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Disease Fighting Foods

fruits and vegetables

Feeling like all those vitamins and supplements you take aren’t enough to keep the doctor away?  A regular, balanced diet is enough to keep the average person happy and healthy.  But try bumping up your daily dosage of the following fruits and veggies and you’ll notice the difference it makes when eating just a little more of these disease fighting foods.

Include more types of berries into your diet.  Berries are a high source of antioxidants, which are substances that help your cells protect themselves against damage from free radicals in your body that can cause heart disease or cancer.  And according to a study done by the US Department of Food and Agriculture, blueberries top the list of the fruits containing the highest levels of antioxidants.  Also included on the list are cranberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries.  Cranberries in particular can also help you fend off urinary tract diseases and infections.  So throw a cup full of berries on top of your morning cereal or oatmeal, or just take a small bag with you to work for a mid-afternoon snack.

Organic, low-fat dairy products are also another key disease fighting food.  Not only are these foods rich in calcium, but they also provide our bodies with protein, minerals, and high levels of Vitamin D.  These supplements are integral in maintaining strong, healthy bone mass and tissue and can help us fend off osteoporosis as we age.  Three daily servings of these low-fat dairy products will not only insure the strength of your bones, but can also work well as snacks throughout the day because the carbohydrates and protein provides your body the energy it needs to maintain proper functioning.  If you have an intolerance for dairy, try substituting other calcium containing foods like the dark green and leafy vegetables kale, broccoli, or collard greens.

Fatty fish like salmon and tuna contain omega-3 fatty acids which can help lower blood fats and prevent things like blood clots typically associated to heart disease.  According to the American Heart Association, two to three servings of fatty fish per week is plenty enough omega-3 fatty acid intake to lower your risks of blood clots and heart disease.

The American Dietetic Association recommends that the average person consume approximately twenty one to thirty eight grams per day of fiber from whole grains.  The soluble fiber from whole grains and oats contains folic acid, selenium, and B vitamins which reduces blood cholesterol levels and can reduce the risk of diabetes.  The fiber from whole grains also contributes to a more regular digestive health.  So try consuming at least three servings a day of whole wheat, barley, rye, whole-grain pasta, wild rice, or brown rice.

Sweet potatoes are also chalk full of necessary disease fighting agents.  These underestimated potatoes contain antioxidants, fiber, iron, potassium, and help maintain your healthy digestive tract and can help prevent heart disease and cancer.  Use them in place of white potatoes or apples in the recipes you cook in order to boost your usual intake of nutrients.

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