Miracle Foods

As a child you may have been told to eat your vegetables because they’re good for you.  Research shows that eating certain fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and fish can reduce your risk for various diseases, such as cancer, and can promote good health.  Being healthy allows you to have more time to do things you enjoy and to live a longer and healthier life.

The Whole Grain Gain

Whole grains are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and hundreds of disease-fighting phytochemicals.  They contain many substances that have been linked to a lower cancer risk.  These include soluble and insoluble fiber, antioxidants, phenols, lignans, phytoestrogens, and saponins.

According to the USDA Food Guide, eat at least three servings of whole grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice, or pasta every day.  Other whole grain foods include oatmeal, plain popcorn, wild rice, kasha, and tabbouleh (bulgur wheat).  Get adventurous and try different grains such as quinoa and millet too.  Beans, legumes, and seeds such as flax seed are also great sources of fiber and phytochemicals.

Cut Back on the Fat

Choosing foods rich in poly- and monounsaturated fats, or “good” fats, (olive oil, nuts, salmon) and avoiding those high in saturated and trans fats (processed baked goods, fast food, high-fat meats) may help lower your risk of cancer and may help to decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Vary Your Veggies and Focus on Fruits

Fruits and vegetables not only fill you up, they are full of substances that help prevent and fight disease.  In particular, tomatoes, garlic, dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, romaine; and leaf lettuces; mustard and collard greens; chicory; and Swiss chard); cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and kale), and berries may reduce your cancer risk.

Eating five to nine servings a day of a variety of fruits and vegetables is the best way to obtain all of the potential disease-fighting benefits.  You’ll also get a boost of fiber and important vitamins and minerals.

Drink the Best Beverages

While no single beverage or food can prevent or cure diseases, research has shown that some have effective properties.  Both green tea and purple grape juice contain compounds that may lower the risk.  Green tea is an excellent source of catechins, a potent antioxidant that is thought to protect against cell damage.  Grape juice is a rich source of resveratrol, a type of natural plant chemical called a polyphenol that has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Choose low-fat or fat-free milk, low-fat yogurt, and low-fat cheese.  If you don’t eat milk products, be sure to include other calcium-fortified foods and beverages in your diet.

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The Hungry Wife