which further protects our eyes, our immune system and our skin and mucous membranes.
ENHANCE MENTAL HEALTH. Eating beets produces nitric oxide, which increases and improves the blood flow to all body parts, including our brain. This results in more blood to the brain in the white matter of the frontal lobes and helps fight dementia in older people. The folate in the beet also plays a crucial role in maintaining mental and emotional health.
So, that’s it for today. 3 SUPERFOODS to keep you going strong. DELICIOUS, NUTRITIOUS and BOUNTIFUL BANANAS, BERRIES and BEETS. Add them to your diet today and enjoy flavor and wonderful taste as you protect your body from illness and disease.
As always, thanks for joining me everyone. Until next time stay in GOOD HEALTH and . . .