Can you guess… what drains from our face when we’re shocked, flushes our cheeks when we’re embarrassed, heats our veins, and is chilled by bad news? Blood.
Many people don't think much about their blood until they cut themselves, but in fact the blood is constantly performing a number of very essential tasks. Your blood carries nutrients, hormones, immune cells and oxygen throughout your body but also removes wastes, toxins, and helps conserve and disperse heat. Blood components are meant to be used or disposed of rapidly, resulting in high cell turnover and also high nutritional requirements. Blood is life’s most basic building block, and yet most of us never even think to feed it. Certain foods are especially high in blood-building nutrients:
Protein is necessary for antibody production and blood clotting vital for transporting other molecules and maintaining proper fluid balance. Hemoglobin is a protein molecule, as are the many hormones that circulate throughout the body in the bloodstream. Protein is plentiful in plant foods, such as quinoa, eggs, soy milk, and peanut butter. Aim to consume about 0.4 grams of protein per pound of your body weight per day.
Low-cholesterol foods and foods that help decrease cholesterol levels help keep your blood and circulatory system healthy. High-fiber foods also help keep your blood cholesterol levels down by binding to cholesterol in your intestinal tract and preventing it from being absorbed. A handful of Walnuts, almonds and other nuts a day can reduce blood cholesterol. Rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, walnuts also help keep blood vessels healthy. Soluble fiber is also found in such foods as apples, pears, barley and prunes.
A diet low in refined sugars and processed carbohydrates can help keep your blood sugar levels within healthy limits. High blood sugar levels can lead to oxidation, which damages molecules, and promotes inflammation. Foods low on the glycemic index include fresh fruits, leafy greens, brown rice and surprisingly, pasta.
- "Harvard Health Publications" 11 Foods That Lower Cholesterol. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Mar. 2014.
- "University of Michigan Health System." Hemoglobin A1c Fact Sheet. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Mar. 2014.
- "Use Glycemic Index to Help Control Blood Sugar." Harvard Health Blog RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Mar. 2014.