Some Hard and Scary Facts
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cancer remains one of the leading causes of death worldwide, with more than 8 million cancer deaths in 2012 even though approximately 30 percent of cancer deaths are the results of poor diet and lifestyle habits, some of which include not getting enough fruits and vegetables in our diets, being overweight, and not being active enough. The next leading cause of death is heart disease and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 600,000 people die each year from heart disease in the United States and almost half of Americans have at least one of the three risk factors for heart disease—two of which can be controlled through diet: high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
There is no question that making healthier food choices can save your life.
How Foods Keep You Healthy
The way that food keeps us healthy is quite simple, really. Healthy foods contain nutrients that our bodies need to run efficiently so a diet that is made up predominantly of healthy, nutrient-rich foods will help your body do what it’s supposed to, like grow, repair and renew, and fight off disease.
The following are the nutrients that keep us healthy and ward off disease and the foods that you can get them from:
1. Vitamin A
Vitamin A plays a big role in our body’s defence system because it strengthens the immune system and also acts as a first line of defence against infection and toxins. It does this by keeping your skin healthy along with the tissues in your mouth where infection often enters. Vitamin A also helps to keep your digestive and respiratory systems healthy which are other places that are susceptible to infection and disease. Get vitamin A from orange and yellow fruits and vegetables, like oranges, guava, papaya, and sweet potato. Leafy greens, like kale, cabbage, and spinach are also great sources of vitamin A.
2. Vitamin C
Just like your mother always told you, vitamin C can help keeps colds and other infections away. This is because it stimulates the creation of antibodies that keep your immune system strong. It also plays a role in the creation of new collagen which helps your body repair wounds and injury and is being researched further following studies linking vitamin C to a lowered cancer risk. Oranges may be the most commonly known food source of vitamin C; there are plenty of other foods that you can get the same benefits from, including: papaya, red and green peppers, and strawberries.
3. Vitamin E
This powerful antioxidant protects our cells from damage from molecules known as free radicals, which can cause cancer, heart disease, and more. Sunflower and safflower oils are rich sources of vitamin E, as are hazelnuts, almonds, peanut butter, and spinach. Wheat germ oil is one of the best sources of vitamin E with tablespoon containing 100 percent of the recommended daily value according to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Another great way to get Vitamin E into your diet is with Linwoods milled organic sunflower and pumpkin seeds, which can provide 49% of your RDA of vitamin E with every 30g serving.
Proteins play some pretty major roles in our bodies on a cellular level. As a matter of fact, there is not a part of our body’s functions that they aren’t a part of. Protein is needed for the growth and repairing of tissues, bone, and blood, and also for the production of hormones and enzymes. It can help keep your body strong in every sense of the word. Some of the best sources of protein are lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, and many nuts and seeds. Hemp seeds are also a great way of adding protein to your diet, with Linwoods Shelled Hemp providing 35g of protein for every 100g serving.
5. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats
A lot of people are under the misconception that fat is bad and something to stay away from at any cost when that’s actually not then case at all. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are the right kinds of fat, meaning that unlike saturated and trans fats, these don’t raise your cholesterol or your risk of disease. Your body needs fatty acids from fats to produce hormones and new cells and to grow. They also help protect your body from injury and help much-needed vitamins move through the body. These types of fats can be found in whole grains, vegetables and nuts. Fatty fish are another excellent source, like salmon, mackerel, albacore tuna, and sardines. You can also enjoy the benefits of these healthy fats with Linwoods flaxseed, nuts and CO-Q10 mix.
Making the effort to eat a diet that’s rich in vitamins and nutrients is your best defence against chronic disease.
To keep up to date with all the latest healthy eating advice, and for tips and suggestions on great recipes, be sure to connect with the Linwoods team on Facebook and Twitter.
This article was provided by Adrienne, who is a freelance writer and author who has written extensively on all things health and fitness for more than a decade. When she’s not holed-up in her writing shed researching an article, or off interviewing health professionals, she can be found frolicking around her beach town with husband and dogs in tow or splashing about the lake trying to master the stand-up paddle board.
- Cancer Fact sheet N°297. (February 2014). World Health Organization (WHO). Retrieved on March 11, 2014, from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs297/en/
- Heart Disease Facts – America’s Heart Disease Burden. (August 2013). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Retrieved on March 11, 2014, from http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm
- Protect Your Health with Immune-Boosting Nutrition. (February 2013). The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation. Retrieved on March 11, 2014, from http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442475026
- Vitamin C Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. (June 2013). National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Retrieved on March 11, 2014, from http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/
- Vitamin E Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. (June 2013). National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Retrieved on March 11, 2014, from http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE-HealthProfessional/
- What are proteins and what do they do?. (March 2014). Genetics Home Reference is the National Library of Medicine. Retrieved on March 11, 2014, from http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/handbook/howgeneswork/protein
- How Your Body Gets Nutrients From Foods. (January 2014). BreastCancer.org. Retrieved on March 11, 2014, from http://www.breastcancer.org/tips/nutrition/healthy_eat/nutrients