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Top Ten Foods that Pack a Punch
By Dr. Winston Craig

         
   A
ccording to Hippocrates, "Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food." With the
recent discovery of thousands of phytochemicals in our food, certain foods have received a higher status and may even carry the title of functional food when found to be especially rich in certain health-promoting phytochemicals A regular consumption of the foods listed below will provide the consumer with a variety and abundance of disease preventing phytochemicals that protect us against heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and other conditions. 

  1. Tomatoes or tomato products, rich in the red pigment lycopene, when eaten every day lower the risk of prostate cancer in men by about 40 percent.
  2. Nuts, eaten regularly, lower LDL cholesterol levels about 10 to 15%, and reduces the risk of
    cardiovascular disease by 30 to 50%, and the risk of diabetes about 20 to 30%. Peanuts and natural-style peanut butter (without added fat and sugar) provide the same protection.
  3. Soybeans, rich in isoflavones, help maintain bone density and optimal cardiovascular function, and lower the risk of heart disease, breast cancer and prostate cancer.
  4. Red grapes, rich in various flavonoid pigments, decrease the risk of blood clots and hence the risk of strokes. These pigments also protect against cancer.
  5. Broccoli, rich in isothiocyanates and indoles, lowers the risk of breast and colon cancer. Cooking the broccoli increases the availability of its phytochemicals.
  6. Barley, rich in beta-glucans, lowers LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels and the risk of heart disease. Barley also reduces blood glucose and insulin responses after a meal, and reduces the risk of developing diabetes.
  7. Blueberries and cranberries, rich in anthocyanin pigments, delay age-related declines in nerve and
    cognitive function, and help to fight urinary tract infections, and decrease the risk of cancer.
  8. Oranges, grapefruit, and other citrus fruits with their lSO-plus cancer-fighting phytochemicals (liminoids, flavonoids, carotenoids, ete.) and their rich supply of  potassium, soluble fiber, and folic acid protect us against cancer and cardiovascular disease.
  9. Cabbage protects against stroke and cancer due to its rich content of folic acid, potassium, carotenoids, indoles, and isothiocyanates.
  10. Flaxseed meal, with its rich content of lignans and omega-3 fat, inhibits breast cancer and possesses significant anti-inflammatory activity.

By Winston Craig, PhD
Andrews University

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Books by Dr. Winston Craig