"Superfood" is a buzzword that is often heard to describe foods that are packed with nutrition, anti-oxidants, and health benefits. To name a food as being a superfood is suggesting that it can better your health in ways that other foods cannot. Three superfoods that have gained a lot of attention lately are turmeric, ginger, and carrots. All three of these contain antioxidants to help fight diseases such as heart disease, inflammation and diabetes.
While the leaves in turmeric are used in Chinese and Indian medicine, the root of turmeric contains the spice. While turmeric is well known for its healing properties, it is also a great addition to many dishes.
The curcumin in the turmeric is the healing agent. It is estimated to have about 150 various health benefits, such as immune system boosting, heart protection, and lessening the negative effects of autoimmune diseases. Turmeric can also help with Alzheimer's disease by reversing cognitive decline, increase heart health by improving the risk factors for heart disease, similar to the benefits provided by aerobic exercise, joint pain relief, and help heal skin wounds and prevent infection.
Ginger, originated in Asia, grows underground and has become widely known as a medicinal plant as well as a flavor enhancer. It is very aromatic and has a warm essence that can be turned into spices. Using ginger in everyday products such as tea can be healing in several ways.
Ginger extract may kill cancer cells while also leaving the healthy cells alive. Because it is an anti-inflammatory, ginger may also prevent the progression of malignant cells.
Ginger works well with inflammation by lessening the pain of diseases such as arthritis. It also helps with muscle soreness and reduces swelling. A common use for ginger is to decrease nausea. It is a digestion aid that can soothe stomach troubles that lead to nausea.
This can be great for pregnant women who are looking for a natural cure for their morning sickness, or people who tend to get nauseous while in motion, such as on a plane. It eliminates gas in the intestines and soothes the intestinal tract.
Ginger has even been shown to be more effective in the treatment of motion sickness than over the counter medications such a Dramamine.
Ginger may also help with diabetes, as studies have shown that 2 grams of ground ginger decreased diabetes patients’ fasting blood sugar by 12%. Ginger may improve memory by enhancing brain function such as attention and cognitive processing capabilities.
Carrots provide many health benefits, aside from their high natural sugar content. Their most prominent nutrient is beta-carotene, which is not created by the body. Beta-carotene helps to maintain vision, keep respiratory systems health, regulates skin cell growth and helps to control protein production. Beta-carotene is also a strong antioxidant.
Phytonutrients found in carrots, such as lutein and anthocyanins, are some of the most beneficial minerals to the human body. Research has shown that carotenoids can even expand lifespan. The different types of antioxidants in carrots work together to provide us with heart benefits that we cannot get from antioxidants alone. The synergy provided by carrots creates a whole food that is unique in its source of nourishment.
Carrots also help prevent heart disease. Research has shown that yellow and orange foods have the most benefit on heart health and eating more carrots can reduce the risk of heart disease.
Carrots also help to fight cancer with their phytonutrients like falcarinol and falcarindiol, which may decrease inflammation by clumping red blood cells, which decreases the risk of developing cancerous tumors.
It is well known that carrots help vision by converting beta-carotene into vitamin A. Eating carrots prevents a deficiency in vitamin A while also protecting against macular degeneration and cataracts.