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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

7 Foods That Cure

7 Foods That Cure

Shawn McKee Staff Writer eDiets

Food is the fuel that runs the body -- and the better the quality, the better the performance. Foods not only can turbo charge your engine, but can be a great device for upkeep as well, giving you the tools to ward off the regular wear and tear associated with as much tread as you've put on your tires.

What additives do you require to keep your engine running on all cylinders? The vast majority of foods with healing qualities work best in preventative roles and are most effective when consumed as whole foods. If you're not already eating these superfoods, it's time to get in the fast lane.

Bean Dieting?
Beans are a great source of protein and fiber and are extremely filling, keeping you full longer and helping to decrease obesity. Additionally, The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study in November 2005 reporting that a healthy diet rich in lean protein -- about half from plant sources such as beans -- was found to lower blood pressure and "bad" LDL cholesterol, and to cut the risk of heart disease by 21 percent. This magical fruit is full of antioxidants and in some studies has been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Thank You Berry Much...
Strawberries, raspberries and especially blueberries have been touted as great sources for antioxidants. Researchers at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University analyzed 40 fruits and vegetables for their disease-fighting antioxidant activity. They found blueberries to have two to three times as much antioxidants as apples, broccoli, spinach and many other fruits and vegetables.

Berries are thought to slow the deterioration of joints as well. According to a Boston University study of arthritis patients, these foods protected joints because of the vitamin C they contain. Vitamin C is also a key component in the creation of collagen, a necessary component of cartilage and bone.

Go Nuts for Your Heart
Nuts are a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids (you know this), but did you know they can help lower "bad" LDL cholesterol levels? Walnuts have especially high levels of omega-3s, which reduce the risk of heart disease and hypertension.

Japanese men and women who ate a one-fourth to one-third cup of walnuts a day lowered their "bad" LDL cholesterol levels by up to 10 percent. Walnuts, almonds and pistachios are all high in arginine, an amino acid that increases blood flow to the heart.

Grainy Reception
Researchers at the University of Minnesota suggest that eating three daily servings of whole grains can reduce the risk of heart disease by 25 to 36 percent, stroke by 37 percent and Type 2 diabetes by 21 to 27 percent. Whole grains include oats, whole wheat, brown rice, bulgur and bran. Ditch the Wonder Bread -- you’re a grown up now. Go for breads labeled "whole" and skip those "enriched" kiddy breads.

Yogurt is the king of foods containing probiotics, the "friendly" bacteria that helps fight illness and disease. Yogurt seems be the most beneficial of the probiotics. Two recent studies suggest that eating yogurt significantly improved a person's ability to fight off pneumonia. You can eat yogurt every day -- just make sure the brand you buy contains "live" or "active" cultures, as the bacteria won't be very effective if they're dead before you ingest them.

Fish Food
Study upon study indicates that incorporating salmon into your diet reduces blood pressure, lowers cholesterol and helps prevent heart disease. New research from the University of California, San Diego, reports that a higher intake of omega-3s appear to preserve bone density, keeping your bones stronger and protecting against fractures. These omega-3s can also be found in other cold-water fish, such as sardines, tuna and mackerel.

Cabbage Curbs Cancer?
The American Association for Cancer Research presented a study at the November 2005 meeting that found Polish women who ate cabbage or sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) four or more times per week were 74 percent less likely to develop breast cancer. Additional studies found that cabbage may also protect against lung, stomach and colon cancers. The secret ingredient seems to be sulforaphane, a phytochemical in cabbage that works by stimulating cells to eradicate cancerous substances.


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