Incorporate These Superfoods Into Your Diet To Help Fight Disease

Most of us know that what we fuel our bodies with affects how we feel. Some foods can increase the risk of disease in our bodies. However, there are also some foods that can decrease these risks. Just by changing up your diet, you can help your body prevent further damage.

Scientists have analyzed food’s impact on heart disease, cancer, and neural decline, and these “superfoods” offer is proven to offer many benefits that may keep people alive for longer. They can’t necessarily reverse effects but can help prevent more from happening. Read on to find out which foods can help reduce your risk of disease.

Raspberries Have A Variety Of Antioxidants

Raspberries are full of disease-preventing antioxidants and are also an excellent source of fiber, which researchers have concluded may help improve symptoms and lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

cute happy kid sitting at table and eating ripe fresh raspberries
cute happy kid sitting at table and eating ripe fresh raspberries

They also contain folate, which helps with cell division, and vitamins C and E, which may help with cognitive ability as a person ages.

Brussels Sprouts Are Full Of Vitamin K

Just half a cup of Brussels sprouts provides more than your total daily vitamin K requirement. According to a study conducted by the University of Wisconsin’s Department of Human Biology, this may help protect against osteoporosis.

Photo by Barry Batchelor – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images
Photo by Barry Batchelor – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images

The fiber in Brussels sprouts may also help moderate blood sugar levels. They are also one of the best plant sources of ALA, an omega-3 fatty acid that studies show may reduce insulin resistance, inflammation, and cognitive decline.

Cranberries Are A Superfood

Cranberries are largely considered a superfood because of their high levels of antioxidants and other nutrients. Medical News Today reports that research has linked cranberries to a lower risk of cancer, urinary tract infections, and decreased blood pressure.

Pexels / Karolina Grabwska
Pexels / Karolina Grabwska

A review of 34 studies found that cranberries also helped diminish cancer cells and reduce inflammation.

Watermelon Helps Ward Off Free Radicals

According to Medical News Today, the antioxidants in watermelon can assist the body in removing free radicals. Free radicals are naturally produced, but an abundance can result in cell damage. This cell damage can lead to diseases like cancer and heart disease.

Unsplash / Kyle Nieber
Unsplash / Kyle Nieber

Another study also found that watermelon extract reduced the blood pressure of participants who suffered from obesity and hypertension.

Brain Health Comes From Papaya

Papaya, especially fermented papaya, displays promising healing effects on the brain. In 2015, researchers found that the fruit healed some oxidative stress in DNA, which may guard against Alzheimer’s and cancer.

Envato Elements / sviatlankayanka
Envato Elements / sviatlankayanka

Papaya contains vitamin C and lycopene, which means it also heals the skin. According to Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences research, these nutrients soothe red sunburns more quickly, and this may delay certain skin diseases over time.

Why Bison Patties Are Better Than Beef

When it comes to the health benefits of bison, the proof is in the patty. The meat lowers triglycerides, which can encourage heart disease over time.

Photo by Cate Gillon/Getty Images
Photo by Cate Gillon/Getty Images

Bison has far fewer health risks than beef. According to the Journal of Animal Science, bison has a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids.

Turkey Is Good For Your Immune System

Four ounces of turkey contains half your daily value of selenium, which is a mineral that helps your immune system function.

Envato Elements / drazenphoto
Envato Elements / drazenphoto

Though it’s commonly believed that turkey will make you drowsy, it’s actually high in niacin and vitamin B6, which benefit energy production and blood sugar stability.

Salmon, The Healthiest Fish

Many experts recommend eating fish twice a week, and this is for good reason. Fatty fish like salmon contain a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids.

Raw salmon filets are smoked on a grill.
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According to a Harvard study in JAMA, regularly eating salmon lowers your risk of heart disease by one-third. Salmon has more omega-3s than most other fish.

Spinach May Keep You Seeing Longer

Spinach has high levels of zeaxanthin and lutein, two carotenoids that protect your eyes from sunlight damage.

A bowl of baby spinach sits on a white counter.
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Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

A study published in ScienceDirect and another study published in PubMed found that MGDG and SQDG, two compounds found in spinach, help to slow tumor growth and decrease its size.

