It is more or less common knowledge that any green vegetable is a healthy food, but it may surprise you to learn that some of the healthiest foods are not green–or even vegetables. Good nutritional health starts with healthy eating, and since no one can eat just vegetables for a balanced diet, other healthy foods must be included. There are undoubtedly other unexpectedly healthy foods, but for this article, there are 5 that are on the top of the list: brown rice, sweet potatoes, young coconut, ginger, and sauerkraut. By understanding the substantial health benefits of these foods, you can begin to include them in your diet and gain from their nutritional power.
The 5 Unexpected Healthiest Foods
The process that makes white rice out of brown rice destroys most of the nutrients found in the latter. Almost 70% of vitamin B3, 80% of B1, practically all of vitamin B6, half or more of the minerals manganese, phosphorus and iron and all of the dietary fiber and essential fatty acids are removed from the rice by milling it completely and bleaching it white. Brown rice contains 20% or more of the recommended daily intake of selenium, magnesium, and tryptophan, and it contains almost 90% of the daily amount of manganese. In addition, brown rice is high in dietary fiber which helps reduce the risk of colon cancer among other things. Whole brown rice also contains oil that actually lowers cholesterol. The next time you are at the store to purchase rice, remember that white rice pales in comparison to brown.
Unlike white potatoes which add a lot of starch to your diet, sweet potatoes are one of the healthiest vegetables available. That they taste so sweet only increases their appeal. One sweet potato has only 95 calories and provides your body with iron, potassium, copper, manganese, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, almost 30% of the daily amount of vitamin C and more than 250% of vitamin A. It is truly a superfood due to its potent antioxidant properties. Antioxidants work to eliminate free radicals, cell-damaging chemicals that lead to conditions like heart disease and cancer. Vitamin A has even been shown to help counteract the effects of secondhand smoke.
Fruit, although extremely healthy, is not usually thought of as life-saving. This is not the case with young coconut. The water found in coconuts is sterile as it takes almost 9 months to filter through it. It is also one of the greatest sources of electrolytes known. Coconut water is also identical to human plasma which makes up 55% of the blood. Drinking it is akin to a blood transfusion and is an excellent blood purifier. Coconuts have to be consumed in their young stage to have the most health benefits. The hard, round, hairy coconuts are not young; rather, a young coconut has a coating around the shell that helps to contain the life-giving water.
In addition to being a spice and a tasty complement to sushi, ginger also has health benefits. Ginger root is used to treat nausea and motion sickness. It can increase the appetite as well as fight body odor. It also helps the body to circulate blood which can be beneficial for people who sufferer from arthritis. Protection of the heart, prevention of stroke and the lowering of cholesterol are other uses of ginger. The root is also known as an antioxidant and is a natural antibiotic. Ginger is also a natural curative for heartburn.
The beneficial bacteria that live in the large intestine are necessary for healthy digestion. Lactic acid is the byproduct of some of these bacteria. Lactic acid keeps the colon in good working shape and maintains the level of acidity needed for a healthy stomach. Unpasteurized sauerkraut helps to keep harmful bacteria out of the intestines by fostering the abundance of lactic acid. It also helps the pancreas do its job, as it is high in enzymes. Hydrochloric acid is what breaks down food. As people age, the body produces less, but lactic acid in unpasteurized sauerkraut helps to compensate for the natural reduction.
Being aware of some of the unexpected healthiest foods will help you make informed choices about your diet. Along with fresh fruits and vegetables, these 5 healthy foods should be included for a sound body and a healthy mind.