10 Disease-Fighting Foods
October 6, 2012|
If you crave optimal health, consider these foods:
They’re low in fat and high in fiber. They can help lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, and some cancers. Note: Don’t be fooled by the words wheat bread and wheat flour. Look for the word whole. Look for bread or cereal that has whole wheat, whole-wheat flour, or another whole grain as the first ingredient on the label.
Two servings per week is recommended – broiled, baked, or grilled. If possible, choose salmon, tuna, trout, herring, and sardines as they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which protect against heart disease by improving your HDL (or good) cholesterol and lowering triglycerides. Omega-3s also help lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of an irregular heartbeat, and thought to reduce inflammation that contributes to chronic illness.
Walnuts and Almonds
They’re high in calories but nutrient dense. Almonds are loaded with calcium, iron, natural vitamin E, and riboflavin. Walnuts are a good source of phosphorus, zinc, copper, iron, potassium, vitamin E, and the plant version of omega-3 fatty acids. Nuts are naturally cholesterol-free. Studies suggest they may even help reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad’) cholesterol and your risk of a heart attack. Note: Eat in moderation – one ounce is all that is necessary.
Dried beans, peas, and lentils are high in protein, have no cholesterol, and very little fat. They help reduce LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol and the minerals they contain may help control blood pressure. Add them to chili, soups, and casseroles in place of meat.
Soy-based foods contain less saturated fat than meat does and provide fiber and protein. Note: It’s best to eat soy in moderation, especially if you’re at risk or have had breast cancer.
Fat-Free Dairy Products
Fortified skim milk is one of the best ways of getting needed calcium and vitamin D to help prevent osteoporosis. There’s also evidence that calcium can contribute to preventing high blood pressure, stroke, colon cancer, and obesity. In addition, milk provides protein, minerals, and B vitamins. Note: Fat-free cottage cheese, yogurt, and cheeses have similar benefits.
They are rich in antioxidants and substances called flavonoids, which may help lower cancer and cardiovascular disease risk. Blueberries are especially high in antioxidants but blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries aren’t far behind. Note: If you’re watching your weight, eat dried fruits sparingly as they are high in calories.
Broccoli and Cauliflower
Both broccoli and cauliflower are high in vitamin C. Broccoli also contains a good amount of vitamin A and may help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, as well as other cancers. They contain fiber, have no cholesterol, and are naturally low in fat and calories.
Tomatoes contain a number of nutrients including vitamins C and B complex, as well as iron and potassium. They also contain the antioxidant lycopene, which may lower the risk of heart attack, prostate cancer, and possibly other types of cancer.
A major source of phytochemicals known as flavonoids, which may help lower the risk of some diseases. It’s particularly rich in epigallocatechin gallate, which may inhibit the enzyme activity necessary for some forms of cancer growth.