Food will stand to the promise—when you want to slash heart disease risk, prevent diabetes, cancer and other health problems.
Even in today’s time, there are few civilizations who live a long life and have a lower chance of chronic disease.
You can find some of the healthiest and longest living population in Ikaria (Greece), Okinawa (Japan), Sardinia (Italy), Loma Linda (California) and Nicoya Peninsula (Costa Rica).
What’s The Secret Of Their Health?
Choose any of the healthiest population, you will find one thing common, it’s their diet. Major of their food intake is from beans, fruits, and vegetables. The reason behind their health is the food choice that provides them double the antioxidants, calcium, a good amount of protein and other nutrients.
The modern diet is a rich source of calorie but doesn’t provide the daily recommended intake (RDA) of the other nutrients. The people eating food loaded with extra antioxidants, and other nutrients don’t have any negative impact as they are from the natural source. They get good carbohydrate which is complex, it takes more time to digest and release energy. While dense antioxidants like Vitamin C and phytonutrient protect cells from free radicals.
There is no big secret of those healthy living population, they just stay dependent on natural foods provided by nature. If you consider staying healthiest, stay dependent on food available in natural form.
A source of food we eat is responsible to start a life-cycle. Hence those foods contain every nutrient which plays the role of nourishment and protection. When we eat that nutrient-rich food, we receive those energy and health-boosting nutrients with the least effort.
Plant go through a long period of photosynthesis to produce nutrients for them, and we receive those within a few moments when we eat them. Plants long months of effort and our short effort of picking and eating them can provide nutrients responsible for our health and longevity.
Instead of ease to receive those vital and healthy nutrients, major are neglecting such food. The end result of such ignorance or mistakes has directed the world towards unhealthiest time. Foods were responsible for health and vitality, now it is responsible for the health crises. The rate of obesity has caught pace, heart disease has become common, cancer risk are high, and there are many health problems in the list.
Whom should we blame?
As you have heard the common phrase, “You’re The Average Of The Five People You Spend The Most Time With”. It resembles both—type of person we become and personality trait we adopt. It includes the habits we adopt, and success level we meet, all are learned from the person we stay the most.
The phrase or rule is even applicable to our health, habits, routine and well-being. We are in the time were we stay busy spending major time in academics studies, work, and other activities. We stay busy doing something or other and forget to make time for our health. We don’t make time to make sure what & when we eat, how much we eat and it impacts on health.
As we don’t take care of these few critical things, we start to eat what others prefer to eat, where they eat, the way and even quantity. We adopt mostly every possible aspect of the habit of our friends. If you stay among people who are aware of their habit, routine, and their consequences, you start to learn and adopt those habits. If not, you will surely adopt things blindly without giving a second thought.
Do you know a major of our eating choice are made by food giants and food chains, not by us?
We keep on changing our eating style with passing months and year. Every year you will find new food products are launched and we accept them in mass scale. We adopt in mass scale due to heavy marketing about the products.
You can compare the food you liked a year back with today. Cereals or drink has changed lots, new products launched, we started to eat cereals for breakfast as they were promoted, and the list continues. *
Now coming to the solution…
The healthiest living people follow the basic rituals followed by their ancestors. They have faith in their ancestor’s rituals, which nourished and protected them from the common health problem.
Do you need to be among those civilizations to eat those types of food to gain the benefits they reap?
You don’t need to be from their culture to eat like them. You can eat the same way they eat, receive the same amount of nutrient, and live long as they live.
We human, are intellectually developed to adapt in the short period, which is the reason we became the smarted species on the planet.
It will take a few days to learn and adopt the habits of other cultures.
Follow what the healthiest civilization follows and become the same, from wherever you are on the planet without the barrier of the region.
The secret—habit or say ritual followed by the healthiest population on the planet—they eat lots of beans, legumes, vegetable, and fruit. These foods are rich in antioxidants and other phytonutrients – the cornerstone of healthy, long-lived populations around the world – a reason for the lowered risk of heart disease and many other types of cancer.
Okinawan people’s diet was found to have three times the recommended level of Vitamin C, almost double the Vitamin E, and other antioxidants intake was really high. Intake of calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus was also higher than required for bone health and high blood pressure. It was possible due to the intake of good carbohydrate, a source which is loaded with other healthy nutrients.
Search For Superfood
“Superfood” a modern term used by people to certify food as the healthiest food, due to its nutrient content. The term is used to signify the importance of food, its richness in nutrient, its possible role in nourishment, and the ability to protect from health problems.
Do you need to worry about the superfood terminology or depend on basic foods available?
If you are looking for superfood, then have a look over your local farmer’s market or the food section with fresh and unprocessed foods. You will find varieties of food like vegetables, fruits, and legumes – beans, peas, soya beans, peanuts, and lentils. All these foods deserve the credit of superfood and should be the major portion of your diet. When more than half of the diet are beans, fruits, and vegetables – you receive more nutrients than required.
More nutrients aren’t bad when you get those from natural food as they will be low in calorie – providing you the calorie you require. While low in calorie and dense in antioxidants, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and other nutrients—it supports overall health.
When you consider eating beans and legumes in your diet, you can eat until you are full. You can eat them without the worry of the calorie as they are satisfying enough that you really can’t overdo it.
You don’t have to worry as long as you watch the added fat.
Beans are the antioxidants superstar – low in calorie yet abundant in antioxidants. On analysis of the antioxidant content of food, red bean came first, followed by red kidney bean and pinto bean in second and third place, respectively. They are also loaded with fiber and a great source of protein.
Another great food on the list that shouldn’t be missed. Beans are a great source of nutrients yet they will lack few nutrients and flavor—those gaps can be filled with abundant intake of veggies.
