These days, it’s so simple to head to the drugstore or call your doctor to get a quick fix for whatever ails you. Stomach hurts all the time? Take a pill. High cholesterol? Get a prescription.
But there is another way—preventing disease from the inside out through the foods we eat. My favorite foods don’t just top my list because they’re delicious. They also do double duty as some of the best ways to fight our most common health problems. Try adding these five disease-preventing foods to your diet daily to avoid the pharmacy the natural way.
Avocados are one of my absolute favorite foods on the planet, and I love the avocado toast craze that’s been sweeping social media and cafes around the country. For years, people avoided avocados because they’re relatively high in fat, but when you check out all the goodness those calories pack, it’s clear that avocados are great for your health.
Avocados are packed with monounsaturated fats, which block the development of arteriosclerosis, or the hardening of arteries that cut off blood flow. That means that every time you add a dollop of guacamole (or two) to your burrito bowl, you’re improving your heart health and lowering risk for clogged arteries. Regularly eating avocados can also lead to higher levels of “good” cholesterol, while lowering the bad kind.
Additionally, avocados are one of the best fruit or vegetable sources of fiber, which is critical for increasing the healthy bacteria in the gut that can ultimately crowd out the unhealthy kind. Because an overflow of bad bacteria is what leads to many digestive orders, avocados could improve how your tummy feels.
Had enough guac and avocado toast? Get your avo fix with this healthy, gluten-free chocolate avocado mousse.
Coconut oil is one of the most versatile ingredients you can keep in the pantry. It’s one of the best oils to cook with, as it has a high smoke point that keeps its healthy components from going rancid at high heat. And it’s also great in a variety of homemade personal care products, including this Lavender and Coconut Oil Moisturizer for dry skin.
From an internal perspective, coconut oil can help treat UTIs and kidney infections, and the healthy fats it contains work as a natural antibiotic and antimicrobial, naturally attacking all kinds of harmful bacteria and microbes.
The lauric acid found in coconut oil is especially good at treating candida, which is often the culprit behind recurring yeast infections. And because coconut oil helps our body absorb the fat-soluble vitamins in foods, it can ease digestion issues.
In addition to making coconut oil your go-to cooking oil, try it in this paleo-friendly coconut oil mayonnaise recipe.
If you’re not getting your fill of leafy greens each day, you’re missing out. Greens like arugula, collard greens, kale, spinach and romaine are some of nature’s most powerful cancer fighters. They’re also chock-full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes—and you can pile these greens as high as you’d like, because they’re quite low in calories.
Leafy greens are natural sources of glucosinolates, which have antibacterial and antiviral properties. These help reprogram cancer cells to die off while preventing tumors from forming, metastasizing or spreading to other parts of the body.
They might not leave you with the best-smelling breath, but onions are hard to beat when it comes to fighting disease. Thanks to their rich supply of antioxidants that prevent cell damage, onions have been found to reduce the risk of colon, ovarian and mouth cancers. The sulfur found in onions also helps to prevent tumor growth and protects cells from mutating.
If you’re at risk for diabetes, adding onions to meals can help. Onions are an effective, natural way to control blood sugar levels and prevent insulin resistance. They’re also a source of chromium, which plays a role in controlling glucose and preventing diabetes.
Increase your onion uptake by adding it to salads and sandwiches, or make this slow cooker French onion soup.
Hands down, turmeric is one of the most powerful herbs available. It’s been used since ancient times to fight and even reverse disease—all thanks to curcumin, one of the active compounds found in the spice. In modern times, turmeric been proven to be as effective as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen at preventing blood clotting, without any of the negative side effects that come along with the medications.
Adding curcumin to your diet also helps to lower blood sugar and reverse insulin resistance, and it may even be more effective than common diabetes drugs like Metformin. Often, medicines used to treat gastrointestinal disorders have little effect, because the stomach’s flora is already compromised and the drugs can quite literally tear at the lining. But turmeric has helped patients manage inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s or IBS without side effects and with the added bonus of increasing probiotics (good bacteria) in the gut, which also aid in recovery.
Sipping this turmeric tea daily is an easy way to incorporate more of this “magical” spice into your diet. You can also try these turmeric eggs which—bonus!—also include onions. Cook them with coconut oil and add a side of leafy greens with avocado for an all-in-one, disease-fighting meal!
The New Potato and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease or ailment.
All content on The New Potato (even when supplied by a medical professional) is intended for educational and conversational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or healthcare provider before beginning any new diet, exercise regime, or wellness routine.