By Veronica Peterson, Editor, Care2 Healthy and Green Living
Want flawless skin, healthy bones, a youthful attitude and a mind like a steel trap? Say “bon voyage” to store bought vitamins–the answer may well be found in your fridge. “People may not realize a colorful diet is actually a heart-healthy and cancer-preventative diet,” says James Joseph, a neuroscientist and director of the Neuroscience Lab at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in a recent article. “Healthy arteries not only mean a healthy cardiovascular system but healthy gray matter as well. What’s good for your heart is also good for your brain.”
(tomatoes, grapefruit, watermelon, red apples, chilis)
These fruits contain the phytochemical lycopene, which helps rid the body of free radicals that cause damage to the genes. Lycopene has been found to protect against prostate and breast cancer and may prevent heart and lung disease
(spinach, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, honeydew melon, mustard greens, turnip greens, kale, peas, avocado, broccoli, cabbage, bok choi, kale)
These are believed to reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. They contain the chemicals sulforaphane and isocyanate and they also contain indoles, all of which help ward off cancer by inhibiting carcinogens. These foods have been shown to prevent cancer by helping the body rid itself of toxins.
Next, Orange and Yellow
(oranges, carrots, cantaloupes, mangos, apricots, pumpkin, papayas, winter squash, sweet potatoes, pineapple, acorn squash, tangerines, peaches, nectarines)
These contain alpha carotene, which protects against cancer. They also contain beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A. Beta-carotene is also good for night vision, protects the skin against free-radical damage and helps repair damaged DNA. Getting these vitamins through dairy products and meat is possible though not as beneficial as fat and calories are part of the package.
These fruits and veggies also contain beta cryptothanxin, which helps cells in the body communicate and may help prevent heart disease. An interesting note: Orange peels are high in a protective fat that has been found to kill cancer cells in humans and animals.
Next, Red and Purple
(beets, eggplant, purple grapes, grape juice, prunes, cranberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, )
These are loaded with powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins believed to protect against heart disease by preventing blood clots and help with optimum brain function. There is some scientific evidence that they may help delay the onset of Alzheimer’s by slowing the aging of cells in the body.
(garlic, leeks, scallions, onions, celery, pears, endive, chives, cauliflower, potatoes)
The onion family contains allicin, which has antitumor properties. Other foods in this group contain antioxidant flavonoids like quercetin and kaempferol.