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Top Foods for Optimum Health

One of the important things we need to do to ensure a good balance in our lives is to be aware of what we eat.

There are certain foods that contain high amounts of beneficial substances - antioxidant vitamins and minerals and beta-carotene that can help eliminate toxins, boost the immune system and help protect against cancer.

Apples & Pears - yes, the good old apple. These are full of vitamins and minerals and are great for cleansing, good for the skin and the immune system. Pears are high in iodine which can help thyroid function. Apples are good for reducing cholesterol and inflammation.

Bananas - has got to be one of the best all round foods. A great snack to boost your energy and easily digested. A good source of protein and fibre, high in potassium, a natural antibiotic and mildly sedative so good for helping you sleep and with PMS.

Beans & Lentils - a good source of protein for veggies and non-veggies alike. They provide a steady source of energy and contain plant oestrogens which can help stabilize PMS and are even used as an alternative to HRT. They are high in minerals and good for cleansing, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Red(dish) things

Berries: strawberries, raspberries, blackberries etc. - high in antioxidants so good for the immune system.

Beets - cleanses and boosts the immune system, high in antioxidants.

Carrots: great for cleansing, high in Vitamin A, good for the skin, best eaten raw.

Peppers - high in vitamin C and other antioxidant vitamins, good source of zinc, good for the immune system, magnesium - good for energy.

Tomatoes: high in water so good for hydration, lower heart disease, high in antioxidants good for the immune system, lycopene found in cooked tomatoes is good for cancer prevention.

Green stuff

Broccoli: high in vitamins (esp. B and folic acid), minerals and antioxidants, good for cleansing the liver and contains substances that help fight cancer.

Cabbage: good for the digestive system, rich in minerals esp. potassium and phosphorus.

Spinach: a powerful cleanser, good for the immune system, high in calcium - good for bones, teeth and gums, iron - good for the blood, potassium - regulates high blood pressure.

Garlic - good for infections such as colds, antiviral, antiseptic and antibiotic. Reduces cholesterol and is great for boosting the immune system, cleansing the liver and improving the circulation.

Nuts & Seeds - although nuts can be high in calories, they're also high in protein and antioxidant vitamin E, zinc and selenium. Good for an energy snack - best raw not roasted. Seeds - rich in Omega-3 and 6 and a variety of vitamins and minerals, good for the skin, heart disease, cleansing and the immune system.

Oats - highly nutritious, easily digested and a good source of slow-release energy. Try porridge for breakfast with berry fruits. Good for bones and teeth with high levels of calcium and phosphorus. Good for the nervous system and have a relaxing effect, also help to stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce cholesterol.

Oily Fish - such as salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines. High in Omega-3 fatty acids. Good for memory and general brain function, heart disease and inflammatory skin conditions as improving dry skin. High in selenium which detoxifies and protects against cancer.

Soya - like other beans a good source of protein. Reduces blood pressure and cholesterol and good for fighting cancer. Contains plant oestrogens good for hormone related problems in women such as PMS and the menopause. Tofu is high in calcium and iron good for bone health and the circulation.

Yams & Sweet potatoes - good for slow energy release. Contain plant oestrogens so good for those hormone related problems again. High in antioxidant vitamins and minerals good for eliminating heavy metals. Protect against heart disease, cancer and good for the circulation. High in vitamin E which is good for the skin. Minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium good for bones, teeth and gums.

Yogurt - buy only the live, natural version, not the ones full of sugar! Good source of protein and calcium. Easily digested and good for the digestive system, boosts the levels of friendly bacteria especially after antibiotics. Protects the immune system and good for urinary and yeast infection.

Buy fresh, local organic food whenever possible. Organic fruit and vegetables have a higher level of minerals and no residual insecticides or pesticides. I'm off for a healthy breakfast of muesli or possibly porridge and a topping of all the above - well, maybe just the berries!

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