"We dig our grave with our teeth." This old saying sounds funny and odd, but unfortunately it is true. We are told from the time we are young that food provides calories or energy. But there's so much more to food nutrition than that. Foods can make you feel healthier and younger - or they can make you deathly ill.

It is important to eat healthy with today's hectic lifestyles. Nutritious foods can help prevent heart disease or allow it to happen. The right foods can help you lose weight or get fat. Some foods even keep your hair and skin healthy and young looking well into your golden years - or allow them to fall out. If you think genetics is responsible then consider this - the nutrition you consume determines which genes are activated and which genes are dormant.

By incorporating certain changes to your daily diet, you can look younger while greatly cutting your risk for disease. As time goes on, your healthier food habits can lessen your chance of dependency on medications later in life and reduce health care costs.

Many of us know which foods to avoid, such as junk food. In fact, the more processed a food is, the less nutrition it may contain. The real question is - what can we eat? To get you going, here is a partial list of high nutrition foods to help keep you healthy and young.

Bananas are full of Vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and fiber. The high potassium can help regulate high blood pressure while other nutrients help strengthen your stomach lining against ulcers.

Barley has long been well known in the Middle East as a heart medicine. It can help reduce cholesterol levels and is full of antioxidants that can help your body fight cancer. Dried barley grass is a healthy, green super-food used by many for it's high content of vitamins, minerals and proteins.

Beans are high in fiber which can reduce cholesterol levels as much as 10 percent. Another powerful side effect of beans is that they help regulate blood-sugar levels.

Blueberries can work as a powerful antibiotic. They help keep infectious bacteria from attaching itself to the lining of your urinary tract, helping to prevent bladder infections.

Cinnamon is a strong stimulator of insulin activity therefore it is potentially helpful for those with adult-onset diabetes. In addition, it has been shown to help prevent blood clots.

Chili Peppers help your blood flow freely through your circulatory system helping to lower the risk of stroke and heart attack. They contain capsaicin, a substance that fights inflammation. Capsaicin is currently used for pain relief from arthritis and even psoriasis. Fitness enthusiasts have long used chili peppers to help fight fat by speeding up metabolism.

Dates are packed with minerals including iron, manganese, potassium, phosphorous, calcium, copper and magnesium as well as being high in fiber. These treats also contain a substance that acts as a natural aspirin.

Garlic stimulates the immune system. It is anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. It also helps your body kill off parasites and eliminate toxic substances including lead. It is now being researched by the National Cancer Institute for anti-tumor properties.

Ginger has long been known to relieve nausea. It is also anti-inflammatory helping to relieve pain and swelling due to rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Researchers have also found it to be helpful to block the effect of certain substances which cause inflammation of the brain that leads to migraines. Other research has discovered ginger to have a similar effect as does aspirin on thinning blood clots.

Parsley is a great source of antioxidants that help fight carcinogens, including those found in tobacco smoke. It has long been known to cleanse the body by absorbing toxins and helping to move them out of the body.

Teas, especially green teas, are loaded with polyphenols, which help protect from free radical damage. Just 2 cups a day may lower a woman's risk of ovarian cancer by up to 46%. And it helps reduce belly fat.

You can easily add many of these foods to your daily program. More and more research is finding how powerful whole foods are. This is probably why Hippocrates said "Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food."

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