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Power foods: Eating for good health


Phytochemicals, any array of anti-oxidants and other beneficial compounds, are found naturally in power foods. These phytochemicals help treat and control high blood pressure, arthritis, osteoporosis and digestive disorders. Extra rewards of eating a diet rich in power foods include weight loss and clearer skin.
The powerful phytochemicals and vitamins found in plant foods interact in a complex and complementary way that cannot be replicated in a pill. So, the bottom line is, you need to eat more power food to empower your body, improve physical and mental health, boost immunity and protect yourself against degenerative diseases that rear their ugly heads in old age. 
Keep the following list on hand to plan your meals. Include some power foods in your daily diet and vary your foods weekly until you have tried all these health promoting foods. 

Red, yellow and orange fruits:
Red grapes, all melons, all berries, red grapefruit, bananas, pineapple, peaches, nectarines, orange, mango, papaya and apricot. These delicious fruits make an excellent source of vitamin C, flavonoids and antioxidant carotenes that can prevent cancer, protect eye health and keep blood pressure low. One study found that women who ate the most fruits (especially oranges) had half the risk of uterine cancer than those who ate the least fruits. 

Red, yellow and orange vegetables:
Beets, carrots, squash, sweet potato, pumpkin and tomatoes. These vegetables are loaded with several carotenes like beta-carotene, lycopene and lutein that can block carcinogens, protect heart health, have anti-inflammatory action and slow the aging process. Tomato eaters in Northern Italy have a 60 percent lower risk of cancers of the mouth, pancreas, esophagus, stomach colon and rectum than other population. 

Cruciferous and leafy green vegetables:
Broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, radishes, turnips and all leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach, parsley, watercress and Swiss chard. The US National Cancer Institute ranked broccoli as the number one food in protection against cancer due to its high content of indoles and sulforaphanes. So, eat more broccoli, you can add it to your regular salad. 
Garlic family:
Garlic, onions, leeks, scallions and chives. This pungent group may have a sharp taste, but it has been proven to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels in clinical trials. Garlic and company also boost the immune system and increase resistance against bacterial, fungal, viral and parasitic infections. 

Whole grains:
These exclude white bread and white rice, but include whole wheat products, corn, brown rice, barley oats, millet, rye and buck wheat. Whole grain are like a storehouse of essential vitamins, iron, magnesium and other minerals, The high fiber content is what lends whole grains the power to reduce cholesterol, lower risk of heart disease and prevent constipation, hemorrhoids, diverticulosis and colon cancer. Swap from white rice to brown rice or bulgur (cracked wheat) to go with your meals. 

Beans and other legumes: 
All beans, peas and lentils. Beans are rich in fiber, protein, calcium and iron but also low in fat, making them the perfect food to strengthen women’s bones and nourish the blood without the fear of weight gain. They contain saponins that are well known as effective blood thinners and cholesterol reducing 

Soy and soy products:
Soybeans, soy milk, soy cheese, soy burgers, tofu, miso, soy nuts, soy yogurt, soy ice cream and soy flour. The Japanese eat more soy then any other population on earth. Japanese women have a low incidence of breast cancer. The occurrence of colon cancer among Japanese is one-third of what it is among Americans.
Consumption of soybeans and soy products is definitely one factor in the Japanese’ superior health. Isoflavones in soybeans prevent the formation of cancer cells. Soy products can reduce the risk of breast cancer, lower cholesterol and treat menopausal symptoms. 

Nuts and seeds:
All nuts and seeds, but especially walnuts, almonds, flaxseeds, peanuts, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds. Enjoy these tasty snacks but try not to go nuts by eating too much because they are very high in calories and fat. In moderation they are healthy addition to the diet because they contain omega 3 fatty acids that improve brain function, control blood cholesterol, relieve arthritis and are beneficial to the cardiovascular, digestive and reproductive systems. Nuts and seeds also contain B vitamins that are ideal nutrients to combat stress and increase mental energy. Did you know that a tablespoon of sesame seeds is a good source of calcium just like a cup of milk? That’s good news for women who are lactose intolerant. 


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