Do you remember, as a child, being told by your mother to eat all your carrots because they are good for your eyes? Later on in life, you may have been told that this was just an old wives tale. Guess what, recent studies have shown that Mom was right! Foods can prevent eye disease, heart disease, arthritis and more. Some Basic Science: In recent years scientists have discovered that foods contain phytochemicals, a fancy name for naturally occurring chemicals. This is not the same as nutrients, which we all know are the substances necessary for sustaining life. Phytochemicals are substances that have properties that can aid in disease prevention and even cure.
Scientists have identified thousands of these chemicals in the foods we eat and a single serving of fruits or vegetables can contain as many as one hundred different phytochemicals. The most commonly known phytochemicals are the antioxidants. Antioxidants protect our cells from damage from toxic substances and from free radicals, a by product produced by our bodies converting oxygen into energy. Free radicals can damage cells in our bodies and lead to disease. Antioxidants protect the body from oxidation and reduce the risk of acquiring many of our common ailments. Fruits and Vegetables In fruits and vegetables you can tell which of the main phytochemicals they contain by their color.
Fruits and vegetables that are orange in color, such as carrots, cantaloupes and mangoes contain beta carotene. Those that are red in color, such as tomatoes, watermelon, and pink grapefruit contain lycopene. Yellow fruits and vegetables such as pineapples, oranges, & peaches contain beta cryptothanxin. Indoles can be found in the green vegetables, broccoli, cabbage, and kale.
Purple fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, grapes, and eggplant contain anthocyanins. Allicin can be found in garlic, onions, and chives. Healing Properties Of Fruits Amaranth: This is technically a fruit, but can be used as a grain in breads, muffins and other flour based foods. The seeds are higher in muscle building protein than other grains and are full of immune boosting Magnesium, Copper and Zinc. Apricots: A super source of the antioxidants beta carotene and vitamin C. Studies suggest beta carotene may help protect against lung cancer.
Apricots are also full of fiber, and are more nutritious fresh than canned. Bananas: This fruit may help lower blood pressure. The Magic ingredient? Potassium. Bananas are rich in Vitamin B6, which research at Tuffs University found is essential to maintaining a strong immune system. Cantaloupe: Brimming with beta carotene and vitamin C, plus fiber, potassium, folate and vitamin B6.
Though studies show that beta carotenes anticancer effect is against lung tumors, it may also protect against oral cancers and cancers of the stomach, cervix and uterus. The evidence that vitamin C reduces the risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, stomach and pancreas is compelling, says Gladis Block, Ph.D, professor of public health nutrition and epidemiology at the University of California at Berkeley.
Figs: Figure on getting vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and fiber from figs, fresh or dried. A recent Harvard School of Public Health study of more than 30,000 men found that only fruit fiber, like that found in figs, was linked to reduced systolic blood pressure (the upper number, which represents pressure during the hearts contractions). All fiber is associated with reduced diastolic blood pressure (the lower number, which represents the pressure when the heart is at rest between contractions). Grapes: All grapes are a great source of boron, a mineral that may help ward off osteoporosis. Red grape juice is another healthy pick, besides boron, it contains reservatrol, a chemical that could prevent heart disease by inhibiting the clumping of blood cells.
Kiwifruit: Its fuzzy brown exterior hides a bright green interior chock full of cancer fighting fiber and vitamin C. Vitamin C may also play a role in the prevention of cataracts. Mango: Brimming with beta carotene and vitamin C, the anticancer antioxidants, plus vitamin B6 and copper.
USDA research, has found still another health benefit of vitamin C, it helps lower blood pressure. Orange Juice: The classic source of vitamin C with a kick, folic acid, which helps prevent birth defects and may protect against cervical cancer. Other citrus fruits and juices also contain limonoids, substances that animal studies show can activate detoxifying enzymes in the body, possibly cutting cancer risk. Smokers may want a double dose of O.
J. Their vitamin C requirement is twice that of nonsmokers. Pears: A super source of fiber. In addition to all its other benefits, fiber (when combined with a low fat diet) can lessen the risk of developing polyps in the colon, which may be a precursor to cancer. Pears also provide some vitamin C, potassium and boron.
Prunes: The classic source for relief for constipation, because they contain sorbitol (a natural sugar) and lots of fiber. Prunes are also a bone saving source of boron and of the antioxidant vitamins A and E. Strawberries: More vitamin C and fiber than you will find in most fruits, including oranges. In fact, any berries are an excellent source of fiber.
Strawberries also contain ellagic acid, a natural cancer fighting chemical. Researchers have found that this compound is a potent inhibitor of such carcinogens as tobacco smoke and nitrosamines.
john savage has a Blog where you can learn about the amazing power of whole foods. Click Here to visit