From Almonds to Yogurt, Your Edible Allies
Good news: You can easily get cheap, good-tasting medicine that helps ward off cancer, heart disease, and stroke?without even going to the pharmacy. These disease-preventing substances are in the everyday, garden-variety foods available in any grocery store.
The secret lies in eating a wide variety of foods that contain an assortment of disease-fighting substances. That way, you create a protective mosaic of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and other substances that help you stay disease free. So be sure you get the five-plus servings of fruits and vegetables recommended by the National Cancer Institute and leading nutritionists.
The following 100 foods stand out as top-notch disease fighters, easily found in the supermarket.
A note about serving sizes: The standard serving size for cooked vegetables or chopped raw vegetables is ½ cup and, for raw leafy vegetables, the serving size is 1 cup. For fruit a serving is one medium apple, banana, or orange or ½ cup of chopped, cooked, or canned fruit. A serving of cooked cereal, rice, pasta, or cooked dried beans is ½ cup.
A note about the Daily Value: The Daily Value is the amount of a nutrient that scientists figure you need each day if you eat a 2,000-calorie diet. If you eat more or fewer calories, your Daily Value will be higher or lower accordingly.
A note about vitamin A: Actual vitamin A is found in animals, not plants. A source of vitamin A in our bodies, however, is beta-carotene, which is found in plants. Throughout this chapter you will note that certain vegetables or fruits are a good source of vitamin A because, through a simple process, the body converts beta-carotene into a usable form of vitamin A.
Not what you would expect to head up a list of healthy foods?almonds weigh in like sumo wrestlers in calories and fat. Fortunately, most of the fat is monounsaturated, the kind that may actually reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Cancer. A serving of almonds (the amount that fits in your hand, about an ounce, or 24 whole kernels) gives you 13.5 percent of the Daily Value for copper.
Almonds deliver copper to power up your immune system, which needs more of a boost as you get older. Plus, they provide some fiber (1.9 milligrams) and calcium to help lower your risk of colon cancer.
Heart disease and stroke. In one study, people eating 3½ ounces of almonds a day reduced cholesterol levels by 20 points. Almonds are a good source of riboflavin, which has been associated with lower heart disease rates. In addition, a handful of almonds is high in magnesium?it provides 21 percent of the Daily Value, which may help prevent blood clots and lower blood pressure.
Whole, sliced, juiced, cooked, or sauced, apples deliver protection from disease.
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