Try including some of the following “super foods” into your diet. Each food contains vitamins, nutrients and/or minerals that are believed to contain special properties for health, disease prevention and/or longevity.
Broccoli:2 spears:Contains vitamins C, A, Beta Carotene and Fiber.
Carrots:2 medium: carrots every other day provide enough beta carotene to reduce stroke risk by half for men who already have symptoms of heart disease
Chili Peppers:1 or more peppers:The heat source in chilis, capsaicin, is an antioxidant. Contains blood thinning properties to prevent strokes, lowers cholesterol, protects DNA against carcinogens, may stimulate release of endorphins (“natural high” chemicals)
Spinach:1 cup uncooked:Contains vitamins A and C, folic acid and magnesium which help control cancer, reduces heart disease and stroke risk, blocks free radicals and may help prevent osteoporosis.
Mushrooms:1/4 cup dried Shitakes or other exotic mushrooms:Contain beta-glucan, which stimulates immune system. Shitake, enoki, zhuling and reishi all have anti-cancer and antiviral effects
Tomatoes:1 med. tomato:Contain lycopenes - an antioxidant more potent than vitamin C. Stimulates immune function and may slow degenerative diseases
Strawberries:1/2 cup:Contains ellagic acid, which contains anti-cancer properties
Papaya, Pineapple & Kiwi:one papaya, 1 cup pineapple, 1-2 kiwis:High amounts of enzymes that help combat everything from autoimmune diseases, allergies, and cancer to AIDS
Mangoes:1 mango:Contains bioflavonoids that aid the immune system
Citrus Fruits:1 lg. orange or equivalent:Contains vitamin C which helps your body fight cancers (lung, cervical, esophagus & stomach). Rich in bioflavonoids.
Apricots:3 fresh:Fresh apricots are high in beta-carotene. Also contains vitamin C and fiber.
Bananas:1 medium:Rich in magnesium (helps protect circulatory system), potassium and slowly-absorbed sugars. Good source of pectin (a soluble fiber). Prevents radical swings in blood sugar
Garlic:2-3 cloves fresh or 1 tsp. Garlic Powder:May lower cholesterol and blood pressure. May contain chemicals capable of destroying cancer cells
Green Tea:1 cup:Green tea contains polyphenols, which may reduce heart disease, cancer and stroke risk
Beans:1 cup:High in protein and complex carbohydrates. Contains both soluble and insoluble fiber. Contains phytochemicals and protease inhibitors that may help prevent cancer
Soybeans & Tofu:4 ounces tofu or equivalent soy product:Lowers “bad” LDL cholesterol levels in bloodstream which reduces heart disease risk. Studies have shown that people who regularly eat soy products have reduced risk or lower rates of prostate, colon, lung, rectal and stomach cancers.
Salmon:3 ounces:Contains omega-3 oils to fight heart disease. Contains calcium, magnesium, protein and B-vitamins.
Oats:1 cup oatmeal, 1-1/2 packets instant oatmeal, or -1/4 cup oat flakes cereal:Oat bran lowers cholesterol and blood pressure. May reduce risk of colon cancer. Oatmeal contains both soluble and insoluble fiber.
The New Superfoods
To say that Dr. Steven Pratt is passionate about food would be an understatement. To Pratt, coauthor of the 2004 best seller “SuperFoods Rx,” food choices aren’t about anything as trivial as personal tastes. They’re life-or-death decisions. Choose well, and you may ward off cancer and heart disease. Chow down on “processed crud,” as he calls it, and you might as well reserve a handicapped space at the hospital. tip sheet went grocery shopping with Pratt in California to see how he puts together his own healthy menu?and to get a sneak preview of some of the new power foods in his upcoming book, “SuperFoods HealthStyle,” due out in January. Among his picks:
Superfruits. With summer long gone, it may not seem a good time to be pitching fruit. But three of Pratt’s new power foods are fruits that are currently in season?pomegranates, kiwis and apples. Their list of virtues is long. But consider these teasers: a new study from the University of Wisconsin finds that pomegranate-fruit extract inhibits highly aggressive prostate-cancer cells in the lab. One medium kiwi packs as much vitamin C as an orange. “And kiwis help thin the blood, like aspirin without the side effects,” says Pratt. Even humble apples have been looking stellar in studies showing that they reduce the risk of asthma and may help prevent lung cancer. “There’s a tremendous amount of good data on apples,” he says. “It just somehow never gets to the public.”
Parsley, sage, rosemary and … cinnamon? Pratt hasn’t found a spice he doesn’t like. “One study found that 10 grams of spice [roughly 2 tablespoons] contained as many health-promoting antioxidants as 10 servings of fruits and vegetables,” he says. Virtually all spices are beneficial?and they’re essentially free of calories. But Pratt singles out one study on cinnamon. The USDA found that half a teaspoon a day lowered blood-sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes and brought down their bad cholesterol. For a double benefit, try substituting spices for salt. (Pratt finds that Vegit All-Purpose Seasoning, available in most natural-food stores, does the trick.)
Cold pressed and extra virgin. Long a staple of the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet, olive oil is looking even better now that scientists have shown that the extra-virgin variety has anti-inflammatory properties. Low-grade inflammation has been implicated in everything from heart disease and colon cancer to Alzheimer’s. Pratt’s advice: look for the words “first cold pressed,” which indicate that little heat was used. Heat destroys some of the beneficial compounds. The greener the oil, the better.
Chocolate. Perhaps the best news is that dark chocolate (but not milk chocolate) is now a superfood. “It’s not just the antioxidants that make it healthy,” says Pratt. Dark chocolate contains substances similar to the heart-healthy compounds in green tea. The latest research focuses on flavanols. They help boost the production of nitric oxide in blood vessels, lowering blood pressure and improving blood flow. Pratt tested six brands for levels of these compounds. The winner? Newman’s Own Sweet Dark Chocolate. It’s even organic. Super, indeed.