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Dr. Joel Fuhrman: Foods That Promote Good Health
This article was contributed by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. Dr. Fuhrman is a best-selling author, nutritional researcher and board certified family physician specializing in nutritional medicine. Learn more by visiting his informative website at DrFuhrman.com and his blog at Diseaseproof.com, and following Dr. Fuhrman on Facebook and Twitter.
To truly consume a healthy diet, the vast majority of the diet must be composed of nutrient-dense health-promoting foods, and disease-promoting foods must be avoided. To define health-promoting and disease-promoting foods, we can turn to science to learn which foods are consistently shown to be protective against chronic disease (or associated with disease risk), which foods are associated with longevity (or mortality), and which foods contain known anti-cancer substances (and which contain cancer-promoting substances).
True health-promoting foods – these foods have the power to protect, to heal and prolong human lifespan:
- Green vegetables. Many green vegetables (such as bok choy, broccoli, and kale) belong to the cruciferous family, vegetables that contain potent anti-cancer compounds called isothiocyanates (ITCs). Green leaves are perhaps the most powerful longevity-inducing foods of all.
- Onions and mushrooms also have well-documented cancer-protective properties. Onions and their Allium family members contain chemoprotective organosulfur compounds, and consuming mushrooms regularly has been shown to decrease risk of breast cancer by over 60%.
- Fruits, especially berries and pomegranate. Blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries are true super foods. They are full of antioxidants and have been linked to reduced risk of diabetes, cancers and cognitive decline. Pomegranate has multiple cardiovascular health benefits, for example reducing LDL cholesterol and blood pressure.
- Beans are an excellent, nutrient-dense weight-loss food – they have a stabilizing effect on blood sugar, which promotes satiety and helps to prevent food cravings. Plus they contain substances that lower cholesterol, and regular bean consumption is associated with decreased cancer risk.
- Nuts and seeds. Nuts contain a spectrum of beneficial nutrients including healthy fats, LDL-lowering phytosterols, circulation-promoting arginine, minerals, and antioxidants. Countless studies have demonstrated the cardiovascular benefits of nuts, and including nuts in the diet has been shown to aid in weight control. Seeds have even a richer micronutrient profile, abundant in trace minerals, and each kind of seed is nutritionally unique. Flaxseeds provide abundant omega-3 fats, pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc and iron, and sesame seeds are high in calcium and multiple vitamin E fractions.
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