Four foods a day to keep the doctor away

It doesn't take much to stay healthier. Four everyday items can assist you in keeping trips to the doctor to a minimum.

Stay hydrated

The Mayo Clinic's
advice about water and liquid in your body is simple. "Water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues."

Dehydration results without the proper amount of liquid in your system. Normal activity becomes difficult or impossible and some people experience dizziness and nausea as a result.

How much is enough? As one would expect it varies by the individual. The climate where you live and how active you are can make a difference. On average a man is advised to consume three liters and a woman a bit over 2 liters of liquid a day.

Water isn't the only thing that qualifies, although it should be the largest portion of the daily liquid intake. Fruits and vegetables can provide up to 20% of that total and should.

An apple a day

Apples can help you keep your heart healthy. Yes, you read that write.

A study out of Florida State University concluded that, "...apples could be a heart healthy snack for everyone." Although the study's control group was limited to women, the researchers concluded that while specific results might vary, men as well as women would be well served by consuming apples.

"Researchers...discovered apples promoted healthy cholesterol levels in the women studied. Apples lowered C-reactive protein that is a marker of inflammation and linked to heart disease."

In six months the women lowered their "bad" cholesterol (LDL) level by 23% eating dried apples. "Good" cholesterol (HDL) levels increased by 4%.

Lemons, a key to weight reduction

Lemon juice has been shown to stimulate a body's metabolism. When combined with increased physical activity and controlled eating weight loss is bound to follow.

In her popular book The Lemon Juice Diet published in 2007, health writer Theresa Cheung claimed that "...poor digestion can stop your body getting the nutrients it needs to burn fat. It can also cause a build-up of toxins in your body, leaving you feeling sluggish and depressed."

How do lemons fit into a regular diet? Lemon juice diluted in warm water each morning helps keep your body detoxing and one's digestive system humming. Squeeze a lemon over your food at mealtime can help stabilize blood sugar levels.

They also are one of the strongest and most pure forms of Vitamin C a body can receive. For more info on the book and the diet, check out amazon.com.

Calcium and milk for strong bones

The Harvard School of Public Health found that, "Calcium is a mineral that the body needs for numerous functions, including building and maintaining bones and teeth, blood clotting, the transmission of nerve impulses, and the regulation of the heart’s rhythm. Ninety-nine percent of the calcium in the human body is stored in the bones and teeth."

The body pulls calcium that it needs from the bones when it is low and intake has to come from supplements or better yet, food that we consume.

At least one study, this one from 2009 at Purdue University shows that dairy products may be better than pills or foods fortified with calcium carbonate for maintaining strong bones, at least for children in the growing stages of young life.

The study was the first to show that dairy products lead to strong bones, comparing to calcium carbonate in foods and supplements. More research is needed to understand the reasons.

Image: Wikimedia Commons