4 Your Health

For Your Health: The Surprising Benefits of Four Common Foods
By David N. Ilfeld, M.D. Board Certified Internal Medicine, Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology 10/28/2010
It's no secret that the nourishing vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients found in different foods can provide a wealth of benefits to nearly every part of the body. But the health-supporting effects of these four common foods just may surprise you!

Although it may not provide instant strength, as Popeye suggested, spinach may help support bone health. Spinach is extremely rich in vitamin K (you'll get roughly 200% of the Recommended Daily Value in one cup of this fresh veggie), which plays a vital role in calcium absorption and bone health. Spinach also contains several minerals, such as magnesium and potassium, which work with calcium to promote bone health. You can multiply the bone benefits of spinach by consuming it with a calcium-rich food such as yogurt or cheese.

Flax Seeds
You may be familiar with flax seeds as a source of omega-3 essential fatty acids. But the major component of these tiny seeds is actually fiber - a substance that can support healthy digestion. Flax seeds are an excellent source of soluble fiber, which helps move bulk waste through the intestines. Flax seeds are also a good source of insoluble fiber, which binds waste and water together to produce solid, easily passable stools. Flax seeds provide well-rounded support for efficient digestion, optimal nutrient absorption and healthy waste elimination.

Green Tea
This tea-time superstar may be well known for its potential effects on metabolism, but did you know it may also help support healthy immune function? Green tea is extremely rich in catechin polyphenols (beneficial plant compounds), particularly epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG. Green tea's catechins are powerful antioxidants which protect the body from free radical damage, provide support for the heart and brain, and may play a role in healthy immune function.

Wild Salmon
There's nothing fishy about it - salmon may actually make your skin look years younger! A rich source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, salmon provides internal nourishment for calm, smooth, firm and well-hydrated skin. Research also indicates that eating fish such as salmon may also promote the skin's natural defenses against UV damage.

Adding these four common foods to your diet can give your body a healthy boost - but don't expect any one food or nutrient to offer a "magic bullet" for overall health. The key to achieving a healthy balance in life comes from consuming a wide variety of fresh, unprocessed foods such as fruits and veggies and health-supporting nutrients such as antioxidants and omega-3 essential fatty acids.