Feb 012011

power foodsTHE RIGHT FOODS CAN GIVE you a healthy body — one that resists aging, has a strong immune system, and possesses plenty of energy. However now scientists have discovered what they label as POWER FOODS, which are foods that contain an abundance of natural chemicals that have preventative powers over life-threatening ailments. These Power Foods can also help you build muscle, promote weight loss, and more. More than anything else you do, the way you eat tells your body how healthy you want to be. Find out what the power is in these ordinary edibles.

The real excitement behind these power foods is their potential to prevent diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. Even though these chemicals may sometimes be found in supplements, they may not work in that form. Their powers sometimes lie in working in conjunction with other food combinations, such as fiber.

How to Choose

To get a wide array of these preventive chemicals nutritionists advise that you should eat a colorful rainbow of fruits and vegetables. For instance, lycopene, a chemical that has been identified as helping to fend off prostrate cancer and other cancers of the digestive tract, is what turns tomatoes bright red. This chemical is part of the carotenoids, which are a class of yellow, orange, red, and purple pigments that are widely distributed in nature.

Power Foods

Apples – Little surprise here….Think back to an apple a day! Apples are a good source of quercetin, a phytochemical that helps to fight heart disease and cancer. Unpeeled, they are also a good source of fiber, which helps with your digestion and to lower cholesterol.

Avocados – Some people call avocados nature’s butter. Avocados have about a quarter of the calories and total fat of dairy butter, by weight. And ounce for ounce, they provide more heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, fiber, vitamin E, folic acid, and potassium than other fruits. Additionally, avocados are the number-one fruit source of beta-sitosterol, a substance that lowers total cholesterol.

Cruciferous Vegetables – Green leafy vegetables have long been touted for their health benefits. The healing power is not limited to broccoli and spinach, but extends to all members of the cruciferous family–Brussels sprouts, asparagus, yellow wax beans, bell peppers, cabbage and bok choy.

Eggs – Eggs once had a bad reputation because researchers believed that eating high-cholesterol foods, like eggs, elevated total cholesterol and increased the risk for heart disease. However, scientists now believe that saturated fat, not dietary cholesterol, is the culprit (and eggs don’t have much saturated fat). Eggs are an excellent source of protein and B vitamins, which help you feel energetic. Also, egg yolks may delay some symptoms of aging. It’s fine to have up to 7 a week.  Check with your doctor if you have high cholesterol

Fish, Beans, Flaxseed – Omega-3 fatty acid triggers the body’s ability to oxidize fat. This process breaks down fat deposits, and lowers both triglycerides–fat levels–and low-density lipoprotein–bad cholesterol–content in the blood. Omega-3 fatty acid also boosts high-density lipoprotein, or good cholesterol. The fat appears naturally in cold-water fish, including tuna, salmon and mackerel. Omega-3 also is available in kidney beans and flaxseed.

Garlic – The pungent flavor of garlic comes from sulfur compounds. It is these compounds that also help to lower bad cholesterol and may even help to reduce your risk of stomach and colon cancer, and may also help to prevent cancer-cell growth.

Nuts – Nuts are a great source of mono and polyunsaturated fats, fats that have been shown to help lower heart disease. They are also high in vitamin E fiber and help to build muscle.

The nutrient power of food goes above and beyond simple vitamins and minerals, as people seek dietary solutions to disease prevention. All of these winners provide high concentrations of the nutrients you need to feel great. The best way to make these stars work for you, say researchers, is to include as many as possible in your daily diet rather than focusing on just one or two. See how many you can include in your next meal.

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