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					                                                       These antioxidant-rich items have the power
                                                                   to change your life
                                                                                               By Jill Wendholt Silva
BEANS                                                                                       Knight Ridder News Service
Why? Beans can help lower
cholesterol and LDL levels, scavenge                                                                                                                                  TOMATOES
free radicals, moderate insulin levels,                                                                                                                               Why? Tomatoes contain lycopene plus beneficial
and reduce cancer risk.                                      Blueberries are brain food.                                                                              phytochemicals that protect against heart attack,
                                                                                                                                                                      cancers, and age-related macular degeneration.
How much? Eat a ½-cup serving a
day of cooked or canned beans.                               If there’s one good-for-you food that has cut through the din                                            Cooked tomatoes contain more lycopene than raw
                                                     of conflicting and controversial diet headlines, it’s the tiny indigo                                            How much? Eat one serving a day with a little bit
                                                                                                                                                                      of healthy fat, such as olive oil, to help absorb the
                                                     berry native to North America, which scientists have discovered                                                  lycopene. Serving sizes are one medium raw
                                                                                                                                                                      tomato, about 1 cup cherry tomatoes, or 6 ounces
                                                     contains powerful disease-fighters that may improve memory,                                                      juice.

                                                     intelligence, and coordination.
                                                             But blueberries aren’t the only food with bragging rights.                                                                             WALNUTS
                                                             Pomegranates, kiwifruit, and, yes, even dark chocolate are                                                                          Why? Walnuts
                                                                                                                                                                                                 are one of the few
                                                     the latest buzz, joining such everyday foods as broccoli, spinach,                                                                          plant sources high
                                                                                                                                                                                                 in omega-3 fatty
                                                     wild salmon, sweet potatoes, soy, oats, walnuts, and tomatoes.                                                                              acids, and the only
                                                                                                                                                                                                 nuts that contain
                                                     Together these nutrient-dense foods containing health-promoting                                                                             ellagic acid, a
 Why? A true nutritional powerhouse,
 blueberries provide more antioxidants
                                                     phytonutrients are being dubbed “super foods.”                                                                                              cancer-fighting
                                                                                                                                                                                                 antioxidant. The
                                                                                                                                                                                                 amino acid
 than any other fruit or vegetable and can                   Super foods are widely available foods that contribute to good                                                                      arginine can
 fight cancer, heart disease, and age-
 related memory loss.                                health.                                                                                                                                     reduce the risk of
                                                                                                                                                                                                 heart attack.
 How much? If possible, eat ½-cup of
 fresh or frozen or ¼-cup of dried                           Cruise the aisles of any supermarket in America, and broccoli                                               How much? Eat 1½ ounces of nuts per day.
                                                                                                                                                                         One ounce equals 14 walnut halves.
 blueberries every day. Eat any type of
 berry at least three times a week.                  is ubiquitous for three reasons: it’s easy to buy, it’s inexpensive,
                                                     and it’s easy to cook. It’s also one of the most studied foods, which
                                                     is how we know it’s one of the most nutritious items on the planet.
                                                             Beyond the traditional vitamins and minerals Mother told us
                                                     about, scientists have discovered broccoli is also a good source of
                                                     lutein, an antioxidant that helps prevent macular degeneration, a
                                                     condition that can cause blindness in older adults.
                                                             But not all super foods are as obvious. Nutrition experts
                                                     agree we’ve only begun to scratch the surface in our efforts to
                                                     discover how foods prevent disease in the body.
 BROCCOLI                                                    Naked Juice, a California company, is already marketing                                                    WILD SALMON
                                                                                                                                                                        Why? Wild salmon contains large amounts of
 Why? Cruciferous vegetables are loaded
 with antioxidants. Broccoli contains                grab-and-go bottles of juice made from the obscure Brazilian berry                                                 omega-3, a fatty acid that reduces the risk of
 cancer-fighting substances that promote                                                                                                                                heart disease and heart attack by lowering
 eye health and ward off macular                     known as acai (pronounced ah-sigh-ee), which is touted to have 10                                                  blood pressure and cholesterol. Omega-3s
 degeneration.                                                                                                                                                          also reduce inflammation that triggers arthritis
 How much? Eat ½-cup of raw or 1 cup of
                                                     times the antioxidants of red grapes.                                                                              and autoimmune diseases.
                                                                                                                                                                        How much? A serving is just 3 ounces,
 cooked broccoli every day.                                  But typically Brazilians pour an avalanche of sugar on acai to                                             roughly the size of a deck of cards, or ¼ cup
                                                                                                                                                                        canned. Eat 12 ounces a week.
                                                     tame its tartness. Naked Juice chose to combine the tart berry
                                                     juice with sweeter apple, banana, and white grape juices.
                                                             In 12 Best Foods Cookbook (Rodale, 2004, $21.95), Dana
                                                     Jacobi highlights foods that are not only loaded with phytonutrients                                                                            OLIVE OIL
                                                     but also that have what she calls a certain “voluptuousness.” After                                                                             Why? The
                                                     all, if a food doesn’t taste good, most of us won’t eat it no matter                                                                            fats of olive oil are
                                                                                                                                                                                                     considered “good”
                                                     how good it is for us.                                                                                                                          fats that reduce
                                                             “I tried to look at foods beyond what its headline fame might                                                                           disease, lower
                                                                                                                                                                                                     blood pressure,
                                                     be,” says Jacobi, a New York-based food writer and chef who                                                                                     and prevent some
                                                                                                                                                                                                     types of cancer.
                                                     developed the recipes for her book. “These 12 foods cover the                                                                                   How much? Eat 1

                                                     whole range of what a balanced diet is and include variety.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                     tablespoon most
OATS                                                                                                                                                                                                 days.
Why? Oatmeal’s already mighty nutrition profile
is well documented.                                          “What I hope (readers) take from the book is the things that
How much? Eat at least three servings of
whole grains a day. A serving equals 1 cup of
                                                     are good for them and have a good time with them. Not to have
cooked oatmeal, ½-cup of uncooked rolled oats
or ½-cup of steel-cut oats.
                                                     them feel like this is a duty or a sacrifice,” Jacobi says.
                                                             Food, after all, should taste better than a spoonful of

                                                                                                                                       SWEET POTATOES
                                                                                                                                       Why? Loaded with beta-
                                                                                                                                        carotene, sweet potatoes
                                                                                                                                        boost the immune             DARK CHOCOLATE
                                                                                                                                        system, reduce               Why? Dark chocolate has the highest antioxidant
SOY                                                                                                                                     cholesterol buildup in the   content of any food. The darker the chocolate, the
Why? Soy contains isoflavones, an estrogen-like                                                                                         arteries, and help fight     higher the count.
substance that protects and maintains bone strength, plus                                                                               age-related macular          How much? Eat a 1-ounce serving daily. Also, try
                                                            SPINACH                                        degeneration and a variety of cancers.
omega-3 fatty acids, which promote heart health.                                                                                                                     grapes, red wine, and green tea, which are high in
                                                            Why? Spinach is packed with carotenoids        How much? Eat at least one ½-cup serving of sweet
How much? Eat one serving of soy foods a day. Try                                                                                                                    polyphenols that boost good cholesterol.
                                                            such as beta-carotene and lutein for eye       potatoes or other beta-carotene-rich produce (carrots,
edamame for snacking out of hand.
                                                            health, as well as iron.                       butternut squash, pumpkin, and orange bell peppers) a
                                                            How much? Eat at least 1 cup cooked            day.
                                                            spinach or dark leafy green vegetable a day.

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