3 Hidden Treasures of the World: Food Edition

I was inspired to write this article after being legitimately bombarded with advertisements on Instagram selling magic hair growth, weight loss, and booty building pills. Deep in our hearts, I’m pretty sure we all realize that the bitter truth of the matter is that these pills don’t do much for you, and there is virtually no scientific backing to these 'wonder medicines'. However, there are naturally occurring super fruits, veggies, nuts and roots that you may or may not have heard of. Granted, they won’t grow your hair six inches in a month or shrink your waist, but they can do some other pretty helpful things such as prevent cancer, kill harmful bacteria, and promote brain health. 

One of the more popularly heard of foods is the Brazil nut. It’s a clementine slice shaped nut, a bit on the larger side, brownish-gray in color. Just like the majority of nuts and seeds, it has lots of of mono/polyunsaturated fats that are a great source of long-term, heart-healthy fuel. Unlike fruits, it doesn’t have a lot of sugar, so it will not spike your blood glucose levels. Rather, it will keep you full longer and help you regulate your appetite. Most importantly, though, it’s a wonderful source of selenium. Selenium is a micronutrient that has multiple health benefits to fertility, thyroid function, DNA reproduction, and protection against bacteria. Research suggests that not getting enough selenium can increase your risk of heart disease and possibly cancer, but more investigation is needed to confirm this theory.

For those of you who are vegetarian, this next superfood will be your best friend. Lentils have been incorporated into the human diet every since a human diet existed. They are a fantastic source of protein and prebiotic fiber (18g and 15g per cup, respectively). For vegetarian members of the population, getting protein can be very challenging because the foods that are most abundant in it are animal products and meat. Lentils, however, provide a perfect environmentally friendly solution to this issue. Prebiotic fiber is fuel for our microbiota, so eating lentils will help your gut health. Not only that, but eating them may help lower cholesterol levels. The ingested fiber binds to cholesterol, and since fiber is not absorbed by our body, the cholesterol gets eliminated along with it, leading to lower cholesterol absorption. Finally, lentils are a key to a healthy pregnancy. They contain a lot of folic acid, which is a vitamin B necessary for new cell development. Sufficient folic acid intake can help prevent brain and spinal cord damage as well as other kinds of birth defects in developing fetuses.  

Last but not least we have bok choy. It’s a type of Chinese cabbage, and is one of the most nutritious vegetables in the world. Containing a wide variety of minerals and vitamins such as folate, choline, calcium, selenium and more, it improves bone strength, promotes faster healing and better circulation, and prevents chronic diseases. Improved circulation will help you keep your skin clear and maintain proper blood flow to various parts of your body. Calcium is a vital building block for your bones, and selenium we already discussed at length in the context of the brazil nut.

 

Obviously, there are many more foods in this world that are just as health-boosting as our three champions above. Considering I had only picked three, I went with the ones somewhat less heard of. In the worst case, those of you who are picky eaters just learned a few new things today. In the best case, I hope I persuaded some of you to give these wonderful superfoods a try. Expanding your food palate is crucial to your immune system’s development, and makes eating so much more fun! 

 

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Images: 1, 2, 3

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