10 FUNCTIONAL FOODS: FOODS THAT HEAL?
Foods that heals
While healing from an illness or surgery, the foods and drinks you eat may either assist or delay your recovery.
Many foods, such as fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and protein sources, have been demonstrated to lower inflammation, boost immune function, promote healing, and give the fuel essential for you to get back on the road to health again.
Every year, winter brings its share of sicknesses, and the months of January and February can seem particularly difficult in the eyes of many. Indeed, the frenzy of the holiday season has passed; these months are often synonymous with fatigue or low energy. However, there are certain ways to counter these ailments in a natural way! With a little exploration, you can discover what is good for you and integrate these healing foods into your daily life.
What is a functional or curative food?
In addition to their basic nutritional properties, foods that are healing or functional, sometimes are called “super foods”, contain other beneficial elements for health. There are many different types of "functional foods." They're all part of the normal diet, but they also have psychological benefits and lower the risk of getting chronic diseases. Functional foods could notably help prevent and reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as well as reduce health problems such as hypertension and gastrointestinal disorders.
Surprisingly, a lot of foods are considered functional, but behind these trending terms are foods that regularly end up on your plates.
We have analyzed broccoli, cauliflower, ginger, chickpeas, turmeric, lemon, asparagus, oats, garlic and carrot for you. In this article, we will be examining 10 healing foods and their benefit
10 healing foods and their benefits for the body
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that belongs to the cabbage family. Cultivated in most countries of the world, this variety of cabbage is actually native to southern Italy. However, it is China which is at the forefront of the production of this vegetable. On the other hand, Arctic Gardens broccoli is produced in Quebec. Although it is little loved by children, it is part of the diet of many families. Its medicinal virtues are also numerous.
A vegetable that's good for the eyes
Broccoli contains a considerable amount of lutein , which is said to help in the protection of eyesight and the health of our eyes. Lutein protects in particular against the formation of cataracts, has antioxidant properties and filters blue light. Very useful for those who spend a lot of time in front of screens.
Eating a lot of broccoli would also help strengthen the immune system, because it is a vegetable that contains a significant amount of vitamin C. This green vegetable would therefore fight effectively against winter ailments and colds.
- Would help prevent muscle cramps
- Would be excellent for the memory
- Slow cognitive decline
- Protect men from the risk of prostate cancer
- Prevent the onset of breast cancer in women
- How to incorporate broccoli into your recipes
We can also use broccoli as an accompaniment to a meal or integrate it directly into our recipe. This vegetable is quite versatile and it can be eaten in countless forms and textures, even in desserts.
Cauliflower, like broccoli, belongs to the cruciferous family. It was introduced to Western Europe in the 1500s, and at the time it was considered a vegetable of choice. It was not until 1830 that its culture developed in France. Nowadays, this vegetable grows everywhere and can be eaten all year round.
A good vegetable against certain cancers
Cauliflower would, among other things, reduce the risk of contracting cancer, thanks to the presence of glucosinolates and sulforaphanes.
These compounds are not only able to prevent certain cancers, but also to fight those of genetic origin. Specifically, cauliflower would offer protection against cancers of the bladder, prostate, breast, colon, skin, ovaries and blood. It can also prevent the cancer from coming back or spreading through the presence of chemotherapy drugs.
- Would help fight inflammation
- Prevent heart disease
- Prevent osteoarthritis
How to incorporate cauliflower into your recipes
This vegetable can be very tasty when properly prepared and it turns out to be very versatile. Try it in your vegetarian dumplings, in rice or even as a pizza crust! Cauliflower is a great alternative for vegetarians or those who don't eat gluten.
Ginger is a perennial plant native to India. In cooking and traditional medicine, it is not the whole plant that is used, but only the rhizome . The rhizome is the underground stem filled with food reserves of certain perennials, including ginger. Regularly used as a spice, ginger is very popular in Asian cuisine, especially Indian cuisine.
A plant good for the stomach
It is well known, ginger is a great ally of pregnant women or people suffering from motion sickness. Indeed, it would help naturally fight nausea. Some compounds in ginger are believed to adhere to receptors in cells in the small intestine, blocking the action of chemicals that cause nausea. Ginger is also said to be very effective against indigestion problems.
- Alleviate the pain associated with menstrual cramps
- Soothe cold symptoms
- Would relieve sore throat
How to incorporate ginger into your recipes
Ginger will flavor your dishes by adding a little Asian flavor. Try it in stir-fries, sauces, smoothies, or even herbal teas. You can either grate a piece of fresh ginger or get some powdered ginger.
The chickpea is a kind of plant in the legume family. Native to the eastern Mediterranean, this plant is cultivated for its edible seed, commonly known as chickpea. Its culture does not require a very rich soil; the chickpea grows very well in dry soils, as in Spain, Turkey, and India or in the south of France.
A good legume against bad cholesterol
A daily serving of chickpeas would reduce bad cholesterol by 5%, according to a study by John Sievenpiper carried out on 1037 people. Among its other virtues, chickpea also act as a tonic, help digestion and the health of the intestinal flora and boost morale thanks to tryptophan, an amino acid that helps fight depression. Perfect to fight against the drop in morale that winter brings!
How to incorporate chickpeas into your recipes
Main food of hummus and falafels, chickpeas are also excellent in salads or in Indian dishes. They go very well with all kinds of spices, but especially with curry, paprika or just salt and pepper.
