We are what we eat, goes the saying.
But can we cure our ailments with food?
From boosting bone health and vision to relieving headaches and colds, vitamin-rich superfoods would solve it all.
While there are no “magic or miraculous foods,” some of them in combination could provide a natural health boost, experts say.
Here, MailOnline takes a closer look at 10 “superfoods” to see what makes them so good for us.
From sardines for bone health and milk for eyesight to kale for blood clotting and coffee for headaches, there are vitamin-rich foods that can help.
Sardines for bone health
Sardines may be small, but the oily fish is full of omega-3 fatty acids.
A 100 g serving of fish, which can be eaten fresh or canned, contains 3 g — making it one of the richest sources of healthy fat.
Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids reduce the risk of fractures and reduce bone loss.
The little fish are also packed with vitamin D, with 4 micrograms (mcg) per 100g serving – about a third of the recommended daily intake.
This essential vitamin is essential for bone health. It regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, which are necessary to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy.
And the fish’s bones are packed with calcium, which further boosts bone strength, according to dietitian Dr Duane Mellor of Aston University in Birmingham.
Experts say that if you eat the bones of sardines, you can benefit from the calcium content of the small fish, which is also good for bone strength
Coffee for a headache
In moderation, coffee can soothe a sore head by constricting blood vessels in the brain.
That’s because the pain of a headache may be caused in part by the swelling of blood vessels around your brain.
This causes a change in blood flow that can lead to headaches, according to the 2008 journal Clinical massage in health care.
But caffeine has been found to reduce blood flow to the brain by 27 percent, according to one 2009 study published in the journal Human Brain Mapping.
So in theory, coffee’s effect on your blood flow could ease your headaches.
Garlic for colds
The smelly, but tasty plant has been cut in half as a so-called superfood due to its immune-boosting properties.
Researchers have shown that garlic can help get rid of your runny nose and sore throat.
Garlic contains a bioactive organosulfur compound that may improve your immune system, according to a 2012 US study published in the journal Clinical nutrition.
The study found that those who consumed “aged garlic extract” had fewer cold and flu symptoms and felt sick for fewer days than those who ate the placebo.
Another 12 weeks study in 2001 revealed that those who took a daily garlic supplement experienced 63 percent fewer colds compared to a placebo group.
Kale for cuts
Bleeding too much after just a small cut is a telltale sign that you’re not eating your veggies.
The green leafy cabbage contains an abundance of vitamin K, which is essential for blood clotting. It contains about 40mcg per 100g – about half of a woman’s daily intake and a third of a man’s.
If you don’t get enough, you’re more likely to bleed and bruise.
‘Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting and perhaps also for bone health. Deficiency is rare, as it can also be made by the bacteria in our colon,” Dr Mellor told MailOnline.
He added: ‘It can cause problems if someone has a clotting disorder, as people taking paraffin need a constant intake of vitamin K, otherwise it could affect the effectiveness of their treatment.’
Although kale contains a significant amount of vitamin K, it’s not much more than other leafy greens, according to Dr. Mellor.
So if you’re not a big fan of the vegetable, broccoli is just as good, he added.
The leafy green contains an abundance of vitamin K, which is essential for blood clotting
Apple for your gut
Apples are packed with fiber and can do wonders for your gut.
Like many fruits and vegetables, apples contain a mixture of soluble and insoluble fiber.
It is this high soluble fiber content that can relieve constipation.
Dr. Mellor said: ‘Apples contain a type of carbohydrate pectin that escapes our digestive system but is broken down by the bacteria in our colon which acts as a prebiotic to support gut health.’
But it’s not just apples that will do this job. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables also helps keep the gut healthy.
Dr. Mellor said, “To maintain a healthy mix of gut bacteria (microbiome), it’s important to eat a variety of different foods, including vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts and legumes.”
Bananas for intestinal health
Bananas are another fruit filled with vital vitamins, including potassium.
