THE HEALTHIEST FOODS IN THE WORLD

Place these foods Into your shopping cart every week, and you’re covered – for all the vitamins, minerals, omega-3s, phytochemicals, etc. that have been shown to have the greatest health benefits. Keep varying these choices so you work in some of everything each week, but don’t get hung up on record-keeping. My Favorite Foods List 1) Broccoli: One serving = two or more spears. Broccoli is the best one-stop vegetable choice for vitamins С and A, beta-carotene and fiber, according to Melinda Morris, R.D., spokesperson for the Colorado Dietetic Association. Plus, its reputation as a cancer fighter is true: it has a compound called sulforaphane, which has blocked the growth of breast tumors in mice. “The highest levels of sulforaphane are in the florets,” says Bronwyn G. Hughes, Ph.D., president of the Plant Bioactives Research Institute in Orem, Utah. Eat it raw for the most sulforaphane, but microwaving with a small amount of water retains up to 50 percent of it; boiling and steaming methods trail far behind, and commercially frozen broccoli has no detectable sulforaphane at all. 2) Carrots: One serving = two medium carrots. Studies show that the equivalent of two carrots every other day provides enough beta-carotene to reduce stroke risk by half for men who have already had symptoms of heart disease, and carrots cut women’s risk of stroke as well. 3) Chili Peppers: One serving = one or more peppers. The heat source in chilies, capsaicin, is an antioxidant with a multitude of benefits: It protects DNA against carcinogens; it’s a natural decongestant and expectorant; its blood-thinning ability helps prevent strokes; it lowers cholesterol and some researchers believe it stimulates the release of endorphins. 4) Spinach: One serving = one cup, uncooked. One cup of raw spinach provides a bumper crop of vitamin A, vitamin С and folic acid, plus a bit of magnesium, which helps control cancer, reduces risk of stroke and heart disease, blocks free radicals and may help prevent osteoporosis. Dark green, leafy vegetables also contain glutathione, which facilitates an enzyme that’s important to immune function. Fresh is best, as in salads; cooking leaves little glutathione. 5) Mushrooms: One serving = !4 cup dried shiitakes, etc. “The basic mushroom that Americans find in their produce section may not be that valuable, but wild exotic mushrooms contain betaglucan, which acts like a vaccine to kick the immune system into higher gear. Shiitake, enoki, zhu ling and reishi, a type of hard, woody mushroom that grows on tree trunks, all have anti-cancer and anti-viral effects. 6) Strawberries. Tomatoes: One serving = one fresh tomato or V* cup strawberries. In a study of plants related to longevity, researchers found that the two best fruits correlated with a longer life were tomatoes and strawberries. Tomatoes are rich in lycopenes, an antioxidant even more potent than vitamin С that also stimulates immune function and slows degenerative diseases. Tomatoes’ only drawback is soft skin that may harbor fungicides used in growing, but soaking in water helps flush them out. Strawberries contain ellagic acid, which has been shown to have anti-cancer properties. 7) Pineapple. Pavpava. Kiwi: One serving = one papaya, one cup pineapple or one to two kiwis. Enzymes, the catalysts that speed up the rate of digestion in the body, are found in high amounts in raw, fresh papaya, pineapple and kiwi, which help combat everything from autoimmune diseases, allergies and cancer to AIDS. Three papayas a day would provide the dose that has shown dramatic effects against disease, but you can get the same benefit from kiwi and pineapple. 8) Mangoes: One serving = one mango. Although rich in carotenoids, mangoes don’t have papaya’s high enzyme levels. But they do contain another important category of phytochemicals: bioflavonoids. Bioflavonoids help plants capture energy from the sun; when eaten, they aid our immune system, and their antioxidants are at least as effective as vitamin С and beta-carotene. 9) Citrus Fruits: One serving = one large orange or equivalent fruit. Fresh, whole citrus fruits are a great source of vitamin С (oranges have the most), which more than 30 studies have shown helps the body fight cancers of the lung, cervix, esophagus and stomach. They’re also extremely rich in bioflavonoids. The high concentration is in the white rind, the part between the colored skin and the fruit, which means when you drink orange juice, you’re getting little or no bioflavonoids. Limonene, another bioflavonoid found in the colored part of skin on citrus fruits, has been shown to be one of the most exciting phytochemicals in the fight against cancer—it helped reverse cancer in animal studies—but don’t eat the entire fruit, peel and all, because of sprayed-on pesticides. Try to eat fruits only in season. And remember that fruits contain a lot of sugars. If you’re trying to lose weight, go easy on the citrus. 