Originally published on Blackdoctors.org
We always hear about how Mother Nature and natural foods can help your body do all sorts of things: lose weight, get more energy, etc. Well, here are foods that can actually save your life. Seriously!
Why it’s life-saving: Arugula has one of the highest nitrate levels of any leafy green, helping to increase blood flow and therefore enhance performance. It’s also packed with flavonoids — antioxidants that fight heart disease and even some cancers. New research suggests it may also prevent ulcers.
2. Collard Greens
Why it’s life-saving: Of all leafy greens, collards are best at binding your stomach’s bile acids, which can help lower your cholesterol levels and even protect you from some cancers. Collards also contain a special class of phytochemicals that nourish the body’s natural detoxifying system.
How to eat it: Boiled collards are a soul-food staple, but unless you eat the broth, you’ll miss out on many nutrients. Steaming preserves more nutrients and increases bile-acid-binding activity. Jill Nussinow, a dietitian and chef, recommends kneading sturdy greens like collards or kale with olive oil for a few minutes before cooking to increase their flavor and make them easier to chew. Or massage with tahini and braise in garlic and lemon juice.
3. Bok Choy
Why it’s life-saving: Bok choy is one of the best sources of potassium, which helps build muscle and keep blood pressure low. It’s also packed with vitamin A, which strengthens the immune system by increasing white-blood-cell activity and the body’s response to toxins.
How to eat it: Chop up and braise the lower, white portion of the stems in chicken or vegetable broth and sesame oil. Add leaves after two minutes and cook another one to two minutes.
Why it’s life-saving: Kale is a prime source of cancer-thwarting compounds called glucosinolates, as well as kaempferol, which researchers believe combats cancer and may also, incredibly, protect the heart, lower blood sugar, strengthen bones and reduce inflammation in the body. Kale is rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that help prevent eye disease and vision loss as you age.
How to eat it: Briefly sauté kale in olive oil with chopped onions, and then finish off with some lemon juice. Great!
Why it’s life saving: A single cup of watercress will bump you over your recommended daily value of vitamin K, which can help regulate blood clotting and reduce plaque on artery walls and may lower inflammation linked to chronic diseases like arthritis. If you could stand to eat watercress daily for two months, you would cut DNA damage to your white blood cells, reducing your risk of cancer and lowering your triglycerides (unhealthy blood fats) by 10 percent, according to studies. At the very least, eat more.
How to eat it: Watercress adds crunch to sandwiches and salads. Or just simmer a pound of potatoes, three cups of leeks and a little butter in two quarts of water for an hour; add a cup of watercress and simmer five more minutes before pureeing in a blender until smooth. Pour the warm mixture into a bowl and it makes a great soup!