Someone sent me this article from the Times; pleased to see it contains many of the foods I have been eating for the past two and a half years, although raspberries are hard to find in Singapore (I have been eating them every day for breakfast here in London though). However, I am not a great salmon fan, so I would substitute mackerel which is abundant at the moment and is organic, unlike most salmon which, even when organic, is mostly farmed. Wild salmon or sea trout is the answer. The only food on this list I eschew generally is the tomato as it is too cooling, according to my Traditional Medicine diagnosis. Otherwise all this makes perfect sense!
For maintaining bone density
As well as high levels of antioxidants, raspberries contain ellagic acid, a chemical thought to be anticarcinogenic. They also contain manganese, which maintains bone density, which decreases with age (particularly during the menopause for women). Have a handful a few times a week.
To help to reduce blood pressure
Rocket can help to reduce blood pressure because of its high level of nitrates, which make cells use oxygen more efficiently. Rocket is also a good source of folate which prevents anaemia and is needed by cells that replicate quickly such as those in the gums. Have rocket at least twice a week.
For healthy eyes
Salmon is rich in omega-3 fats. Omega-3 can boost memory and eye health. Studies have found that omega-3 in oily fish can stop dry eyes and promote blood-vessel growth and circulation in the eyes. The omega-3 oils in salmon help skin cells to retain water, which also helps to prevents wrinkles. Two portions a week will help to regulate blood pressure and triglyceride levels in blood, both of which are risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
To protect your joints
Curcumin, which gives turmeric its yellowy-orange colour, has an anti-inflammatory effect. It is particularly effective in reducing joint inflammation, which means it can help to manage symptoms of arthritis. Add a generous pinch to your cooking a few times a week.
For a healthy prostate
These are a rich source of selenium. Men need more than women as much of the selenium in the male body is held in the testes, so it is lost through semen and needs to be topped up. Aim for a small handful of nuts a day. Studies have found that eating Brazil nuts regularly can also protect against prostate cancer.
To boost vitamin D levels
Nearly a fifth of adults and one in six children are vitamin-D deficient. Made in the skin in response to sunlight, Vitamin D enhances bone density and immune function, but isn’t found in many foods. Mushrooms, especially shiitake, are a rare source. Vitamin D can be increased by placing them in direct sunlight, stalks in the air, for 30 minutes before eating. Try having a 50g serving twice a week.
To protect from sun damage
Tomatoes are a rich source of lycopene, a powerful anti-ageing antioxidant. Lycopene can also help to support a healthy prostate, and has been found to prevent skin damage from ultraviolet exposure. Lycopene is found in red/pink fruits and vegetables such as watermelon. It is, however, nearly four times more concentrated in cooked food, so eating tomato paste or passata is more effective than eating a raw tomato. Eat three times per week.
For women’s health
Eating a handful of walnuts a week can help to make women more vigorous in old age and increase their ability to fight off physical impairments, scientists reported last week in a study of 50,000 women. Walnuts typically contain twice the amount of polyphenols (antioxidants that can help to prevent age-related diseases) than other nuts and are a rare source of plant-based omega-3 fats. There are specific benefits for men too; a handful of walnuts eaten daily can improve sperm quality. Previous research has also found that walnuts are linked to a lower risk of heart attacks and diabetes.
For a healthy digestive system
Miso, a paste made from fermented soya beans, can help to keep the gut healthy. There are trillions of bacteria in the gut, and healthy levels of the beneficial variety play important roles in the cardiovascular, nervous and digestive systems. Fermented foods produce lactic acid, which can encourage the bacteria. Try to have miso twice a week.
To protect against heart attacks
Garlic has widespread health benefits, from lowering cholesterol to reducing inflammation. The key component is allicin, which can help to control levels of homocysteine. As we age, homocysteine levels increase, which can cause inflammation, furring up and thickening of the arteries (called atherosclerosis). Controlling this helps to prevent the risk of heart disease, heart attacks and strokes. Try and have some garlic every day — and cook it for as short a time as possible to maximise benefits.
To repair muscles
Pineapple is the only food to contain bromelain, an enzyme that helps the body to absorb protein. Bromelain can help reduce mucus (therefore promoting a speedy recovery from colds, flu and chest infections); it also reduces muscle inflammation, which is good for joint aches and muscle repair after exercise. It is a natural anticoagulant so can reduce the chance of blood clots. Try to have a serving once a week.
To reduce blood pressure
Avocado is rich in potassium, vitamin K, vitamin E and mono-unsaturated fats. Collectively these can help to reduce blood pressure and blood-clotting. They are high in antioxidants, and can help to protect the skin from free radical damage. They are high in calories, so eat them only twice a week.