“Garlic is a source of allicin which lowers blood pressure, cholesterol and makes arteries more elastic, plus ajoene which helps to lower blood glucose levels,” said Dr Brewer.
She added: “Aged garlic also contains potent antioxidants such as sallylcysteine. 2.7g/0.1oz fresh cloves per day (two to three cloves) can lower LDL-cholesterol enough to cut your risk of a heart attack or stroke by 25 percent.
“Ajoene can lower glucose levels by 25 percent. Aged garlic inhibits formation of glycated proteins. Recent research suggests that garlic oil improves glucose tolerance and can decrease protein loss through the kidneys.”
“Ginger contains gingerol, zingerone and essential oils. Gingerol reduces blood clotting, boosts circulation and lowers blood pressure,” said Dr Brewer.
“Research suggests ginger increases insulin secretion and increases insulin-sensitive glucose uptake in fat (adipose) cells. Preliminary research suggests it may also reduce diabetes-related kidney damage.”
“Grapefruit contain antioxidants, with red grapefruit having a higher flavonoid and anthocyanin content.
“Grapefruit interacts with several prescription drugs, including statins – check medication insert sheets. Both blond and red grapefruit lower LDL-cholesterol (7 percent for blond, 15 percent for red), while red grapefruit lowers triglycerides by 17 percent (5 percent for blond),” said Dr Brewer.
“Grapes, especially lack grapes, are rich sources of antioxidant anthocyanadins such as resveratrol.
“Compounds found in red grapes can significantly increase levels of protective, antioxidant glutathione in pancreatic cells and increase insulin production in type 2 diabetes,” said Dr Brewer.
“Jerusalem artichokes contain the enzyme, inulase, and a complex sugar, inulin, made up of units of fructose giving it a low glycemic index. Inulin and inulase may help to stabilize glucose levels, especially when combined with higher GI foods,” said Dr Brewer.
“Olive oil is a good source of monounsaturated fats and antioxidants: vitamin E carotenoids and polyphenols,” said Dr Brewer.
She added: “A diet rich in olive oil has been shown to reduce blood pressure, and the risk of coronary heart disease by 25 percent.
“Following an olive-oil rich Mediterranean-style diet is predicted to prevent over 90 percent of type 2 diabetes, 80 percent of coronary heart disease and 70 percent of stroke when combined with regular physical activity and not smoking.”
“Oranges especially the red ‘blood’ oranges have high levels of antioxidant vitamin C, anthocyanidins and flavones.
“Cyanidin-3-glucoside and delphinidin-3-glucoside found in red oranges were recently shown to promote insulin secretion to improve glucose tolerance,” said Dr Brewer.