12 Foods That Resemble The Organs They Are Good For

Centuries ago, many people followed a philosophy known as the Doctrine of Signatures. This way of thinking involved choosing certain fruits, vegetables, and other plants that resembled organs and deciding they must be good for that body part. Does that sound a bit bizarre?

It turns out our ancestors were not far off the mark. Here are 12 examples of foods that resemble organs they are good for and why.

1. Avocados and the uterus. An avocado contains omega-3 fatty acids, which helps lower the secretion of a hormone-like substance (prostaglandin) that can make the uterus contract and cause pain. Avocados are also an excellent source of , which can help reduce the risk of fibroids developing in the uterus.

Read more about the delicious health benefits of avocados

2. Carrots and eyes. Perhaps the biggest contribution of carrots to eye health is its high level of beta-carotene, a potent antioxidant that the body converts to vitamin A. This vitamin plays a key role in reducing the chance of developing macular degeneration in older adults. Note, however, that carrots (or vitamin A) will not improve eyesight unless you have a vitamin A deficiency.

3. Celery and bones. Straight and sturdy, stalks of celery do resemble human bones, especially those in the legs and arms. Celery packs a good supply of vitamin K, which works at the cellular level, along with vitamin D, to build bone. Vitamin K also facilitates the absorption of calcium, a mineral critical for bone health. Other nutrients in celery that support bone health include vitamin C (helps form collagen, a protein that binds bone matrix cells together), magnesium (works with calcium), and manganese (helps make connective tissue in bone).

4. Clams and testicles. Foods that are rich in antioxidants help to prevent inflammation that can lead to a host of chronic illnesses including testicular cancer. Clams provide a wealth of antioxidants, including an extraordinary amount of selenium and excellent levels of copper, zinc, and A and C. Clams also have a fair amount of vitamin B5, which has been shown to improve testicular function in rats.

5. Citrus and the breast. Citrus fruits, including lemons, oranges, limes, and grapefruit, have been named as helping to prevent breast cancer. These foods are great sources of carotenoids and flavonoids, which have been associated with a reduced risk of cancer. [Editor's Note: Uncle Matt's Organics, one of our sponsors, makes refreshing and delicious citrus drinks including orange and grapefruit juice and lemonade in a variety of sizes. Check out their website to learn more.]

6. Ginger and the stomach. Ginger has a long history among 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. Is it any surprise the herb looks like the organ?

7. Grapes and the lungs. If you are wondering how grapes look like the lungs, the resemblance comes from inside the organ. That’s where the alveoli (tiny branches of tissue that allow oxygen to pass through) are located, and they look like a bunch of grapes. A link between grapes and the lungs comes from the seeds, which contain proanthocyanidin. This chemical has been shown to lower the severity of asthma brought on by allergies.

8. Mushrooms and ears. 
Mushrooms are a good source of vitamin D, and this vitamin plays a critical role in hearing and ear health. Vitamin D is important in the formation of the fragile bones that are in your ears and their healthy functioning.

Read about 6 reasons to love Portobello mushrooms

9. Olives and the ovaries. The resemblance between olives and the ovaries is easy to see, but do these little fruits hold any benefits for these female organs? Among the foods noted to be important for uterine health are fruits and healthy oily foods. Olives fall into both of these categories.

10. Sweet potatoes and the pancreas. Sweet potatoes are good for the pancreas on several levels. For anyone who has pancreatitis, it’s important to eat nutrient-dense foods, and sweet potatoes fit that bill. This food is exceptionally rich in beta-carotene/vitamin A while also providing good levels of vitamin C, potassium, iron, and magnesium. Sweet potatoes also help balance the glycemic index and thus help manage diabetes and the organ involved in insulin production—the pancreas.

11. Tomatoes and the heart. The connection between tomatoes and the heart lies with the antioxidant lycopene, which is found at high levels in tomatoes. Lycopene is credited with helping to reduce the risk for heart disease.

12. Walnuts and the brain. A shelled walnut looks like a mini brain, and the resemblance is uncanny. Walnuts have nearly twice the antioxidants as other common nuts, and they also are a rich source of the omega-3 fatty acid known as DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). DHA is critical for the healthy development of the brain and also is involved in managing mood and cognition.

BrainMD. Go walnuts for your brain’s health. 2017 Apr 17
Dresden D. Dietary choices to help prevent breast cancer. MedicalNewsToday 2017 Apr 3
Irani M et al. The effect of folate and folate plus zinc supplementation on endocrine parameters and sperm characteristics in sub-fertile men: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Urology Journal 2017 Aug 29; 14(5): 4069-78
Lee T. et al. Grape seed proanthocyanidin extract attenuates allergic inflammation in murine models of asthma. Journal of Clinical Immunology 2012 Dec; 32(6): 1292-1304
NutritionData. Mollusks, clam, mixed species, canned, drained solids. Nutrition Facts and Calories
Webb D. Do carrots really improve eyesight? Berkeley Wellness
Yamamoto T et al. Effects of pantothenic acid on testicular function in male rats. Journal of Veterinary Medical Science 2009 Nov; 71(11): 1427-32
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Andrea Donsky, B. COMM is an international TV Health Expert, Best Selling Author, Nutritionist Podcast Host, and Founder of NaturallySavvy.com—a recipient of Healthline’s Best Healthy Living Blogs for 2019. As a pioneer and visionary in the health food industry, Andrea’s passion is to inspire people to make healthier choices. Andrea has combined her background and expertise as both a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and an entrepreneur ("She Boss!") to educate the public on living a healthy lifestyle through the creation of her businesses, books, articles, podcasts, videos, talks, and TV and radio media appearances. Andrea founded Naturally Savvy Media Inc. in 2007 in order to share her passion for healthy living, and love for natural products and companies. Among her numerous publications, Andrea co-authored Unjunk your Junk Food published by Simon and Schuster, a book that journalist, author and mother Maria Shriver endorsed: “Unjunk Your Junk Food has certainly made me more aware about the food that my children eat and the effects it has on our body and mind."</P. Andrea also co-authored two e-books entitled Label Lessons: Your Guide To A Healthy Shopping Cart, and Label Lessons: Unjunk Your Kid’s Lunch Box.