8 Plants With Unexpected Health Benefits

See how these superfoods can do everything from preventing birth defects to easing inflamed joints.

February 22, 2016
eating healthy plants
Image Source Pink / Alamy

Over the years, countless people have told me that by switching to a plant-based diet, they feel so much better. It's very satisfying to eat healthful food. It's delicious on your palate, and you can feel the goodness of the nutrients it contains. Unlike junk food, whole plant foods don't catch up with you later, making you feel bloated or nauseated.

Related: This 4-Year-Old Vegetarian's Love For Animals Will Melt Your Heart

The food is good at the point of contact, and it continues to be good as it travels all the way through your system. Here are some super-special plants you can eat. These eight foods are just a sampling of how plant-based foods contain unexpected healing powers. (Spices can also be fantastically healthy. In fact, This Spice Could Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease.)

Click through the slideshow for more.


Avocados may help prevent birth defects. They contain a high level of folate, an important B vitamin that combats a common condition called neural tube defect.

Photo Alto

Beans can be a benefit to those with diabetes. They are highly nutritious but low on the glycemic scale, so they don't cause blood-sugar spikes.

Related: 5 Reasons To Eat More Beans

flax seeds
Photograph courtesy of Rodale Images

Flaxseeds can improve women's health. They reduce the risk of breast cancer by safely metabolizing estrogen and can reduce hot flashes in menopausal women. Flax can even help regulate the menstrual cycle.

Mitch Mandel

This leafy green is great for detoxing. Its high fiber and sulfur content supports the health of your liver.

Related: The Best Foods For Your Liver

swiss chard
Swiss Chard

Swiss chard contains more vitamins and antioxidants than nearly any other plant. Its nutrient contents include: omega-3 fatty acids, B folates, copper, sodium, potassium, iron, manganese, calcium, phosphorous, and vitamins A, C, and K. It also helps fight colon and prostate cancer.

Deborah Ory

This root vegetable helps improve sexual vitality. Beets contain high levels of boron, which is linked to the production of human sex hormones. (Be sure to eat the healthy greens, too!)

Related: Roasted Beets + Sauteed Beet Greens

Photograph courtesy of Rodale Images

This naturally anti-inflammatory food is the go-to plant to help relieve joint pain.


This spicy green is loaded with nutrients and has been recommended as a performance enhancer for athletes, without any negative side effects.

Like what you read? Sign up for Today’s Organic Life newsletter for must-have tips sent to your inbox.

Adapted from Living the Farm Sanctuary Life, originally published on Rodale Wellness.