Choosing disease-fighting foods
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.
Research indicates that eating certain foods can help lower your risk of several diseases.
• Eat at least four servings of vegetables a day Vegetables are loaded with vitamins and minerals, contain fiber, have no cholesterol, and are low in fat and calories. They’re a great source of phytochemicals, substances that appear to help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Eat a variety to get all the health benefits.
• Eat at least three servings of fruits a day
Fruits are filled with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber.
Except for a few, such as avocado and coconut, they’re virtually free of fat. Fruits are a major source of flavonoids, substances that may help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Choose a variety of fruits to get the most health benefits.
• Eat foods high in omega-3s
Eating at least two servings (about 3 ounces each) a week of
fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids — such as salmon, trout, tuna, herring and sardines — can help reduce your risk of heart disease. Instead of frying, bake or grill the fish. Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises pregnant women, nursing mothers and children to avoid king mackerel, shark, swordfish and tilefish (golden bass or golden snapper), which are higher in mercury. Tuna steak and albacore tuna generally have more mercury than canned light tuna. Plant sources of omega-3s include canola oil, flaxseed (ground and oil), soybeans and walnuts (whole and oil).
• Choose whole-grain foods
Eating whole grains may lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer. In addition to the more familiar whole-grain breads and cereals, add variety to your diet with hulled barley, brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur, millet, quinoa, whole-wheat pasta and wild rice.