Centuries ago, many people followed a philosophy known as the signature doctrine. This way of thinking involved choosing certain fruits, vegetables and other plants that looked like organs, and deciding that they should be good for that part of the body. Does that sound a bit odd to you?
It turns out that our ancestors were not far from reality. Here are 12 examples of foods that look like organs for which they are beneficial, and why.
1. Lawyers and the womb
An avocado contains omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce the secretion of a hormone-like substance (prostaglandin) which can cause the uterus to contract and cause pain. Avocados are also a great source of vitamin C, which can help reduce the risk of developing fibroids in the womb.
2. Carrots and eyes
Perhaps the biggest contribution of carrots to eye health is their high level of beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant that the body converts to vitamin A. This vitamin plays a key role in reducing the risk of developing macular degeneration in seniors. Note, however, that carrots (or vitamin A) will not improve eyesight, unless you are deficient in vitamin A.
3. Celery and bones
Straight and sturdy, the stalks of celery look like human bones, especially those of the legs and arms. Celery contains a good amount of vitamin K, which works at the cellular level, along with vitamin D, to build bones. Vitamin K also aids in the absorption of calcium, a mineral essential for bone health. Other celery nutrients that support bone health include vitamin C (helps form collagen, a protein that binds cells in the bone matrix), magnesium (works with calcium), and manganese (helps make connective tissue in the bones).
4. Clams and testicles
Foods rich in antioxidants help prevent inflammation, which can lead to a multitude of chronic diseases, including testicular cancer. Clams provide a wealth of antioxidants, including an extraordinary amount of selenium and excellent levels of copper, zinc, and vitamins A and C. Clams also have a good amount of vitamin B5, which has been shown to improve testicular function in rats.
5. Citrus fruits and breasts
Citrus fruits, including lemons, oranges, limes and grapefruits, have been cited as helping to prevent breast cancer. These foods are great sources of carotenoids and flavonoids, which have been linked to a reduced risk of cancer.
6. Ginger and stomach
Ginger has a long history in many societies as a natural remedy for stomach problems, including indigestion, nausea and vomiting. In fact, scientists have identified gingerol as a phytochemical in the herb that can help prevent nausea and vomiting.
7. Grapes and lungs
If you are wondering what the grapes look like in the lungs, the resemblance comes from inside the organ. This is where the alveoli are located (tiny branches of tissue that allow oxygen to pass through) and they look like a bunch of grapes. A link between the grape and the lungs comes from the seeds, which contain proanthocyanidin. This chemical has been shown to reduce the severity of asthma caused by allergies.
8. Mushrooms and ears
Mushrooms are a good source of vitamin D, and this vitamin plays an essential role in hearing health. Vitamin D is important for the formation of fragile bones in your ears and their proper functioning.
9. Olives and ovaries
The resemblance between olives and ovaries is easy to see, but do these berries have benefits for these female organs? Foods noted as important for uterine health include fruits and fatty and healthy foods. Olives fall into these two categories.
10. Sweet potatoes and pancreas
Sweet potatoes are good for the pancreas on many levels. For anyone suffering from pancreatitis, it is important to eat nutrient-dense foods, and sweet potatoes fit that bill. This food is exceptionally rich in beta carotene / vitamin A while providing good levels of vitamin C, potassium, iron and magnesium. Sweet potatoes also help balance the glycemic index and help manage diabetes and the organ involved in insulin production – the pancreas.
11. Tomatoes and the heart
The link between tomatoes and the heart is in the antioxidant lycopene, which is found at high levels in tomatoes. Lycopene is known to have helped reduce the risk of heart disease.
12. The nuts and the brain
A shelled nut looks like a mini brain, and the resemblance is strange. Walnuts have almost twice as many antioxidants as other common nuts, and they are also a rich source of omega-3 fatty acid known as DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). DHA is essential for healthy brain development and is also involved in the management of mood and cognition.