Surprising Health Benefits of 4 Fruits & Vegetables That Should Be On Your Table

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Surprising Health Benefits of Tomatoes, Grapes, Carrots & Walnuts

Chomping On These Foods Will Definitely Help You To Improve Your Health & Keep That New Years Resolution

This is the year, I’m going take better care of my health!

I’m going to eat more fruits and vegetables and less red meat

I’m going to the gym 5 days a week and lose 30lbs!

Sound familiar?

Despite more people embracing healthier lifestyles and living longer, these New Years resolutions are quickly and easily broken.  On some level we are still children fighting against our parents who forced us to eat boring, tasteless fruits and vegetables. As adults, despite all that we’ve read about antioxidants and how they improve our health, we’re still not getting the big picture of how these foods really work for our body. Let’s take a look at these four fruits and vegetables that you can add to your everyday meals that will help you keep your healthy New Years resolution.

Carrots, For More Than Just Healthy Eyes

Mom (and Bugs Bunny) always knew that this rascally vegetable loaded with the antioxidant beta carotene was good for your eyes but neither probably realized these three other health benefits:

  • Falcarinol is a natural pesticide found in carrots. It’s what protects the roots from fungal disease. In 2005, research from Danish Universities found that it may reduce the risk of cancers in humans.
  • The soluble fiber from carrots helps lower unhealthy LDL cholesterol levels by removing bile acids, which are known cholesterol triggers.
  • Carrots act as natural abrasives that eliminate dirt and to trigger saliva to remove stains from teeth. It also stimulates gums and kills germs.

Quick Tip: Not into eating raw carrots? A great way to get more carrots is to create a health-packed juice.  Juice carrots with your favorite fruits like apples and oranges.

Tomatoes: The Heart Healthy Vegetable (or Fruit)

If you take a good look at the inside of a tomato you should see something very interesting. It has four chambers just like the heart. It’s no coincidence that tomatoes are known for their great heart and blood benefits. Here are a couple other reasons to eat tomatoes:

  • Lycopene is known as a cancer-fighting antioxidant but research has shown that it can help reduce the occurrence of Exercise Induced Asthma. Study showed that wheezing patients who took lycopene supplements for seven consecutive days showed fewer asthma symptoms than those who didn’t take it.
  • Tomatoes help protect the lining of the stomach and small intestine giving ulcers a chance to heal.

Quick Tip:  One of the best ways to eat tomatoes is to make a nice caprese salad. Cut the tomatoes into wedges (or slices, if you prefer), add some fresh cracked black pepper, salt (the right kind of healthy salt) with some buffalo mozzarella, sweet basil, olive oil and some sweet balsamic vinegar.

Grapes, The Healthy Version of Wine

There has been a lot of research regarding the health benefits of grapes, wine and a component of both called Resveratrol. The next time you go to the produce section of the market, consider this:

  • Grapes increase nitric oxide levels in the blood preventing clots and decreasing the chances of heart attacks. It also prevents oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol, which blocks blood vessels.
  • Grapes relieves chronic constipation by toning the intestines and stomach.

Quick Tip: Add some fresh grapes and water chestnuts to your homemade chicken salad for a sweet and crunchy take on an old favorite

Walnuts, Brain Healthy Fats and More

If you put a picture of the human brain and a walnut next to each other, you should notice some similarities in the folds and divisions. It’s not a coincidence that walnuts are known as brain food because they are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which keep the brain fluid and flexible. In addition to that,

  • Walnuts are a natural source of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep.
  • There has been a lot of false information that eating walnuts will increase weight. Research shows that incorporating a moderate amount of walnuts in your diet does not result in unhealthy weight gain people fear. In fact, studies suggests that it reduces weight gain by increasing satiety.

Quick Tip: Love ice cream? Add some walnuts to your favorite slow churned ice cream for a delicious, healthy dessert

Ready For a Healthier and Happier New Year?

The great thing about all of these items is that they are readily available and can be incorporated into your normal diet routine. But now you have special reasons to make sure that these fruits, vegetables and nuts are a part of your life in 2012 and beyond.

To your health!