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Continuing our look at the health benefits of popular foods. Here we look at foods beginning with P to W.
Papayas grow in tropical climates and are also known as papaws or pawpaws.
The possible health benefits of consuming papaya include a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, aiding in digestion, improving blood glucose control in diabetics, lowering blood pressure, and improving wound healing.
Peaches are a characteristically fuzzy fruit native to northwest China. They are a member of the stone fruit family, meaning that they have one large middle seed, along with cherries, apricots, plums and nectarines.
One medium peach contains 2% or more daily value of vitamins E and K, niacin, folate, iron, choline, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc and copper. They have been shown to ward off obesity-related diseases such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.
Peppermint is used as a traditional or folk remedy for several conditions and illnesses because of its calming effects.
The potential health benefits of peppermint include: treating the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)62, calming skin irritation and itchiness, preventing the onset of headaches and associated symptoms.63
Pineapple is a source of important vitamins and minerals such as thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, manganese and potassium and antioxidants and polyphenols, such as beta-carotene.
Fresh pineapple is the only known source of an enzyme called bromelain, which has been used in studies to determine it's effectiveness in alleviating joint pain, arthritis, reduce inflammation, inhibit tumor growth and shorten recovery time following plastic surgery.
Along with the tomato and eggplant, the potato plant belongs to the nightshade family, of which some species are truly poisonous. Today potatoes are one of the cheapest universal crops to produce and are available year-round.
The health benefits of consuming potatoes include maintaining bone structure, supporting heart health, reducing chronic inflammation and preventing constipation.
Pumpkin is an extremely nutrient dense food, meaning it is chock-full of vitamins and minerals but low on calories. There are many creative ways pumpkin can be incorporated into your diet, including desserts, soups, salads, preserves and even as a substitute for butter.
The potential health benefits of pumpkin including supporting heart health, eye health, promoting fertility and giving immunity a boost.
Nutritionally, quinoa is considered a whole grain. Whole grains include the entire intact grain seed without removing any of its parts. In contrast, when grains are milled or refined like white breads, white rice, and white pasta, they have been processed to create a finer, lighter texture.
Consuming 2-3 servings of whole grain foods per day can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, colon cancer and obesity. Many studies have shown that as whole grain intake increases, the risk for all five of these lifestyle-related conditions decreases.
Rosemary is a rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.
Studies have found that rosemary may potentially help treat indigestion64, enhance memory and concentration65, provide neurological protection66, and provide protection against macular degeneration.67
Sage is rich in antioxidants (apigenin, diosmetin, and luteolin) and important nutrients, such as vitamin K.
Studies have found that sage may potentially improve memory and information processing among people who suffer from mild Alzheimer's disease68, and help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels in patients with diabetes type 2.69
Spearmint contains high amounts of vitamins, antioxidants and other vital nutrients.
Studies have found that spearmint may potentially have antioxidant and antifungal properties70, reduce symptoms of nausea and other digestive problems71, and treat hirutism (abnormal hair growth).72
Spinach one of the best sources of dietary magnesium and calcium.
The potential health benefits of spinach include: helping manage diabetes, helping preventing cancer, reducing the risk of asthma, lowering the risk of blood pressure, and improving bone health.
Strawberries are one of the most popular, refreshing and healthy treats on the planet and contain many vitamins and antioxidants that can be beneficial for your health.
The potential health benefits of strawberries include: reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, blood pressure, constipation, allergies, diabetes and depression.
Sweet potatoes pack a powerful nutritional punch. They have got over 400% of your daily needs for vitamin A in one medium spud, as well as loads of fiber and potassium.
The potential health benefits of sweet potatoes include a protective role against prostate cancer, promoting fertility, boosting immunity and supporting vision.
Thyme preparations may be more effective than acne prescription creams, according to scientists at Leeds Metropolitan University in England.73
Studies have found that thyme may potentially protect against hypertension74, help fight off foodborne bacterial infections75, and induce cell death in the breast cancer cells.76
Tofu, made from soybean curds, is naturally gluten-free and low calorie, contains no cholesterol and is an excellent source of protein, iron, and calcium.
The isoflavones (a type of compound called phytoestrogens) in soy foods have been linked to a decreased risk for osteoporosis, while the calcium and magnesium in soy may help to lessen PMS symptoms, regulate blood sugar and prevent migraine headaches.
The tomato has been referred to as a "functional food," a food that goes beyond providing just basic nutrition, additionally preventing chronic disease and delivering other health benefits, due to beneficial phytochemicals such as lycopene.
Tomatoes are a rich source of vitamins A and C and folic acid. Tomatoes contain a wide array of beneficial nutrients and antioxidants, including alpha-lipoic acid, lycopene, choline, folic acid, beta-carotene and lutein.
The benefits of consuming fruits and vegetables of all kinds, including tomatoes, are infinite. As plant food consumption goes up, the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer goes down.
Watermelon contains thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, choline, lycopene and betaine. According to the National Watermelon Promotion Board, watermelon contains more lycopene than any other fruit or vegetable.
The possible health benefits of watermelon include asthma prevention, reduction of high blood pressure, regulation of digestion, inflammation reduction, promoting healthy hair and skin.