Monday, February 1, 2010

Follow the Rainbow to Perfect Health!

Make yourself disease-proof!

Stoplight shaded fruits and veggies not only catch the eye but also have many of the top 20 most potent antioxidants. Lycopene, packed into tomatoes, watermelon and red bell pepper, has been found to prevent heart disease and estrogen-related cancers. And red apples are rich in quercetin, a proven heart-health booster.

Lower your cholesterol!

The same compound that makes food orange also lowers cholesterol and blood pressure!
Carrots, in particular, boost high amounts of a fiber called calcuim pectate, shown to regulate
high cholesterol. In a recent government study, people who munched a cup of carrots a day
averaged an 11% drop in blood cholesterol after only three weeks! Prefer oranges? University
of Western Toronto researchers found drinking three 8-ounce glasses of OJ a day increases
HDL ("good") cholesterol by 21% and reduces LDL ("bad") cholesterol by 16%!

Ease digestion!

Yellow foods soothe stomachaches and improve gastrointestinal health, research shows. One
mango contains 7 grams of bowel-friendly fiber, while papayas are rich in an enzyme that helps
you digest protein and carbohydrates. And bananas ease any intestinal distress.

Protect your eyesight!

Leafy greens like watercress, kale, collard, mustard greens and spinach are filled with lutein, a
chemical that protects the eyes from aging. It's even been found to lower the odds of
developing macular degeneration, the most common cause of vision loss in folks older than
50, by 43%. Lutein also lowers breast cancer risk, according to the National Cancer Institute-
and since cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cabbage are also filled with cancer reducing
chemicals called indoles, eating just a cup or so a day can keep your eyes young and prevent
cancer too!

Keep your brain sharp!

Studies have found that anthocyanins, the antioxidants responsible for blueberries color, can
also heighten learning capacity, motor skills and memory. They can even keep your brain
young: Joint studies from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and the National Institute
of Aging found that berries protect against cognitive impairment and even Alzheimers disease!
And just a handful a day is enough to do the trick.

Stay limber!

Foods of a royal hue like grapes, figs, prunes, raisins and plums help prevent joint problems,
studies show. Grapes are loaded with antioxidants proven to reduce the inflammation
associated with arthritis, and they also contain boron, a mineral shown to relieve even severe
joint pain!