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11-17-2008, 09:25 PM #1
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- Aug 2008
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Foods You Should Eat Daily - Part II
By Lisa Iwanycki
Power foods. They’re the foods that are so good for you, they not only make you stronger and more energized, but they can actually help prevent just about any illness.
In Part I of this article, I listed five foods that you should be eating daily. But there are more super foods you should be including in your everyday diet that you need to know about as well. The following five foods -- coupled with the ones listed in Part I -- are some of the world’s healthiest items you should be consuming every day.
Main vitamin or nutrient: Capsaicin
If you’re an active guy, you want your body to be in top shape so you can get the highest level of performance when you’re busy functioning in full force. Capsaicin is a nutrient found in chili peppers that is a natural anti-inflammatory and helps improve circulation. Chili peppers literally clean your blood of mucus and toxins, making it easy for oxygen to be supplied to your cells, so this spicy beast will keep you in top shape for years to come.
Also, contrary to popular belief that spicy peppers cause stomach ailments, chili peppers help fight off ulcers. So if you have a weak stomach and a high level of stress in your life, add chili peppers to your diet to avoid painful stomach problems.
Even more important is that chili peppers help prevent prostate cancer, a leading killer in cancer-related deaths among men. So get the inside of your mouth fireproofed for this spicy number and keep your body ablaze.
Alternatives: Cayenne pepper, jalapeno peppers
Main vitamin or nutrient: Beta-carotene and alpha-carotene
For hundreds of years, carrots have been thought to promote good vision, and modern researchers have proven this belief to be true. Carrots are especially good at improving night vision because the body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, which is absorbed by the retina. There, it is transformed into a pigment that aids night vision. Consuming beta-carotene also prevents the eyes from getting cataracts. Think about it: If you eat your carrots now, you’ll be able to check out babes when you’re 95. Not a bad deal.
Carrots keep your cells communicating as well. Beta-carotene promotes cell-to-cell communication, which is good for tissue maintenance and repair. Good cell communication also prevents your cells from going wacko and getting cancerous on you. But beta-carotene isn’t the only cancer inhibitor in carrots: Scientists are finding that alpha-carotene is even better than beta-carotene at preventing tumor growth.
Carrots are also good for your skin. Having a sufficient amount of beta-carotene in the body will protect it from common skin problems and diseases. For example, if you’re in the sun a lot, carrots help protect the skin against the damage caused by UV rays.
On the other hand, if you’re a workaholic and you don’t get enough sun, adding carrots to your daily diet will give your skin a nice tanned look. The orange color in beta-carotene gets deposited under the skin. Eat your carrots daily, and you’ll impress the ladies with a healthy “outdoorsman” glow.
Alternatives: Sweet potatoes, winter squash
Main vitamin or nutrient: Vitamin C
If you travel a lot, sleep weird hours or are stressed out, chances are your immune system is low. Vitamin C is necessary for the healthy functioning of the immune system, and kiwis are higher in vitamin C than oranges or any other commonly known fruit.
Not only is vitamin C the primary antioxidant that destroys free radicals and helps lower the rate of certain types of illnesses, but consuming it daily can protect the body against respiratory problems, such as asthma or dry coughs.
Also, eating kiwifruit once a day can lower the risk of blood clots in the body, preventing heart attacks and strokes. In fact, kiwis can replace the daily aspirin people with heart problems are required to take, because they prevent clotting in the vessels that supply the brain and heart with blood.
Alternatives: Oranges, papayas
Main vitamin or nutrient: Fiber and protein
Beans are high in fiber, which is beneficial for a number of reasons. Fiber is necessary for maintaining a healthy digestive system. It moves easily and quickly through the digestive tract, cleaning it and allowing it to function properly. Regular amounts of fiber in the diet have been shown to help ward off certain digestive illnesses, including irritable bowel syndrome and colon cancer.
The fiber in beans also helps people maintain or lose weight. This is because high-fiber foods have a low glycemic index, which means that your blood sugar levels will not rise quickly after you eat them. Beans are a low-calorie food that will make you feel full and curb your cravings for higher-calorie foods. Blood sugar levels remain more stable when beans are included in meals, so they make an excellent choice for dieters.
Beans are also high in protein, which is the building block for skin tissue, hair, bones, nails, muscles, and blood. They are a great source of protein because, unlike meat, beans supply it without the cholesterol and fat. So eat your beans and build those lean muscles you’re after.
Alternatives: Tofu, peas, lentils
Main vitamin or nutrient: Antioxidants
One benefit of consuming dark berries -- such as blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, and raspberries -- is that they keep your body clean by eliminating toxins and pollutants. The dark pigments in these super foods have a more powerful amount of antioxidants than any other produce offered at the supermarket.
Antioxidants in your food can save you from almost anything when it comes to your health, and this includes slowing down the aging process. The dye that is released from the skin of this fruit is the most nutritious part because it is the richest in these age-defying, disease-fighting antioxidants.
Aside from keeping you looking and feeling young, antioxidants prevent illnesses and ailments that come with age. For one, dark berries lower bad cholesterol and they are more cardio-protective than wine -- so eat your heart out, and your heart will thank you later. Another way they slow age-related diseases is by protecting your brain from memory-related problems, such as Alzheimer’s or loss of memory after a stroke.
You can eat your way out of cancer, viruses and memory loss, and you can seriously slow the aging process with these dark spurts of goodness, so add them to your power shakes or your cereal in the morning.
Alternatives: Plums, cherries, red wine
eat better, feel better, look better:
The foods listed in this article -- together with those I supplied you with in Part I -- are power foods that you should be adding to your diet every day. If you follow my recommendations, you will feel stronger and more resilient, your doctor will be appreciative and impressed, and your girlfriend will notice a change in your energy levels. Added to all of that, your mirror will provide you with an improved look. Enjoy it and make it last.