Like ginger, turmeric is a perennial plant, and it is through its powdered rhizomes that the spice as we know it is extracted. The turmeric plant is native to India and Malaysia and is an integral part of oriental cuisine. Elsewhere in the world, it is mainly because of its many medicinal properties that turmeric is the subject of several studies.
A spice with anticarcinogenic virtues
Turmeric is said to be very effective against certain cancers, such as breast or pancreatic cancer. The consumption of turmeric would also help in the decline of cancer cells. Due to the curcumin it contains, turmeric is said to be a powerful antioxidant, that is, it would protect our body against oxidation and thus allow general well-being and better health.
- It stimulates digestion and bile secretion
- Anti-inflammatory (good for osteoarthritis, heartburn, acne, etc.)
How to incorporate turmeric into your recipes
In terms of spiciness, the taste of turmeric is somewhere between that of chili pepper and ginger. Rich in flavors, it can be used in both sweet and savory dishes!
- The lemon
Fruit of the lemon tree, lemon is a citrus fruit with several healing properties. While researchers have long believed that it came from the Indo-Burmese region or China, it was more likely to originate from the Mediterranean region. Today, the lemon is mainly cultivated in India, Mexico, Argentina, China and Brazil.
Citrus fruit good for the immune system
The lemon acts as an antiseptic and antibacterial. Ally of the immune system, it would be particularly effective in combating disorders of the nose, throat and ear, such as the flu, tonsillitis, bronchitis, ear infections, etc. In short, it is said to be very practical for treating winter ailments.
- Prevent the appearance of certain cancers (esophagus, stomach, colon, mouth, pharynx, etc.)
How to incorporate lemon into your recipes
Lemon is a citrus fruit widely used in cooking. It goes very well with several types of fish, such as salmon or haddock, but also with chicken and vegetables. It also makes delicious dressings for salads.
Cultivated as vegetable plant in France since the 15 th century, asparagus is a perennial plant native to the eastern Mediterranean. The edible part of the plant comes from the rhizomes from which the underground buds start which give rise to stems rising between 1 and 1.5 meters from the ground. Neither requiring very rich soils, asparagus is today widely cultivated in many countries and on all continents.
A vegetable that's good for the gut
Asparagus is a fibrous vegetable with draining properties, which allows the intestines to properly eliminate toxins. The significant presence of inulin is beneficial for the digestive system, because it would promote the proper functioning of our intestines. In fact, asparagus would optimize intestinal transit.
- Prevent cardiovascular disease
- Prevent certain cancers (lung, colon, uterus, etc.)
- It helps in the formation of the fetus in pregnant women
How to incorporate asparagus into your recipes
Most of the time, asparagus is eaten as a side dish with a vinaigrette, but nothing prevents you from incorporating it into your recipes! It goes very well with eggs, white meat, a salad, mild cheeses, etc.\
Oats are a species of plant known only in the cultivated state which is said to have appeared in Central Europe a very long time ago. It was first used primarily as food for animals, and only recently has it been used as a cereal. Oats grow in rich soil and require a lot of fertilizer or manure. Today, Canada is the second largest producer in the world, just after Russia.
A cereal good for hunger
Oats are high in protein and very high in fiber, making them the ultimate satiating food. Combined with fruit, it makes for a healthy breakfast that will keep you energized for the rest of the day.
- Reduce cholesterol
- Reduce blood sugar
How to incorporate oats into your recipes
Other than for your breakfast, oats can be incorporated into many recipes, such as muffins, veggie patties, smoothies and even dips! In addition, it is gluten free.
Originally from Central Asia, garlic is a perennial vegetable plant. It has been used in cooking and medicine for 5,000 years in the Mediterranean region, particularly in Egypt. The part consumed is the "head of garlic" which is made up of several cloves. For its strong taste, garlic is often used as a condiment in several countries.
A plant good for the digestive system and against colds
Like asparagus, garlic contains a large amount of inulin and therefore helps digestion, while promoting the development of the intestinal flora.
Thanks to its phenolic acids, garlic acts as a powerful antiseptic for the digestive system and the respiratory system. Garlic is also said to have a preventive and therapeutic effect against colds. This is because it is packed with vitamins A, B, C and E and also contains allicin, an antibiotic molecule. It would thus make it possible to treat respiratory tract infections.
- Prevent certain cancers (stomach, colon, rectum, etc.)
How to incorporate garlic into your recipes
Garlic is present in almost all of our dishes: whether chopped, clove or mashed, it adds flavor! Did you know that the green stalk of garlic is also edible when fresh? It cooks like a leek, by melting it in a pan.
- The carrot
The carrot is a plant of the apiaceae family that is widely cultivated for its root, that is to say the edible orange part commonly called the carrot. Consumed as a vegetable, the carrot is the second most widely cultivated root vegetable in the world, just after the potato. His ancestor would come from Iran.
A vegetable that's good for the skin
The carrot is found to be very rich in beta-carotenes, that is to say; in provitamin A, and would act as a powerful antioxidant, which would slow down the aging of the skin and improve its condition. In addition, the carrot would promote healing and strengthen our resistance to ultraviolet rays.
- Excellent for eyesight, especially night vision
- Reduce the risk of degeneration and cataracts
How to incorporate carrots into your recipes
In mash, soup, and stir-fry or even in a cake, the carrot is probably the most versatile of vegetables! There are many varieties of carrots of all colors and, added to your dishes, they will brighten up your plates.
Although a balanced diet is essential all year round, it is even more true during the winter. Indeed, we need a lot of vitamins and nutrients to keep fit during the cold season. Incorporating functional foods into your diet is the best way for our body to face winter!