Avocados Are Good For Your Heart

Aside from being high in potassium, avocados are also full of monounsaturated fatty acids. Studies have shown that this heart-healthy fat reduces inflammation and may have a helpful impact on cancer genes.

A person holds a cut open avocado in their hands.
Sebastian Kahnert/picture alliance via Getty Images
Sebastian Kahnert/picture alliance via Getty Images

Numerous studies show that avocados also lower LDL levels while increasing HDL (good cholesterol) levels and reducing blood triglycerides by as much as 20%.

An Apple A Day…

In December 2019, researchers at the University of Reading analyzed what happens after eating two apples a day. Participants’ blood and cholesterol improved, reducing heart disease chances.

Unsplash / Matt Seymour
Unsplash / Matt Seymour

Scientists at Edith Cowan University said that healthy flavonoids found in apples could guard against both heart disease and cancer.

Add Oregano To Kill Bacteria

As a spice or oil, Oregano can combat several different kinds of bacteria. In 2001, scientists from Georgetown University concluded that oregano oil could fight bacteria.

A chef sprinkles oregano on Greek fries.
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Derek Davis/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

According to the Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, oregano has also been shown to combat at least 23 different strains of bacteria.

The Best Combo: Onions And Garlic

Onions and garlic don’t just taste great together, but they also fight diseases. Several studies have linked the two vegetables to a smaller risk of cancer. They both have several compounds that inhibit carcinogenic activity.

Pexels / Karolina Grabowska
Pexels / Karolina Grabowska

According to Cancer Prevention Research, these vegetables may delay stomach, esophageal, colorectal, prostate, and breast cancer.

A Handful Of Almonds Can Save Your Heart

Almonds are a tasty source of healthy monounsaturated fats. During an analysis of 57 studies in Nutrients, scientists noted that around 45 g of almonds can help reduce important risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Packaged almonds sit on a shelf in a supermarket.
Marta Iwanek/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Marta Iwanek/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Almonds also have powerful, disease-fighting antioxidants, and can help relieve stress.

Protect Your DNA With Kiwi

Some kiwis contain three times the vitamin C of oranges. Vitamin C can improve immune function and prevent damage to your DNA.

A man holds up two halves of a kiwi.
Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/picture alliance via Getty Images
Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/picture alliance via Getty Images

Kiwi can also improve sleep quality in adults. During a 2011 Asian study, participants with sleep problems caught more rest after four weeks of eating kiwis.

The Many, Many Benefits Of Green Tea

In 2018, a study in BioMed Research International concluded that green tea helps people live longer. The tea’s antioxidants combated ailments such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, oral infections, neural ailments, and cancer in participants.

A woman looks at a glass of green tea.

According to a January 2020 study, drinking green tea three times a week lowers the chances of cardiovascular disease by 20%.

Mushrooms Keep The Brain Sharp

In 2019, scientists from Singapore reported that even a small portion of mushrooms such as shiitake, golden, oyster, and white button mushrooms, can lower the risk of cognitive decline.

A chef sautees sliced mushrooms in a pan.
Sergei BobylevTASS via Getty Images
Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

According to Japanese researchers in the International Journal of Cancer, eating mushrooms consistently reduced the risk of cancer by 8% in older men, but the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of mushrooms can benefit people of any gender.

Pumpkin Seeds Guard Against Cancer

Pumpkin seeds supply an impressive amount of antioxidants. A 2009 study in Food Research International suggested that pumpkin seeds may combat lung, breast, prostate, stomach, and colon cancers.

A Palestinian man holds roasted pumpkin seeds.
Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Pumpkin seeds can also reduce the risk of heart disease. According to research in Climacteric, pumpkin seed oil can lower blood pressure and raise HDL cholesterol (the heart-healthy kind).

Pumpkins Are Vitamin-Rich

Pumpkin seeds aren’t the only nutritious part of the pumpkin; the flesh is also loaded with health benefits. They are full of beta carotene, and this antioxidant has been linked to a reduced risk of certain cancers, asthma and heart disease, and macular degeneration.

A person holds a large pumpkin in front of their face.
Unsplash / Olivia Kulbida
Unsplash / Olivia Kulbida

Pumpkins are high in potassium and low in sodium, two factors that a 2017 study found to be very important when it comes to blood pressure.

