10 Health Foods that Aren't... - Page 2
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Avocados. Yes, they contain fat. But it's mostly monounsaturated—the type that lowers artery-clogging cholesterol. Look for those with smooth skin. They're lower in calories and fat than the rough-skinned kind.
Bell Peppers. Once for ounce, green peppers have twice the vitamin C of oranges; red or yellow pepplers have four times as much—plus the antioxidant beta-carotene.
Chocolate syrup. It's made with cocoa, not cocoa butter, so it has only 50 calories per tablespoon—and virtually no fat.
Lean Beef. The best food source of iron is also high in immunity-boosting zinc, reports Felicia Busch, a registered dietitian in St. Paul, Minnesota. But be a red-meat minimalist. The latest research shows that having more than 18 ounces of red meat like beef, pork and lamb per week (about 2.5 ounces per day) can increase the risk of colorectal cancer.
Purple food. Concord grapes, blueberries, red wine: They all get that deep, rich color from polyphenols—compounds that reduce heart disease risk and may also protect against Alzheimer's disease, according to the new research. Polyphenols help keep blood vessels and arteries flexible and healthy. "What's good for your coronary arteries is also good for your brain's blood vessels," says Robert Krikorian, PhD, director of the Cognitive Disorders Center at the University of Cincinnati. Preliminary animal studies suggest that adding dark grapes to your diet may improve brain function. What's more, in a recent human study, researchers found that eating 1 or more cups of blueberries every day may improve communication between brain cells, enhancing your memory.
Rice. The Japanese consume more than 150 pounds per person of this low-fat carb each year; Americans, a paltry 25 pounds each. No wonder Japanese culture is one of the world's leanest, with one of the greatest life expectancies (an average of age 82 for both men and women compared to age 78 in the U.S.).
Sorbet. With less fat than frozen yogurt and only 100 calories per half cup, brands made with fruit juice (check labels) are a sweet way to get vitamin C.
Strawberries. A half cup has double the fiber of a slice of whole-wheat bread and more folic acid than an orange.
Tea. Both green and black teas contain a concentrated dose of catechins, substances that help blood vessels relax and protect your heart. In a study of more than 40,500 Japanese men and women, those who drank 5 or more cups of green tea every day had the lowest risk of dying from heart disease and stroke. Other studies involving black tea showed similar results. You really need only 1 or 2 cups of tea daily to start doing your heart some good—just make sure it's a fresh brew. Ready-to-drink teas (the kind you find in the supermarket beverage section) don't offer the same health benefits. "Once water is added to tea leaves, their catechins degrade within a few days," says Jeffrey Blumberg, PhD, a professor of nutrition science and policy at Tufts University. Also, some studies show that adding milk may eliminate tea's protective effects on the cardiovascular system, so stick to just lemon or honey.
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