But green bananas may be even better for our intestines.
The resistant starch passes through your small intestine undigested and then feeds the friendly bacteria in the colon, which can help fight diarrhea.
This is because less ripe bananas, such as apples, contain a type of carbohydrate that we cannot digest, but the large intestine can.
Dr. Meloor explains: ‘This is called resistant starch because, unlike other starches, we cannot easily digest it. It is also found in pasta and rice that has been cooked and cooled.
“Eating resistant starch from less ripe bananas along with other sources has been associated with a lower risk of certain cancers.”
Milk for your vision
Not only carrots are good for your eyesight, milk also has properties that can help our eyes.
Whole milk contains vitamin A, an anti-inflammatory that helps with eye and vision health. However, skim milk contains very little of this fat-soluble vitamin.
If you are deficient in vitamin A, you can go blind, hence the myth about eating enough carrots.
However, most people get enough of this vitamin because it is also found in many other vegetables.
Dr. Mellor said: ‘It is also found in eggs and offal as vitamin A and beta-carotene (which our bodies can convert into vitamin A) in leafy green vegetables, red peppers and tomatoes (as well as carrots, of course). ).’
But the vitamin is not only good for our eyes, it is also essential for healthy skin.
Dr. Mellor said: ‘It is responsible for the formation of new cells and a deficiency can lead to thickened and dry skin.
‘Because it can be obtained directly as vitamin A from food of animal origin and made from carotenes from plants, a deficiency is usually not a problem for anyone who eats a varied diet.’
Ginger has been shown to significantly reduce the symptoms of nausea. Studies have shown that it can help pregnant women and people undergoing chemotherapy
Ginger against nausea
Ginger could be the cure for morning sickness, experts say.
The root was found to significantly reduce the symptoms of nausea.
That is according to a review from 2014 published in Nutrition Journal, which looked at 12 studies involving 1,278 pregnant women. It was found that 1.1 to 1.5 grams of ginger can reduce nausea.
The herb is also thought to relieve chemotherapy-induced nausea and help people undergoing certain types of surgery.
Ginger’s health benefits primarily come from the bioactive component gingerol and related compounds called shogaols, which give it its distinctive flavor.
Gingerols and shogaols work by blocking the action of the neurotransmitters acetylcholine and serotonin in the body, a Study from 2014 published in the Korean Journal of Physiology & Pharmacology explains.
It adds that acetylcholine causes involuntary gastric contractions, while serotonin can stimulate the vomiting reflex.
As a result, ginger blocks the action of acetylcholine and serotonin, which could help calm nausea.
Sweet potato for leg cramps
If you regularly suffer from muscle spasms and cramps, sweet potatoes may be the remedy you’re looking for.
Potassium can help the body fight muscle weakness and cramps, and sweet potatoes are packed with it.
In fact, just 100g of the tasty vegetable contains 337mg of potassium out of the 3,500mg of potassium per day recommended by the NHS.
Not only sweet potatoes are a good source of potassium, so are regular potatoes, according to Dr. Mellor.
Both too high and too low potassium levels are not good for your health, he warned.
No matter what type of oats you choose, from rolled to quick oats, all porridges are good for you, experts say
Porridge for the heart
Oats are not only a filling breakfast, they are also a superfood for your heart.
High blood cholesterol can be a cause of heart disease.
But oats have been found to lower levels of the fatty substance.
It doesn’t matter which type of oats you choose, from rolled to quick oats, because according to dietician Victoria Taylor of the British Heart Foundation (BHF), all porridges are good for you.
She explains in one BHF article that all oatmeal contains a soluble fiber called beta-glucan, which can help lower cholesterol levels.
And according to BHF, lowering your cholesterol by even a little bit can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Those with high cholesterol may develop fatty deposits in your arteries. Over time, this can build up and make it harder for blood to flow through your arteries.
Sometimes these deposits can suddenly break up and form a clot that can cause a heart attack or stroke, according to the NHS.