Top 10 Most Underrated Health Foods

Top 10 Most Underrated Health Foods

Posted By Darya Pino On March 27, 2013 @ 6:00 am In Health | 38 Comments

http://summertomato.com/top-10-most-underrated-health-foods/

We already know that food manufacturers and the media tend to exaggerate the benefits of popular health foods, but what about all the wonderfully healthy foods they ignore?

It’s time to shine the spotlight on 10 of my favorite healthy foods that never get the attention they deserve.

Top 10 Most Underrated Health Foods

1. Oysters

Per calorie, oysters are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet, and are particularly high in essential omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, which is notoriously tough to get from food.

Also, because oysters lack a central nervous system and are 95% of the world’s supply are sustainably farmed, some vegetarian thought leaders have argued that oysters can be included in the diet as an ethical source of natural vitamin B12 (present in significant quantities only in animal foods).

2. Sauerkraut & kimchi

I’m the first to admit that fermented foods can be a little pungent, but that doesn’t preclude them from tasting delicious and being one of the healthiest things you can eat. In a recent conversation I had with Michael Pollan, he suggested that a lack of fermented foods is one of the most notable differences between the Western diet and all other successful diets throughout history. This is a point worth considering.

Traditionally, fermentation has been used to preserve foods, but it also serves to increase nutritional value and add friendly bacteria to the gut. These healthy microbes help with digestion and nutrient absorption, and without them our gut health deteriorates substantially, setting the stage for many chronic diseases.

3. Dark & organ meats

People often demonize meats, especially the darker varieties, for their fat content and overlook how nutritious they are. Of course they are relatively higher in calories as well, which is why you don’t need to eat very much in a sitting. But fear of saturated fat shouldn’t deter you from enjoying the occasional piece of fatty meat every now and then. Organ meats in particular, like liver and kidney, are rich sources of essential nutrients. And they can be delicious when prepared properly.

4. Seaweed

Okinawa is a small island in Southern Japan that is home to some of the longest lived people on earth. Sea vegetables are a staple of the traditional Okinawan diet, and are thought to be responsible for many aspects of health. Seaweed is also a good source of iodine for people who prefer to use high-end sea salts or kosher salt for cooking, which typically lack iodine. I make an effort to eat seaweed often and try as many different kinds as I can get my hands on.

5. Egg yolks

I realize I might be beating a dead horse with this one, but until I stop seeing friends and family throwing out perfectly good egg yolks I’m just going to keep drilling home this point. Egg consumption is not associated with heart disease, and for some people they improve blood lipids. Also, you’re throwing away so much goodness. And keep in mind that if you buy fresh, pastured eggs (hens frolicking in grass eating bugs—find them at your local farmers market) then nutrient values will be significantly higher than conventional eggs.

6. Beans & lentils

My favorite thing about last year’s biggest diet trend, The 4-Hour Body, is that Tim made beans and lentils cool to eat. I’ve been telling readers this for years, and finally people are listening, but there are still a lot of folks out there who don’t appreciate how wonderful they really are.

For myself and many others, weight loss is much easier when I include beans and lentils as opposed to eliminating carbohydrates completely. Plus they fill you with energywithout the bloating and other negative effects that can sometimes come from grains. They’re also a great source of iron, folate and other essential nutrients.

7. Root vegetables

Root vegetables are right up there with the green leafys in my book. In fact, many of them are from the same cruciferous family. I never come home from shopping without at least one bunch of radishes, salad turnips or carrots. I also have a lot of love for beets, sunchokes and even all the different kinds of potatoes. Vegetables don’t need to be green to be good for you.

8. Coffee

Many people view their morning brew as a vice, but in reality coffee is a healthy beverage. Coffee is one of the best sources of polyphenols and antioxidants in many people’s diets, and has been proven to protect against liver disease, type 2 diabetes, and a host of other diseases. The biggest problem most people have with coffee is confusing the brew itself with the creamy, sugary drinks that are closer to milkshakes than the beverage studied by scientists in the studies I linked to above. And the only real risk of too much coffee is that it can upset your sleep.

9. Hard cheese

Yes, I just called cheese healthy. But of course I’m not talking about the processed American “cheese” that may or may not contain milk. Sadly, I’m not even talking aboutburrata.

Hard cheeses that have been aged (think parmesan and asiago) are the most significant dietary source of vitamin K2, a nutrient that has been shown to protect againstheart disease and cancer. Like meat, cheese has a lot of calories so you still have to be careful with how much you eat. But it’s important to understand that cheese is not just empty calories, and in reasonable amounts it can actually be good for you.

10. Mushrooms

American’s tend to view mushrooms as neutral foods, but they been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Though there really isn’t enough evidence to make conclusive statements about the health benefits of all mushrooms, many compounds have been identified in mushrooms that show potential for boosting immunity and possibly protecting against cancer. Mushrooms are also an unappreciated source of vitamins and minerals, and shouldn’t be ignored as low calorie sponges that only go on pizza.

What are your favorite unappreciated health foods?

 

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Cancer Research’s 40th anniversary

It’s been 40 years since President Richard Nixon signed the National Cancer Act in 1971, the historic legislation that focused attention — and perhaps more importantly, government funding — on the need to research and find treatments for cancer.

 

A lot has changed in the past four decades. The disease that doctors thought they knew then is very different from the cancer they’re studying today. For one thing, scientists have a much better understanding that cancer isn’t simply one disease in which cells suddenly start to grow out of control, but rather hundreds of different diseases. In fact, according to the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Cancer Progress Report, cancer is actually more like 200 distinct diseases, each spurred on by slightly different causes and requiring different treatments.

 

And instead of focusing so slavishly on the tumors themselves, as experts did initially, researchers have enlarged the window through which they study cancer, allowing the consideration of other critical features, such as how the patient’s own makeup might affect the disease. Scientists also look at how tumors tend to co-opt their environment for their own pathological needs, turning healthy tissues into diseased ones in a process that makes cancer increasingly difficult to control.

Great TIME Article written by Alice Park
Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2011/09/21/cancer-researchs-40th-anniversary-how-far-have-we-come/

 

Researchers at MIT’s Lincoln Lab have developed technology that may someday cure the common cold, influenza

New drug could cure nearly any viral infection Researchers at MIT’s Lincoln Lab have developed technology that may someday cure the common cold, influenza and other ailments.

http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2011/antiviral-0810.html

Most bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics such as penicillin, discovered decades ago. However, such drugs are useless against viral infections, including influenza, the common cold, and deadly hemorrhagic fevers such as Ebola.

Now, in a development that could transform how viral infections are treated, a team of researchers at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory has designed a drug that can identify cells that have been infected by any type of virus, then kill those cells to terminate the infection.

The FDA plans to oversee some mobile medical devices.

New FDA guidelines state that in some cases software developers would have to show their apps worked as well as non-mobile devices for the same use. The agency would have to provide clearance for those apps before they could be sold.

FDA officials said they recognized the potential benefits from mobile medical apps and aimed to encourage future development. “At the same time, we need to make sure these things are also safe and effective,” Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, head of the agency’s medical device center, said in an interview.

Medical apps are sold for devices such as Apple Inc’s iPad and iPhone, Blackberry phones sold by Research In Motion, and phones run with Google Inc’s Android software.

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