Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi

Fight Disease With Food

Brittany Simmons, MS, RD, LD

Believe or not, you can heal your body of certain ailments through food alone. No prescription required. The problem is, it usually takes a lot longer, and today we don’t have enough patience to wait. However, some symptoms may subside shortly after you eat a certain food. For example, orange juice can help prevent fainting when your blood sugar is super low. For me, dark chocolate and coffee can actually relieve irritability!

When you decide to eat healthy foods, you want to make sure you absorb the most amount of nutrients. Did you know that boiling your vegetables can actually deplete a lot of vitamins and minerals? Also, did you know that watermelon has more antioxidants if you eat it room temperature rather than chilled? Watermelon contains beta carotene and lycopene which are some great disease fighting antioxidants, and research has found 40 percent more lycopene and 139 percent more beta carotene in watermelon stored at room temperature. How about that?

Here are some tips to get the biggest nutrition punch out of your food:

  • Cook vegetables in the least amount of water as possible.
  • Don’t thaw frozen vegetables before cooking.
  • Leave the skin on most of your fruit and vegetables. That’s where the most nutrients are.
  • Allow your produce to ripen a few days before consuming.
  • To better absorb antioxidants, add healthy fats to salads like walnuts, avocados and healthier oil-based dressing options.

Here are some common health conditions and foods you can fight back with:

Intestinal Irregularity
Probiotics- yogurt, Kefir
Fiber- black beans, squash, apples, shredded wheats
Hydration- water, unsweet green tea

High Cholesterol
Fiber - lentils, green beans, apples
Unsaturated fats - walnuts, olive oil, salmon, flaxseed
Lean protein - chicken, fish, turkey

Elevated Blood Sugar>
Fiber - lentils, green beans, apples
Unsaturated fats - walnuts, olive oil, salmon, flaxseed
Lean protein - chicken, fish, turkey

High Blood Pressure
Vegetables - spinach, turnip greens, tomatoes
Herbs - cilantro, cinnamon, basil, oregano, thyme
Fruit - bananas, melon, kiwi, oranges

You may notice this list doesn't include processed carbohydrates, candy, sodas, sweetened beverages, white bread, pasta, rice, cakes, pies or cookies. It’s best to focus on whole foods eaten as close to their natural state as possible for the best overall health benefits.

If I continued to list common diseases and ailments, you would notice this list of foods become repetitive. To sum up the world’s healthiest foods, you should eat natural carbohydrates (Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans), lean protein, dairy with probiotics, unsaturated fats, non-starchy vegetables and fruit. Choose a variety, and don’t binge eat foods like strawberries just because they are healthy. Another good habit is eating three meals a day. This will allow your body to use the food you eat for energy and absorb antioxidants. So, when it comes to fighting disease… get your game face on!

Health Information
Health & Wellness Articles
Health & Wellness Programs
Health & Wellness Resources