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Aip-health News - 28. July 2008

- David Grotto's encyclopaedic functional foods book
- "101 Foods That Could Save Your Life"
- Ordinary foods that can prevent and fight diseases

- Artichoke, broccoli, peppers, romaine lettuce and spinach
- Chocolate, coffee and pecans

Fruit and vegetables
Ordinary foods can have health enhancing properties
According to a recent paper on the subject by the American Dietetic Association, "functional foods" have been found to provide additional health benefits beyond their basic nutritional content. Many have been enriched, fortified or enhanced, such as calcium-enriched orange juice or omega-three fortified eggs.

Others are just regular foods that have been found to possess health-promoting substances.

"101 Food That Could Save Your Life"

David Grotto, a top nutritionist, has written encyclopaedia book on these healthy, "functional foods" which taste good and to use a cliche, are good for you.

For example:
- take a handful of tart cherries before bed to sleep better
- grape juice may be as healthy for your heart as red wine
- potatoes may reduce the risk of stroke
- use honey to help wounds heal faster
- hot peppers may fight skin cancer

Ordinary foods prevent and fight diseases

Here's some more about ordinary foods, rich in nutrients, that can prevent and fight diseases:


Fresh artichokes
Actually the immature flower of a thistle plant, artichokes are thought to be one of the world's oldest medicinal plants. Besides being a rich source of vitamin C, folate, and dietary fiber, artichokes contain substances that may ease an upset tummy and reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).


Broccoli with carrots
A member of the cruciferous family that includes cabbage, cauliflower, kale, collard greens and brussels sprouts, broccoli contains a good many compounds with cancer-fighting properties. Broccoli is also rich in sulforaphane glucosinolate (dont try to say this at home, boys and girls) a potent antioxidant that has been shown to stop the growth of breast and prostate cancer cells.


Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate contains natural substances called flavonoids that improve the health of blood vessels and can help lower blood pressure. The higher the cocoa content in the chocolate, the better. Just dont feed it to your pets. Chocolate is toxic to dogs, cats, parrots and horses, reports Grotto.


Cup of coffee
Not so rich in nutrients, coffee redeems itself with "off the chart" antioxidant properties, says Grotto. Natural chemicals in coffee such as chlorogenic acids may help improve blood sugar control. And people who regularly drink coffee have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a review of several studies.


Pecan nuts
Pecans are rich in oleic acid, the same healthful fat found in olive oil. Researchers at New Mexico State University (my alma mater) found that pecans added to a heart healthy diet reduced bad LDL cholesterol more than a diet without them.


Red chilly peppers

Chilly "hot" comes from a group of phytochemicals called capsaicinoids, which act on pain receptors in the mouth and throat, says Grotto. Capsaicin phytochemical applied topically as a cream has been found to be an effective treatment for painful arthritic hands.


Romaine lettuce

Romaine contains more than five times more vitamin C than iceberg lettuce. It is also rich in lutein and zeaxanthin - substances that help fight macular degeneration in the eye. Romaine lettuce also contains salicylic acid, the same anti-inflammatory compound found in aspirin.


Fresh spinach

One of the richest sources of lutein - the pigment that helps protect the eyes from macular degeneration - spinach intake is also associated with a lower risk for developing cataracts. Glycolipids in spinach are powerful chemicals with properties that can fight the growth of cancer cells as well. Glycolipids are essential for maintaining the stability of the cell membrane.

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