The 100 Healthiest Foods

In the fast-paced world of nutrition research, it seems like a hot discovery hits the news every week. So we asked prominent scientists doing groundbreaking work on how edibles stave off illness to pin down the 100 most nutrient-packed foods.  To make our list, a food had to be very rich in at least one vitamin, mineral or other compound known to protect against cancer, heart disease or other diseases.  Be supermarket smart and use this list as your shopping list.  you body will be glad you did!

GLOSSARY OF HEALTHY-FOOD TERMS:

  • ANTHOCYANINS:  Plant pigments that help protect you from heart disease.

  • ANTIOXIDANT:  A substance that prevents harmful molecules called free radicals from damaging DNA.  Free radicals may be a cause of cancer, heart disease and other chronic diseases.

  • CAROTENOIDS:  Antioxidant plant pigments that are converted to vitamin A by the body.  There are several types: beta-carotene, a major plant source of vitamin A, which lowers the risk for heart disease and cancer; lutein and zeaxanthin, which are linked to a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration, a major cause of vision loss and blindness in older adults; lycopene, linked with a lower risk of heart attack and cancer.

  • CONJUGATED LINOLEIC ACID:  Beef, lamb and full-fat cheeses are rich in CLA, which halts tumor formation in animals.  

  • ELLAGIC ACID:  A plant compound that detoxifies and traps carcinogens.

  • FAVONOIDS:  Plant compounds that deter cancer in a number of ways.

  • FOLIC ACID:  B vitamin that helps prevent birth defects and lower levels of homocysteine, an amino acid linked to heart disease.

  • INDOLES:  Compounds that help fight cancer.

  • ISOFLAVONES:  Compounds that act as weak estrogens (phytoestrogens).  Eating 90 mg of isoflavones daily can improve bone density.

  • ISOTHIOCYANATES:  Compounds, including sulphoraphane, that protect against cancer.

  • LIGNANS:  Phytoestrogens that help prevent cancer.

  • MONOUNSATURATED FAT:  The heart-healthiest type of fat.

  • OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS:  A type of fat that reduces the risk factors for heart disease.

  • ORGANOSULFIDES:  Substances that help lower cholesterol.

  • PHYTOESTROGENS:  Compounds that are structurally similar to human estrogen.  One difference: They do not promote breast and endometrial cancer.  In fact, they help protect against these cancers, while providing many of the same heart-and bone-protective effects as human estrogen.


 

 
 
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