Toss these below mentioned foods into your shopping cart every week and you are covered for all the vitamins, minerals, and omega-3s and photochemical that has been shown to be long life superstars. Obviously, these aren't going to be the only foods you will ever eat and you don't have to eat each one every day. Simply follow the general longevity daily-diet guidelines of four and more fruits; six or more non meat proteins plus a little extra dose of some herbs and spices. Keep the menu varied so you work in some of everything each week, but get hung up on keeping track. After all you don't have to be a nutritional bean counter for your diet to be among the healthiest and life-prolonging best.
Broccoli is the best one-stop vegetable munch for vitamins C and A, beta carotene and fibre and contains a compound called sulphoraphane which blocks the growth of breast tumours. The highest levels of sulphoraphane are in the florets; eat it raw but microwaving with a small amount of water retains up to 50 per cent; boiling and steaming trail far behind and commercially available frozen broccoli has no detectable sulphoraphane at all.
One serving = 2 or more spears
The equivalent of two carrots every second day provides enough beta carotene to reduce stroke risk by half for those who have already had the symptoms. One serving = 2 medium carrots
The heat source in chillies, capsaicin is an antioxidant with a multitude of benefits; it is anti carcinogenic; it's blood thinning ability helps prevents strokes; it lowers cholesterol; and also capsaicin stimulates the release of the body's natural "feel good" chemicals. One serving = 1 or more peppers
One cup of raw spinach provides a bumper crop of vitamin A, C and folic acid plus a bit of magnesium which helps control cancer, reduces risk of stroke and heart disease, blocks free radicals and may help prevent osteoporosis. Dark, green leafy vegetables also contain glutathione which makes an enzyme that is important for immune system function. Fresh is best; cooking preserves little glutathione. One serving = one cup, uncooked
TOMATOES OR STRAWBERRIES
Tomatoes are rich in lycopenes, an antioxidant even more potent than vitamin C that also stimulates immune system function and slows degenerative diseases. Tomatoes' only drawback is soft skin that may harbour fungicides but soaking in water helps flush them out. Strawberries contain ellagic acid which has been shown to have anti cancer properties. One serving = one fresh tomato or 1/2 cup strawberries
Fresh, whole citrus fruits are a great source of vitamin C and have been shown to help the body fight different types of cancers as they are extremely rich in bioflavonoid and the highest concentration is in the white rind, the part between the coloured peel and the fruit which means that orange juice has very little or no bioflavonoid at all. One serving = one large orange or equivalent fruit
Cantaloupe is not only rich in vitamin C but also one-quarter melon delivers 2mgs of beta carotene — nearly half the National Cancer Institute's recommended 5.7mg per day for cancer prevention and protection against heart disease. One serving = 1/4 melon
Mangoes may not be ranking very high in carotenoids but they do contain another important category of photochemical; bioflavonoid which are the potent antioxidants and aid our immune system just like vitamin C and A, if not more so.
One serving = one mango
Fresh apricots are high in beta-carotene and provide medium high levels of vitamin C and some fibre. Vitamin C vanishes from dried apricots and if they are untreated, they lose beta-carotene as well. One serving = 3 apricots
Bananas are rich in magnesium, potassium and slowly absorbed simple sugars and have been shown to help protect the circulatory system. One serving = one medium banana
A powerhouse of antioxidants of various kinds has been shown to lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure is an anti viral and anti bacterial and it may have chemicals capable of destroying cancer cells. One serving = 2-3 cloves of
Beans are high in protein and complex carbohydrate, have both soluble and insoluble fibre, filling and taste good. Beans are loaded with photochemical and protease inhibitors that may help prevent cancer. One serving = 1 cup
SOYBEANS AND TOFU
Tofu, fresh soybeans, soy milk and soy protein decreases bad low density lipo protein cholesterol levels in blood even if consumed in moderate amounts. Soy is also high in phytoestrogens, a category of bioflavonoid that inhibits estrogen- promoted cancers. (Monika Seth/Nutritionist and diet consultant specialising in weight loss at Al Raffah Hospital)