10) Cantaloupe: One serving = %melon. One-quarter melon delivers 2 mg of beta-carotene—nearly half the National Cancer Institute’s recommended 5.7 mg per day for cancer prevention and a help in protecting against heart disease. Cantaloupe is also a rich source of vitamin C. 11) Apricots: One serving – three apricots. Fresh apricots are high in beta-carotene and provide medium-high vitamin С and some fiber. Vitamin С vanishes from dried apricots, and if they’re not organic, they lose beta-carotene as well. Non-organic dried apricots (and other dried fruits) retain their beta-carotene because they’re treated with sulfur dioxide, but the chemical can cause asthma in some people. 12) Banana: One serving = one medium. Bananas are rich in magnesium (shown to help protect the circulatory system), potassium and their simple sugars are more slowly absorbed. They’re also a good source of pectin, a soluble fiber that prevents radical swings in blood sugar. ^ 13) Garlic: One serving = two, three cloves fresh garlic, one teaspoon of garlic powder, four one gram powdered garlic tablets, four gel caps of Kyolic garlic or one teaspoon of liquid Kyolic garlic. “Garlic is a powerhouse of antioxidants,” says Jean Carper, syndicated food-nutrition columnist and author of Food – Your Miracle Medicine. “There have been lots of studies that show it lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, is an anti-viral and antibacterial, and it may have chemicals capable of destroying cancer cells, even after you get the cancer. Place unpeeled garlic cloves in a coffee cup, sprinkle with olive oil, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for about 30 seconds. Slip the peel off and eat a few with meals – it tastes somewhat like cashews. A bonus: less offensive garlic breath. 14) Soybeans and Tofu: One serving = one cup. Human infants have been fed soy protein-based formulas instead of milk for several generations. Since infants have a much higher amino-acid requirement per pound of bodyweight than adults, soy protein has already passed the most stringent test of all: growing a healthy baby. The infant formula industry has had to jump through so many regulatory hoops that the enormity of soy protein benefits has been lost – shuffled beneath mounds of paperwork and regulations. Some nutritionists feel that there is no single food more important than soybeans. They’re high in protein and complex carbohydrates, have both soluble and insoluble fiber, and they’re filling, cheap and taste good. Soybeans are loaded with phyto-chemicals and protease inhibitors that may help prevent cancer. Tofu, fresh soybeans, soy milk and soy protein isolates (a commercial product that’s 90 percent protein) lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels in blood, which reduces heart disease risk. Even moderate amounts help, but the more people eat, the more dramatically their cholesterol drops. Soy is also high in a category of bioflavonoids that inhibit estrogen-promoted cancers and protect against radiation in chemotherapy. Studies have shown that regular soy eaters have reduced risk of prostate, colon, lung, rectal and stomach cancers. Alert: It’s been found that soy inhibits the body’s ability to absorb and utilize iodine. Iodine regulates the thyroid, and the thyroid controls metabolism. So, if you’ve been diagnosed with hypothyroidism (a slow metabolism), then limit soy-based dishes to twice a week. 15) Salmon: One serving = three ounces. In addition to salmon’s well-known heart-disease-fighting omega-3 oils, it’s got calcium, magnesium, complete proteins and В vitamins. Its B6 serves as another buffer against heart disease, and also boosts the immune system, stimulates an enzyme that regulates the nervous system and helps to prevent some cancers. Salmon has carotenoids, which account for its orange-pink color. Results of a research study by the World Health Organization show that the more fish people ate, the less likely they were to die from any cause, but especially heart disease and stroke. 16) Oats: One serving = one cup uncooked oats or oat meal; VA packets of instant oatmeal or VA cups oat flakes cereal. Researchers have found that oat bran lowers cholesterol and blood pressure and may also be beneficial in reducing the chances of colon cancer. Oatmeal contains both soluble and insoluble fiber, but it’s the soluble fiber in oatmeal that provides the most health benefits. 17) Quinoa: One serving =1/2 cup. A staple of the ancient Incas, it’s one of the best plant protein sources, with a complete selection of amino acids, high in calcium, fiber, phosphorus, iron and lysine. Quinoa can be cooked like rice (but doesn’t take as long!), or used as a flour for baking.

 

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