Here is a list of foods we have been told are not good for us, but really can be healthy.
1. Iceberg Lettuce: Just because it is not dark green does not mean it has no nutrient value. Iceberg contains lutein and zeaxanthin. These are carotenoids that reduce the risk for cataracts and age-related macular degeneration leading to blindness in older adults. My Dad had this and really suffered.
2. Watermelon: Although watermelon is sweet, it contains 40% more lycopene than fresh tomatoes. It may be helpful to let you know that canned tomatoes have much more of the cancer fighting lycopene than fresh ones do. This is to the dismay of my vegitarian mother-in-law. She didn’t believe it when I told her this. So don’t feel guilty to open a can of diced tomatoes because you care getting more nutrients than eating fresh ones. Just watch your sodium content for canned foods, there are many low or no sodium selections now for those of us worried about blood pressure. Lycopene is a potent antioxidant that strengthens the immune system and lowers the risk for breast and prostrate cancers…so eat lots of watermelon and tomatoes. Blueberries are good in the category as well.
3. Sauerkraut: I guess those German’s knew what was good for you after all. Many of us never thought of sauerkraut as being a healthy food but studies have found that women who ate at least 4 weekly servings of fermented cabbage where 72% less likely to develop breast cancer than those who ate less. The fermented cabbage changes the metabolism and may help to protect the intestinal tract. Isothiocyanates in the cabbage appear to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells and acclerate the dealth of these cells.
4. Onions: Onions are mainly used as seasonings in soups and on burgers but they are high in Vitamin C, fiber, vitamin B-6 and folate. They are also rich in quercetin, a flavonoid with powerful anticancer effects. Garlic is also in this category. Next time you make stir fry, use only olive oil and with lots of onion and garlic. If you eat at least 14 servings of onions a week your risk for oral cancer goes down by 84%, colon cancer 56%, breast cancer 25% and prostrate cancer 71%.
5. Artichokes: I may pass on this one, at least the fresh ones. It is hard to eat them. I do buy the canned artichokes, however, to use in recipes. They are good for irritable bowel syndrome and improve liver health.
6. Avocados: Now this is what I’m talking about! My favorite! I can make a meal out of it, but it is high in fat. However, it is GOOD fat that helps lower your bad cholesterol as does fish oil and olive oil. So, eat half an avocado everyday and lower your bad cholesterol 11%.