Healthy Foods That Look Like the Body Part They Help
Call it biological coincidence or purposeful design. Certain foods look very similar to the body parts they benefit — in shape, color or both. It’s a good reminder of how foods are connected to our bodies and why the adage “food is medicine” makes good sense. Here are a few foods that look like the parts of the body they help.
Kidney Beans: Kidneys
As a plant-based protein, kidney beans provide potassium and magnesium—minerals that help regulate blood pressure. Elevated blood pressure can cause extra strain on the kidneys’ filtration system and the vascular system, so the bean’s nutrients can help keep blood pressure in check. Kidney beans also provide fiber for the digestive system; heart-healthy protein; a variety of key nutrients such as zinc, iron and manganese; and antioxidants that help decrease the risk for cancer, heart disease, stroke and other diseases.
Sweet Potatoes: Pancreas
As a good source of fiber and complex carbohydrates, sweet potatoes help your body regulate fats and sugars. That’s perfect because the main functions of the pancreas involve secreting insulin, regulating blood sugar, and breaking down and digesting fats. Thanks to the spud’s nutrients, your pancreas needs to do less work. Rich in beta carotene, a form of vitamin A, sweet potatoes also contain potassium and vitamins A and B6.
Red Wine: Blood
Did you know that the antioxidants in red wine help maintain blood health? An antioxidant called Resveratrol helps reduce cell damage and lower inflammation, which is important for blood vessels — especially the blood vessels in the heart. Research suggests that wine can provide health benefits that stave off chronic cardiovascular diseases, with the caveat that alcohol is consumed in moderation. That means no more than two drinks a day for men, and one drink a day for women.
The nutrients in carrots — which, when sliced, carrots look like they eye’s iris and pupil — support eye health, particularly vitamins A, C and E, plus powerful antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. The antioxidants help lower inflammation in any part of the body that have tiny, intricate blood vessels (including the eyes), so they can reduce oxidative damage that could occur. Also, the vitamin A in carrots helps prevent a variety of eye-related problems, including blindness in children, age-related macular degeneration, and progressive eye disease that can lead to night blindness.
Avocados: Reproductive System
As a good source of heart-healthy, unsaturated fat, avocados also provide folic acid—a key ingredient for women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant. Specifically, folic acid helps support healthy brain development in babies. Avocados also contain fiber, so you stay full longer, and a host of good-for-you nutrients, including magnesium; potassium; vitamins C, E, and K; and several B vitamins.
You can thank the omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts for helping to regulate healthy blood pressure. This keeps healthy blood pumping to the brain but also reduces your risk of stroke. The omega-3s in walnuts also help lower bad (LDL) cholesterol, promote the “good” bacteria that you need for gut health and help support heart health.
Broccoli: Cancer Cells
As a member of the cabbage family, broccoli delivers powerful cancer-fighting benefits. In fact, studies show that some of the plant compounds in broccoli can shrink cancer cells and may protect against developing certain cancers. This cruciferous vegetable packs in loads of nutrients and antioxidants too, including calcium; folate; iron; protein; fiber; vitamins C, E, and K; and carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin).
The heart-healthy link to tomatoes lies in lycopene — a plant compound that lowers inflammation. Because they fight inflammation associated with chronic conditions, tomatoes may reduce the risk of developing certain cancers and help prevent cardiovascular disease. Tomatoes also provides iron, fiber, manganese, potassium and vitamins A, B6, C and K. Together, these nutrients help protect the skin against UV damage from the sun, strengthen bones, regulate blood sugar, and improves vision.
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