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NATURE'S CURES; FOODS TO BOOST OUR HEALTH ARE ALL AROUND US FROM THE CARROT TO THE HUMBLE BERRY.

Byline: Morag Maxwell

MOTHER Nature has her own pharmacy.

Our body's organs require effective nutrition in order to function at their optimum level.

However, certain foods actually benefit specific parts of the body.

Ever wondered if carrots will help you to see in the dark?

Why did Cleopatra indulge in baths of milk? Is it simply a natural coincidence that the little kidney bean is shaped like the human kidney?

Nature has all the answers and even matched the shape of some wonderful foods to the organ most beneficial to them. The walnut, for example, is shaped like the human brain.

There appear to be two hemispheres and a wrinkly structure resembling the cortex.

Extensive scientific evidence points to the brain-boosting properties induced by this superfood.

The US Department of Agriculture's Human Nutrition Research Centre discovered that a diet regularly containing the 'brain nut' can reverse brain degeneration and other brain-related ailments. The study also noted an improvement in the development of motor and cognitive abilities in rats.

Many foods will help each body part to fight disease and remain strong and healthy. There is much truth in the saying 'healthy body, healthy mind' and the following foods will encourage both from inside...

EYE SEE YOU

CARROTS, cabbage, lettuce and apricots are full of vitamin A - essential for healthy peepers.

And yes, it's the beta carotene in carrots that has been proven to boost night vision. Spinach contains lutein to protect against eye disease, cataracts and visual degeneration.

Sulphur in garlic and onions makes the lens more resilient, while eggs, salmon, sardines and broccoli fight cataracts.

HAPPY HEART

CHOLESTEROL-busters are vital for a happy heart.

Apples, in particular, contain a specific flavonoid that seems to prevent the accumulation of cholesterol in the blood.

Other top foods that prevent build-up include garlic, plums, prunes, brown rice and oats.

Lecithin is a natural substance derived from the soy bean, which can help to reduce cholesterol when in cereals or salads.

SMOOTH DIGESTION

HEALTHY excretion is essential for general health and well-being.

Choose highfibre foods such as wholemeal breads, rice, cereals, apples and red and green veg. Beans and unsalted seeds and nuts all assist nature's cleansing process.

BRAIN BOOSTERS

TOP of the list is wild salmon and, of course, walnuts. Both contain omega-3 fatty acids, which will boost both mood and brain function.

The humble blueberry has been hailed the 'brain berry' and will also assist healthy brain activity.

Others include eggs and broccoli for improved memory, while wholegrain products assist blood flow to the brain and promote healthy circulation.

FLEXI-JOINTS

IF you suffer from arthritis, eat pineapple.

It contains bromelain, which can reduce inflammation.

Other effective foods to increase flexibility and reduce pain include red peppers, ginger, sesame seeds and oily fish such as tuna, sardines and mackerel. If you can handle it, raw cabbage juice reduces swelling and arthritic pain.

BONE BUILDERS

WE sang it when we were children. "Them bones, them bones need calcium" - and indeed they do.

Calcium-rich foods such as low-fat dairy products, green vegetables, kale, spinach and broccoli all help to replenish the skeletal system. Sodiumrich rhubarb, bok choy and celery are also beneficial.

These are all helpful in fighting osteoporosis, which causes fractured and broken bones.

HIS & HERS FOODS

EATING one avocado a week can help to balance female hormones and shed unwanted birth weight.

Aubergines, pears and nuts are also good for a woman's overall health as are olives, which are said to boost ovary function.

Research also believes in the power of figs and that they might encourage a healthy sperm count in men.

CLEOPATRA SKIN

BEAUTIFUL skin is an indicator of inner health and outer beauty.

Cleopatra knew about the nourishing properties of milk and honey which, along with eggs, bananas and green veg, will give you a glow more effective than any skin cream.

Low-fat dairy products contain high levels of vitamin A to strengthen elasticity and salmon and walnuts will help to moisturise and soften.

WE CAN TELL WHAT IS GOOD FOR US BY LOOKING AT THE SHAPE OF WHAT WE EAT

IT appears that Nature left clues because the foods that benefit a certain body part often resemble it in shape and structure.

Walnuts truly are a super food and resemble a little brain with both hemispheres and a wrinkly structure imitating the cortex. They've been proven to improve brain function

Onions look like body cells and research has shown they clear waste from the body. They even produce tears, which can release stress hormones from the eye

Tomatoes resemble the heart's structure - they have four red chambers - and, yes, they help boost the flow of blood through the arteries.

A sliced carrot looks like the human eye and improves blood flow to the eyes, greatly assisting night vision.

Kidney beans have the obvious shape of the kidney and maintain healthy kidney function.

Sweet potatoes resemble the pancreas and can help to balance the glycemic index for diabetics.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 2, 2011
Words:829
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