Eat Broccoli For Your Liver

Broccoli can also combat disease. In February 2020, research in Hepatology noted that broccoli has a healthy compound called indole, which, over time, can delay or prevent fatty liver disease.

Broccoli florets are wrapped in plastic and placed in plastic bins.

During another study, researchers from the University of Western Australia discovered that broccoli opened up arteries and cleaned the blood and that this significantly lowered the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease.

Grapes Repair Damaged Tissue

Grapes naturally supply reservatrol, a nutrient that helps to repair damaged tissues. According to a 2015 scientific review, grapes may improve the prevention of several diseases.

An Israeli harvester eats green grapes.
David Silverman/Getty Images
David Silverman/Getty Images

Because of their potent antioxidants, grapes are known to protect the heart. Research in The Journal of Nutrition reported that eating grapes can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Why You Should Drink Cherry Juice

According to a Nutrients study, drinking tart cherry juice soothes oxidative stress in older adults. This stress can result in cardiovascular disease over time, researchers say.

A woman eats a cherry.
JOKER/Alexander Stein/ullstein bild via Getty Images
JOKER/Alexander Stein/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Nutrients also claim that cherries have many other health benefits. They can encourage enzymes in the liver that keep the organ healthy, and they lower blood pressure, which could delay diabetes.

To Lessen The Effect Of Sugar, Eat Quinoa

According to JAMA Internal Medicine, eating too much sugar can raise your chance of heart disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Fortunately, quinoa alleviates the effects of sugar on the body.

Dried quinoa is inside of a heart-shaped cookie cutter.
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While quinoa doesn’t negate sugar, it can stop people from getting chronic diseases later in life.

Pop Some Peanuts

According to research, eating a handful of peanuts daily can lower your mortality chances. These nuts fight several illnesses, including diabetes, brain disease, heart ailments, respiratory disease, and cancer, says the International Journal of Epidemiology.

A white bowl contains salted peanuts.

Harvard professor of nutrition Meir Stampfer says that peanuts have similar nutrients to tree nuts.

Drink Coffee, Live Longer

Drinking coffee every morning has a significant number of health benefits. In 2015, research linked coffee to a lower mortality rate. This is because coffee delays the onset of certain diseases.

A woman drinks coffee at a cafe.

According to a study in Circulation, moderate coffee consumption (three to five cups a day) lowers the chance of developing heart disease.

Sweet Potatoes, A Food For Eye Health

Sweet potatoes contain anthocyanins, which have prevented inflammation and stress in several studies. For instance, a test-tube study in Food & Nutrition concluded that vitamins in sweet potatoes could protect against eye damage.

A farm manager holds up a sweet potato he grew.
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According to a study by Neurochemistry International, the vegetable stopped inflammation from harming the brain.

The Special Nutrients Of Beets

Beetroot also has many health benefits. The root contains an antioxidant called alpha-lipoic acid that can protect many parts of the body.

A student holds up a beet from her elementary school garden.
Jeff Gritchen/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images
Jeff Gritchen/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images

According to a review in BMC Nutrition & Metabolism, beets can potentially subdue many illnesses. The antioxidants in beetroot guard against diabetes, neural decline, and even oral infections.

Eggs Have High-Quality Protein

In moderation, eggs can be very beneficial. The vitamins and minerals in eggs are vital for the brain, energy, and immune function.

A young girl holds two eggs in front of her eyes.
Unsplash / Hannah Tasker
Unsplash / Hannah Tasker

Eggs also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which promote eye health, as well as heart-healthy choline, and folic acid, which can prevent congenital disabilities.

Barley Is Great For Cardiovascular Health

Researchers at Poland’s Institute of Cardiology have found that consuming B-6 with folate may help reduce your levels of homocysteine, a compound that may increase your risk of heart disease.

A woman holds barley seeds in her hands.
Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Barley has high levels of both of these ingredients, and it is naturally low in cholesterol. Additionally, barley contains beta-glucan fiber, which reduces “bad” LDL cholesterol.

Black Beans Are Full Of Fiber And Selenium

One cup of black beans offers 15 grams of fiber, and research shows that those with diabetes have lower glucose levels if they eat more fiber.

Uncooked black beans sit in a bowl.
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

According to Medical News Today, black beans also contain selenium, which is important for liver function and may help reduce the likelihood of developing cancer.

