Official figures show that the top three countries in the world with the highest life expectancy currently include Monaco, Japan and Singapore. These are places where residents have a high quality of life, and a healthy diet is an important element of this.
There are certain foods that are more nutritious than others, and many of them have been shown in studies to have a protective effect against a range of diseases. Let’s talk about the best of them.
Edamame, or fresh soybeans, have been a staple in Asian cuisine for generations, but they are now also gaining popularity in the west and Europe. Soybeans are often served as a snack and added to a variety of dishes, from soups to rice dishes.
Beans are rich in isofravones (a type of phytoestrogen), plant compounds that have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-cancer, and antimicrobial properties. Thus, they can help regulate the body’s inflammatory response, slow down cellular aging, fight germs, and also protect against certain cancers.
Edamame is rich in genistein and daidzein. A study last year found that genistein could be used to improve breast cancer. At the same time, the authors of the study note that “lifelong soy consumption is associated with a reduced risk of developing breast cancer,” so we can safely include soybeans in our diet.
Similarly, tofu made from soy also has health benefits. Often found in typical East Asian dishes, tofu can be fried, baked, made into casseroles and desserts.
Tofu is rich in isoflavones, the beneficial properties of which are described above. But it is also a good source of protein and contains all the essential amino acids that aid in protein synthesis.
In addition, tofu is also rich in minerals that keep the body healthy and also provide energy. Tofu is a source of calcium, iron, manganese, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc and copper.
Some experts also suggest that eating tofu can make you feel fuller for longer, so including it in your meals may help prevent overeating.
This popular culinary ingredient is recommended due to its high content of beta-carotene. It can be synthesized into vitamin A, which, according to the National Institutes of Health, is involved in immune function, vision, and reproduction. Our bodies cannot produce vitamin A on their own, so it must be obtained from foods. This pigment is also an antioxidant that can protect the cells in our bodies from damage and aging caused by free radicals.
In addition, studies have shown that foods rich in carotenoids may protect against age-related degeneration and visual damage.
Some varieties of carrots, such as white carrots, do not contain beta-carotene, but they all contain falcarinol, a nutrient that research has shown may protect against cancer.
Raw carrots are best for a healthy diet, however there are ways to cook them that can retain most of the nutrients.
Another important food item is cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, radish, cabbage. They are particularly rich in nutrients, including vitamins C, E, K, folic acid, minerals (potassium, calcium, selenium) and carotenoids (lutein, beta-carotene and zeaxanthin).
Cruciferous vegetables also contain glucosinolates, substances that give them their characteristic pungent taste. These substances have been found to have beneficial effects on the body. Some of them regulate stress and inflammation, have antimicrobial properties, and some even protect against cancer. Kale, broccoli and kale have a protective effect on heart health due to their vitamin K content.
One recent study showed that eating cruciferous vegetables can be a good way to improve brain function. Finally, cruciferous vegetables are an excellent source of soluble fiber, which plays an important role in regulating blood sugar levels and reducing fat absorption, which helps prevent weight gain.
Citrus fruits are the heroes of a healthy diet. Orange, tangerine, lime and other citrus fruits are available all over the world.
For a long time, citrus fruits have been recommended by nutritionists for their high vitamin C content. But experts now say that this type of fruit goes way beyond just vitamin C.
The fruits are rich in sugars, dietary fiber, potassium, folic acid, calcium, thiamine, niacin, vitamin B6, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid. And this is not the whole list of useful substances.
Studies have shown that flavonoids, which are especially rich in citrus fruits, can prevent or reduce chronic diseases caused by obesity, and they also have anti-cancer potential.
Current research suggests that our genetic make-up may be important in regards to which foods are best for our health. So make sure you are following a healthy diet that really suits you.