Disease Fighting Food 1: Berries
Reach for berries for a powerful dose of disease fighting antioxidants. According to a U.S. study, blueberries top the list of antioxidant-rich fruits, followed by cranberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries. The colour of berries comes from the pigment anthocyanin, an antioxidant that helps neutralize "free radicals" (cell-damaging molecules) that can help lead to chronic diseases, including Cancer and Heart disease. Berries, particularly cranberries, may also help ward off urinary tract infections.
Enjoy a cup of berries each day, as a snack; atop your cereal or yogurt; in muffins, salads, or smoothies; or as frozen treats.
Disease Fighting Food 2: Dairy
Dairy foods are not only the best food source of dietary calcium, but also have plenty of protein, vitamins (including vitamin D), and minerals -- key to fighting the disease Osteoporosis. The guidelines recommend having three daily servings of low-fat dairy products, as well as doing weight-bearing exercise, to help keep bones strong. (If you can't tolerate dairy, other calcium-containing foods include dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, broccoli, and collards; and calcium-fortified soy products, juices, and grains.)
Beyond strong bones, dairy may also help you lose weight. Research is ongoing, but a few studies have shown that three daily servings of dairy -- as part of a calorie-controlled diet -- may help decrease belly fat and enhance weight loss.
Low-fat dairy foods make excellent snacks because they contain both carbohydrates and protein.
Disease Fighting Food 3: Fish
Omega-3 fatty acids are abundant in fish like salmon and tuna, disease fighting foods that can help lower blood fats and prevent blood clots associated with heart disease.
You’re recommended to be eating at least two servings of fish twice a week.
There's another benefit to eating meals containing salmon or tuna: you'll reduce your potential intake of saturated fat from higher-fat entrees.
Disease Fighting Food 4: Dark, Leafy Greens
One of the best disease fighting foods is dark, leafy greens, which include everything from spinach, kale, and bok choy to dark lettuces. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, beta-carotene, vitamin C, folate, iron, magnesium, carotenoids, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. A Harvard study found that eating magnesium-rich foods such as spinach can reduce the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.
Make your next salad with assorted greens, including super nutritious spinach or other dark-coloured greens for a meal that fights disease.
Disease Fighting Food 5: Whole Grains
Grandma urged us to start the day with a bowl of Porridge, but did she have any idea that the soluble fibre from oats helps to lower Blood Cholesterol levels?
Whole grains include the nutritional components that are typically stripped away from refined grains. They contain folic acid, selenium, and B vitamins, and are important to heart health, weight control, and reducing the risk of Diabetes. Their fibre content helps keeps you feeling full between meals as well and promotes digestive health.
Enjoy at least three servings a day of whole-grain goodness: whole wheat; barley; rye; millet; quinoa; brown rice; wild rice; and whole-grain pasta, breads, and cereals.
Disease Fighting Food 6: Sweet Potatoes
One of the easiest ways to make a healthy dietary change is to think "sweet" instead of "white" potatoes. They are boasting a wealth of antioxidants; phytochemicals including beta-carotene; vitamins C and E; folate; calcium; copper; iron; and potassium. The fibre in sweet potatoes promotes a healthy digestive tract, and the antioxidants play a role in preventing Heart Disease and Cancer.
Its natural sweetness means a roasted sweet potato is delicious without any additional fats or flavour enhancers. Substitute sweet potatoes in recipes calling for white potatoes or apples to boost the nutrients.
Disease Fighting Food 7: Tomatoes
These red-hot fruits of summer are bursting with flavour and lycopene -- an antioxidant that may help protect against some Cancers. They also deliver an abundance of vitamins A and C, potassium, and phytochemicals.
Enjoy tomatoes raw, cooked, sliced, chopped, or diced as part of any meal or snack. Stuff a tomato half with spinach and top with grated cheese for a fabulous and colourful side dish.
Disease Fighting Food 8: Beans and Legumes
These nutritious nuggets are packed with phytochemicals; fat-free, high-quality protein; folic acid; fibre; iron; magnesium; and small amounts of calcium. Beans are an excellent and inexpensive protein source and a great alternative for low-calorie vegetarian meals.
Eating beans and legumes regularly as part of a healthy eating plan can help reduce the risk of certain cancers; lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels; and stabilize blood sugar. Beans also play an important role in weight management by filling you up with lots of bulk and few calories.
Think beans when making salads, soups, stews, or dips.
Disease Fighting Food 9: Nuts
Nuts are full of fats. But they're the healthy, mono- and polyunsaturated kind, which can help lower cholesterol levels and help prevent Heart Disease. In addition, nuts are a good source of protein, fibre, selenium, vitamin E, and vitamin A.
Small portions of nuts can boost energy and beat hunger, helping dieters stay on track. Still, nuts pack plenty of calories -- and it's easy to overeat these tasty treats.
So enjoy nuts, but be mindful of your portion size. Try to limit yourself to an ounce a day. That's about 28 peanuts, 14 walnut halves, or just 7 Brazil nuts.
Disease Fighting Food 10: Eggs
Their cholesterol content once led to bad press for the mighty egg, but research has redeemed it. It turns out that saturated fat (eggs have little) plays a bigger role than the cholesterol in food in elevating our blood cholesterol.
Eggs are packed with economical, high-quality protein, and are an excellent source of the carotenoids lutein, choline, and xeanthin. In fact, eggs are one of the best sources of dietary choline, an essential nutrient -- especially for pregnant women. Eggs have been shown to supply nutrients that promote eye health and help prevent age-related Macular Degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in older people.
As long as you limit your average daily cholesterol intake to 300 mg, you can enjoy an egg a day.
Eggs are adaptable to every meal. Enjoy eggs for a quick meal, or pack a hard-boiled egg for a tasty, high protein snack.