Over the last few months in this space we’ve been hopping around in the alphabet, picking a letter and then finding supplements, nutrients and other remedies that can help you with your health and well-being. If chicken soup is good for the soul, then consider this your alphabet soup for your overall health and wellness. This time, the letter F popped up on our radar, and we present these in alphabetical order, of course.
• Fenugreek. This herb has been around for thousands of years, and it’s best known for its use in alternative and Chinese medical treatments for skin conditions and other health-related remedies such as lowering elevated blood sugar levels, bolstering testosterone, and enhancing the production of milk in moms who are breastfeeding their infants, per healthline.com. One cited study of almost 80 mothers over a two-week period found that consuming fenugreek seeds mixed into herbal tea boosted breast-milk production, in the process helping babies gain more healthy weight.
• Fiber. Dietary fiber found predominantly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes typically comes up in conversation when the subject is constipation and how best to relieve that problem. But the benefits of fiber don’t stop there, per mayoclinic.org. It can also help in maintaining a healthy weight and can even reduce the risk of contracting diabetes. You will often hear dietary fiber referred to as “roughage” or “bulk,” and it got those names from the fact that your body doesn’t digest fiber. Instead, it passes essentially intact through your stomach, forward to your small intestine and on to colon, before being pushed out of your body. Even though fiber doesn’t stick around in your body long, its brief presence can assist in lowering cholesterol levels, regulating healthy blood sugar levels, and protecting your bowel health.
• Fish oil. Fish oil’s best-known health benefits reside in its capacity to guard the health of your heart as well as reduce inflammation, while also helping to burn fat and contribute to your cognitive health, i.e. brain power, as presented at chatelaine.com. It doesn’t stop there: fish oil, which is rich in omega-3s, has also been shown to naturally curtail the effects of osteoarthritis, help thwart the signs of aging, improve bone health (along with the likes of calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium), and even be a barrier between you and the damaging effects of air pollution.
• Flavonoids. Whenever you hear someone talk about “brain food,” chances are they are referring to those fruits and vegetables that contain flavonoids, which are plant chemicals that play a vital role in your cognitive fitness and prevention of dementia, per health.harvard.edu. Flavonoids help the brain in multiple ways, to include boosting blood flow to the brain, ridding the body of free radicals that can damage cells, and alleviating inflammation.
• Flaxseed oil. We just touched on “brain food” when referring to flavonoids right above this, and now, with flaxseed oil, we have what’s been called “functional food,” as described in medicalnewstoday.com. A plant-based food, flaxseed is a rich source of healthful fat (yes, there is such a thing), antioxidants, and fiber. Like fenugreek also mentioned earlier in this blog, flaxseed has served a medical purpose for thousands of years, in its case as a staple in the ancient practice of Ayurvedic medicine. Its varied uses include the prevention of constipation as well as treating diabetes, elevated cholesterol, and heart disease. Its inflammation-reducing characteristic also makes it useful in treating arthritis.
• Folic acid. A B vitamin, folic acid plays an instrumental part in manufacturing new cells within your body. That’s an especially important function for pregnant women in that it can help prevent significant birth defects in the unborn baby’s brain and spine, such as neural tube defects (NTDs), per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A good source of folic acid are some breakfast cereals that have been enriched with it – be sure to check the labels on boxes for its inclusion. If it’s a vitamin supplement you are looking for, try vitamins B9 and B12.