Here is the second part of the list of the principal recommended foods that can keep us healthy during these difficult times we are facing.
Contains more vitamin C than any other fruit: one contains 120 per cent of an adult’s recommended daily intake — and two can do the work of a highly efficient laxative. A superb source of fibre, they are also good for the digestive system and maintaining a healthy heart.
A good source of the amino acid tyrosine, from which the body makes norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that is essential for concentration and alertness. You can get packets of shelled seeds at most supermarkets.
Rich in mono-unsaturated oils that can help to lower cholesterol. They are also a good source of B vitamins that help to maintain the body’s nerves and muscle tissue. They also boost resistance to stress. Be sure to buy natural ones, not those fried in oil.
All the experts rate this as essential for good health. It’s full of cancer-beating antioxidants and helps to keep the brain active and healthy. It can also help to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol. Ideally, we should drink two cups per day. I’ve never been keen on the green tea taste but the minted green tea at Mercadona is much more acceptable to my palate. Black tea is also rich in antioxidants.
These include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and sprouts. Some reports have shown that broccoli can help to fight cancer.
High in carbohydrate, potassium and folic acid, they have as much vitamin B6 as the equivalent weight of liver. They help to boost the body’s production of serotonin (the ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitter) and can help to lower blood pressure.
An especially good source of vitamin E, which slows the ageing process and keeps the skin taut and healthy. They are also beneficial for the arteries and help the blood to circulate smoothly.
These are rich in betacarotene antioxidants that help to fight cancer. Betacarotene also helps to slow down the ageing processes, including mental decline.
A good source of selenium, one of the most difficult minerals to find in everyday foods. Selenium can protect against Alzheimer’s, depression and cancer. Brazil nuts also cut the risk of heart disease.
These are considered to be one of the superfoods, meaning they have a wide range of special properties. They contain as much protein as red meat and have all the essential amino acids.
They contain quercetin, an antioxidant also found in tea and onions, which may help fight the onset of Alzheimer’s by protecting the brain’s cell membranes.
They are rich in antioxidants that are beneficial for skin, liver, kidneys and bowels. They are an excellent detoxifier and also contain quercetin.
Along with blackberries and cherries, these contain high concentrations of anthocyanins which can improve brain function and also protect us against heart disease and cancer. They are called arándanos in Spanish and fresh ones are available in most supermarkets. Mercadona also sell them dried and they are a very good buy at €2 for a 200 grs packet.
Chicken and turkey are more than just versatile meats because they contain tyrosine, an amino acid the brain uses to make dopamine and noradrenaline, neurotransmitters that benefit mental alertness and concentration. The best cuts of turkey and chicken are at El Corte Inglés and Mercadona. El Corte Inglés have a splendid selection of rabbit cuts that are worth considering.
Blue fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and white fish such as cod (bacalao fresco), whiting (pescadilla) and monkfish (rape) are good lean sources of protein. They are also rich in the B vitamins, essential for healthy nerves and brain cells function.
It has its own antioxidants but it also helps the body to absorb the disease-fighting antioxidants in vegetables. Spanish olive oil is the best in the world and in Palma we have a huge selection to choose from. The biggest choice is at El Corte Inglés and includes the best Majorcan varieties as well as those from the principal producing areas on the mainland. Make the most of them.
Many varieties contain selenium, a mineral that combats cancer. Mushrooms also have substances that may help the immune system to remove abnormal disease-causing cells. The season for wild mushrooms is now getting underway, so this is the best time of the year to take your pick. The Montiel stall at the Mercat d’Olivar has the best selection. It is the very large stall on the right as you directly enter the fruit and veg section from the fish market.
Majorcans love this herb and it is widely available in its fresh and dry forms. A tablespoon has as many antioxidants as a large apple and it also contains phenolic acids that could prevent some cancers from forming. Some top cooks and food writers insist on using oregano only after it has dried out but I find it is absolutely splendid when used freshly picked, especially in pasta sauces.
Four of these nuts should be part of everyone’s daily diet. These days I have them as a nibble with sips of red wine as I start to prepare lunch. They are rich in a form of vitamin E that may be helpful in fighting breast, prostate and lung cancer. They could also improve insulin resistance in those with type-2 diabetes. Walnuts, one of the best foods for the brain, also contain melatonin, a powerful antioxidant that promotes restful sleep.
They are rich in lycopene, a red carotenoid pigment also present in many berries and fruits, that can attack free radicals before they cause any damage, thereby averting everything from wrinkles to hearts attacks — and especially prostate cancer.
They are a legume and not a member of the nut family, but we eat them as if they were nuts. They provide more protein than any of the nuts and are high in mono-unsaturated fats that can reduce cholesterol levels, thereby protecting against clogged arteries and preventing heart disease. They are also high in vitamin E and have a low glycemic index score, thus helping to prevent the onset of type-2 diabetes. They are also very economical: a 200 grs packet costs 80 centimos at Mercadona.
This list is just a little reminder. There are many other foods we should be eating frequently such as watercress, radish, lentils and other pulses, asparagus, cucumber, pineapple, strawberries, carrots, ginger, honey, parsley, lemon and very long etcetera. Always bear in mind that the best way to healthy eating is a diet as varied as possible — and remember that the way to a healthy lifestyle is moderation in everything.