Flaxseed Is Promising

Flaxseed has historically served as an ancient herbal remedy. In several studies, flaxseed has been shown to reduce blood sugar in participants, which steers people away from diabetes.

A spoon full of flaxseed sits next to a jar of flaxseed oil.
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Also, flaxseed’s effect on blood pressure and inflammation may guard against chronic kidney disease and heart disease.

Cabbage Is Associated With A Lower Risk Of Cancer

Cabbage is a part of the cruciferous family of vegetables which are high in DIM, a compound that may help protect against radiation damage, according to a study by Georgetown University.

A farmer harvests cabbage.
NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images
NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images

Cabbage also contains sulforaphane, a compound that researchers suggest can fight cancer due to its ability to inhibit HDAC, an enzyme that participates in cancer’s spread.

Alfalfa Sprouts May Help Lower Cholesterol

A study testing a group of 15 humans found that eating 40 grams of alfalfa three times a day lowered their LDLs and their total cholesterol levels due to the high content of the compound saponin.

Alfalfa sprouts are pictured against a white backdrop.
Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post via Getty Images
Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Alfalfa is also high in antioxidants, which reduce cell damage caused by free radicals.

Oranges Are Full Of Health Benefits

Oranges have a high amount of vitamin C as well as several other disease-fighting properties. One orange contains about a fifth of your daily fiber intake, which studies show has a positive impact on cholesterol.

Oranges sit on a table display.
Unsplash / Aliona Gumeniuk
Unsplash / Aliona Gumeniuk

Researchers have found that they also contain flavonoids that may help protect against heart disease.

Tomatoes Are Full Of Phytochemicals

A study published in the Molecular Cancer Research journal found that the beta-carotene found in tomatoes was effective at preventing tumor growth with prostate cancer.

A gardener and her husband hold a bowl of tomatoes.
Unsplash / Elaine Casap
Unsplash / Elaine Casap

Tomatoes also contain good amounts of fiber, potassium, vitamin C, folate, and choline, all of which researchers have found to have a positive impact on heart health.

Blueberries Are Good For Your Bones

The iron, phosphorus, calcium, manganese, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin K found in blueberries make them excellent for your bones. Research shows that they may also help protect against heart disease and manage diabetes.

Someone holds blueberries in their palm.
Pixabay / hellotimothytyndale
Pixabay / hellotimothytyndale

Researchers have found that the antioxidants in blueberries may inhibit tumor growth, decrease inflammation, and prevent or slow down various types of cancer.

Reach For Walnuts More Often

A study conducted by an Australian school of pharmacy found that walnuts contain healthy fats and various bioactive components that may help to prevent heart disease and cancer.

A bowl of walnuts sits on a wooden surface.
Pixabay / Zsuzsanna Tóth
Pixabay / Zsuzsanna Tóth

Additionally, studies have linked walnuts to brain health and show that they may help prevent cognitive decline associated with older age. They are also highly rich in antioxidants.

Yogurt Is Good For More Than The Gut

Due to its probiotics, yogurt can enhance the good bacteria you need to break down food. It also contains benefits such as protein, calcium, and vitamins that can protect your bones and teeth.

A bowl of yogurt is topped with mint.
Unsplash / Micheile Henderson
Unsplash / Micheile Henderson

Probiotics may also boost the immune system by promoting better digestion, which in turn delivers the necessary antioxidants, vitamins, and other minerals to the rest of the body.

Add Watercress To Your Salads

Watercress may be one of the more underrated leafy vegetables. Watercress has many health benefits, including the cancer-preventing DIM compound and bone-healthy vitamin K.

A bunch of watercress is pictured.
Pixabay / DAW808
Pixabay / DAW808

Watercress also contains the antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid, which two 2019 studies found to reduce symptoms of gestational diabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Curry Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Curry is a mixture of spices, such as turmeric and cumin, which contain anti-inflammatory properties that can help relieve the symptoms of inflammatory diseases.

A green curry dish sits on a wooden table.
Pixabay / Huahom
Pixabay / Huahom

One study published by Nutrition Research and Practice found that those who ate curry two to four times a week had lower triglyceride levels, a type of fat that can increase your risk of heart disease.