Vegetables are a great source of nutrients when they are fresh. The longer it takes from the farm to plate, more the beneficial phytonutrient and antioxidant are lost.
Vegetables are more nutrient-rich when they are fresh, and to get maximum nutrient from each meal – eat seasonal and fresh harvest from your location.
Vegetables can be used as a salad, the main dish, and added to other dishes to improve nutrient, taste and flavor. There are many ways to add vegetables to your diet- you get more nutrients when you add more vegetables.
There is a mixed review on the consumption of fruits and its effect on health. Instead of many controversies—fruits are also a superfood that shouldn’t be missed.
The problem associated with fruits are its sugar content, and in today’s time sugar is considered as the evil. Yet to be clear, it is the processed sugar—the main culprit not the natural source or unprocessed food.
Fruit contains sugar but they are also a great source of antioxidant and fiber. To get benefit from fruit you can add a serving of fruit. People who have diabetes are prone to get big blood sugar swing—they should eat in moderation or can avoid if they wish.
Supernutrient – Antioxidant
Antioxidants are among the most controversial topic in nutrition and health. It has gained popularity due to health benefits and its conflicting results.
It protects from chronic diseases like cancer, heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, and other diseases related to free radicals and inflammation.
While the conflicting result says the antioxidants can lead to health issues, but those results are due to heavy supplementation. For now, focus on the intake of antioxidants through food as it’s the best source.
Many claims are made by researchers about the role of antioxidants and the way it works, but, it’s not clear how they protect depending on a certain condition.
The foods available naturally are loaded with phytonutrients which increase antioxidants ability. Whenever we look over food, we consider its main nutrients. But they contain lots more nutrients which are responsible for added benefits.
Antioxidants supplements are still controversial due to their conflicting result. The actual data is yet to be explored, but whatever may be the result in coming time, we still need antioxidants.
What are Antioxidants?
Antioxidant are compounds produced by plants to defend themselves from the process of oxidation. When a plant goes through photosynthesis, it leads to the production of high amount of oxygen. To deal with oxygen and prevent damages, the plant produces antioxidants in defense. These antioxidants protect plants from oxidation and other damage. We get the same protection when we eat those plants.
Just like a burning fire need oxygen, every cell in our body needs a steady supply of oxygen to derive energy from the digested food.
Everything comes with a cost. When we consume oxygen, energy is released, required to sustain life but it also leads to the production of free radicals.
Free radicals are a highly unstable molecule that can damage healthy cells. They are highly active because they contain an unpaired electron. Electrons prefer to pair up to become stable, so these free radicals prefer to search molecule to steal an electron. These stealing of an electron leads to the production of more unstable free radicals. The matter that has lost its electron in this manner is said to be “oxidized”.
To stop such stealing of electrons from a healthy molecule and prevent damage, antioxidants play an important role in neutralizing those free radicals.
Excess accumulation of free radicals is known as oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can damage DNA and other important structure in your cells. Chronic oxidative stress can also increase the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. (1)
To handle such negative impacts of free radicals, nature has provided foods with health-boosting antioxidants into fruits, beans, vegetables, grains, and even spices. (2)
In one Australian study of 435 women and men aged 70 and older, those who ate mostly healthy foods has the fewest sign of wrinkles. You will also receive lots of health-boosting compounds when you eat those food combinations.
Thousands of studies highlight the importance of antioxidants. You don’t need to know each antioxidant or how they work to get the benefit. Load your diet with healthy foods and you will gain those nutrients working for you.
If you ask healthy people the secret of their health, they will simply credit food- who may not be aware of those nutrients.
To get the benefit, you need to take action even with the least knowledge. Start and keep on improving your knowledge and actions – to be on a pursuit of better health.
Effective Strategies To Eat More Beans, Fruit, and Vegetables
- Add beans to everyday dishes – with rice, soups, with pasta sauces and add extra to toast. Add in every dishes where they can be added.
- Blend herbs, garlic, olive oil, or other flavoring and use as a dip for vegetable snacks, spread for sandwiches
- You can eat canned beans, just drain out water which contains salt
- Use beans as a garnish to add in salads, vegetables or pasta.
- Boiled beans with added spices and vegetable can be a part of breakfast or lunch, a few times a week
- Add flavor to vegetables with different combinations like olive oil, herbs, sauce, stir-fried with curry
- Start dinner with a salad
- Vegetables in afternoon snacks
- Load vegetables in pizza with the combination of herbs
- Add more veggies to the soup
- Choose seasonal veggies to get most of fresh and to enjoy the taste
- Vegetable smoothies with added combination of fruit and nuts
Mind over the oil and salt you add in your vegetables or salad. You can try herbs and spices to make veggies salad or dishes while limiting the salt and oil. An excess amount of salt and oil can cut the benefits of vegetable. Oil intake increase calorie intake, so limit it and find a better substitute and mind over the quantity you use.
- Drink fruit smoothies rather than fruit juice
- Eat fresh fruit instead of packed or processed fruit substitutes
- Keep frozen food in your hand or at your workplace
- Have a piece of fruit with your breakfast or dinner
- When you feel a sweet craving, eat a serving of fruit
That’s all you need to get started. Try to add beans and vegetables in every meal, gradually increase the serving. While adding fruit, eat in moderation when you have a concern with calorie or blood sugar swings.
You are now ready to make a better combination for your daily meal and enjoy the same benefits the healthiest people around the world get.
This Article is part of Healthy Eating – Get Back Healthy Weight, Health & Vitality
1. Half Of Diet Should Be Beans, Vegetables and Fruits