Can food save your life? Many nutritionists, alternative health gurus and even conventional medical doctors believe so. What you eat can contribute to your health in the present and in the future. There’s a plethora of life-saving foods out there, but we’ve plucked ten of the most beneficial for this list of life-saving recipes.
Please note: these recipes have been chosen for variety and interest, with focus on the presence of the key healthy ingredient in each. These recipes may not be in compliance with your dietary needs, so read them thoroughly and ask your doctor or dietician for guidance. Focus on the healthy ingredient listed and, if you can’t enjoy these recipes, it will be easy to find other recipes for each of the ingredients here.
Yogurt is brimming with probiotics – good bacteria that fight the bad bacteria and other organisms like fungus that grow in our digestive tracts, and a few other places. Because it so thoroughly protects the digestive system, yogurt’s probiotic magic is attributed with everything from boosting the immune system to fighting cancer. Thankfully delicious forms of yogurt are available right on supermarket shelves, but if you’d like to create a scrumptious treat with plain yogurt, try this recipe for yogurt, granola and berry parfait from the Food Network.
We all know that vitamin C is important for supporting key bodily functions like a healthy immune system. Grapefruit happens to pack a lot of it in a small package. But there’s some evidence that grapefruit can also speed up your metabolism and help you lose weight. And losing weight can be a lifesaver. Try this simple recipe for a ruby red grapefruit smoothie to get you going. It’s important to note that while grapefruit is a powerhouse, nutritious fruit, it can also interact badly with certain types of medication. Ask your doctor before incorporating it into your diet.
A handful of almonds is a great snack filled with protein and nutrients to keep your engine running smoothly. But did you know that almonds can also help stave off Alzheimer’s? By eating almonds today, you could be helping to keep your brain healthy for tomorrow. Almonds are also great eaten plain or prepared in a number of ways, and they make a wonderful addition to other foods – such as this recipe for low-fat almond chicken salad.
Free radicals floating around in your body attack healthy cells and cause aging, cancer and other serious concerns. Anti-oxidants help to blast those free radicals away, and garlic happens to have anti-oxidants in spades. It’s also a powerful antibiotic, and can help keep infections from growing. And it’s very versatile in culinary use. But it’s also delicious eaten all by itself. Try this easy recipe for roasted garlic and treat yourself.
Grapes also contain hearty anti-oxidants, as well as vitamin C. They do a particularly excellent job at beefing up and maintaining your immune system. And they are low calorie as well as delicious, making them a diet-conscious healthy eater’s dream come true. Check out this yummy classic Waldorf Salad recipe with tips for dietary substitutions.
High cholesterol is one of the most life-threatening conditions a person can have, especially as he or she ages. Diabetes is another life-threatening condition that can get worse with age. Oats target both. Oats can help to lower cholesterol and to manage blood sugar, making diabetes less of a problem. By themselves, oats may not be the tastiest food around, but they can be cooked into yummy oatmeals, cookies and other flavorful recipes. Try these healthy oatmeal cookies from Whole Grain Gourmet.
Fish are not just a great source of protein: they’re full of omega-3 fatty acids, which are strong anti-inflammatory fats that can help with everything from eyesight to brain function – and, like almonds, fight Alzheimer’s. There are a number of fish that are particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and these include salmon, sardines, smelt, shad and anchovies. Give this Asian grilled salmon recipe from the Food Network’s Ina Garten a whirl.
There’s a lot of well-deserved buzz around leafy vegetables like Spinach. Spinach happens to be a fantastic source of vitamins like vitamin K, which supports bone health. It’s also packed with minerals like iron, calcium, potassium and folate, which is good for your heart. Much ado has been made over spinach’s ability to prevent cancer, too. It truly is a superfood. To add a little more spinach to your diet try this light and fluffy spinach quiche recipe, already adjusted for healthier ingredient alternatives.
Perhaps the tomato’s greatest asset is its lycopene, a strong anti-oxidant that fights the formation of cancerous cells. Since it doesn’t occur naturally in the body, we require an outside source like tomatoes to let us reap its benefits. It takes as little as a single glass of tomato juice a day to help keep you healthy, but if that’s not your thing, try this Food Network recipe for fresh tomato tart.
1. Olive Oil
One of the most common cooking ingredients is actually one of the healthiest foods for you: olive oil, preferably extra virgin, is a heart-healthy addition to recipes. It can help reduce cholesterol and it’s an anti-inflammatory, too. There’s even evidence to suggest it can prevent colon cancer. Food Network’s Giada De Laurentiis offers this recipe for spaghetti with garlic, olive oil and red pepper, a simple dish that adds olive oil to your diet without the mouth-puckering effect of drinking it straight.