Doctors: Food can help heal your body

February 15, 2013 4:53:17 PM PST
Food gives you energy when you need it, and some can actually help you when you're not feeling well. Doctors say certain foods have medicine-like properties and we found out which ones they are.

Oatmeal is a famous example. It's proven to reduce cholesterol. But did you know that plant sterols which are being added to some foods like orange juice and eggs, can also act like a cholesterol medicine?

"Plant sterols can lower your bad LDL cholesterol by about 12-15 percent in as little as two weeks and that's quite significant," said Sherry Torkos, a pharmacist and author of "Saving Women's Hearts." "What you want to look for in the grocery store is foods that are fortified with these corowise plant sterols."

Torkos says if you want a diet drug, try invisible fiber. Eating 25-35 grams a day can help stop food cravings.

"Adding more soluable fiber to your diet will help stabilize your blood sugar level, and in turn will help with appetite, hunger and cravings," Torkos said. "So really soluable fiber can be a dieter's best friend."

Fish with it's Omega-3 fatty acids, can act like several medicines.

"With benefits for blood pressure, triglicerides, reducing clotting and reducing inflammation," Torkos said.

But she say wild fish has more Omega-3 and fewer contaminants. A new time-released version of the niacin supplement helps drop cholesterol and it's cheap.

"Products such as these can cost you $10 a month compared to a statin drug, which can cost $50-60, to $80 a month," Torkos said.

Finally, a potent form of Vitamin E called Tocotrienols may actually help protect brain cells against damage from a stroke. It's found in supplements and Malaysian palm fruit oil.

If you have high blood pressure, you might want to try grape seed extract. Researchers say it works by helping to open blood vessels which increases blood flow.

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