Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes
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First up ... tomatoes.
The deep red color comes from lycopene, probably the most powerful anti-oxidant. It is thought to lower the risk of prostate cancer, among others.
Add a little olive oil, and the lycopene is absorbed even better.
Beverly Webber, M.S, R.D at University of Utah says, "So you have lycopene from the tomatoes, and you have olive oil, which is a rich source of monounsaturated fat. You're benefiting by adding those foods together. Another good reason to eat the whole food and not take supplements."
Webber says it's a good example of the complex way different foods interact.
Number two is sure to warm Popeye's heart ... spinach.
"When you look at spinach and you see the dark green color, you know it's rich in antioxidants. Very important in preventing heart disease and cancers."
Next, red wine in moderation can be good for your cholesterol and your heart.
But does it have to be red wine?
Dr. John Swartzberg, editor of The Wellness Letter says, "No, but it has to be alcohol. The science we have about the value of wine really comes from, to the best of our knowledge now, just the alcohol component. So it could be red wine, it could be white wine, it could be spirits."
Nuts are next.
They're packed with protein, healthy nutrients, and good fats. But take it easy.
"A very small amount of nuts carries a big wallop of calories."
The next one diesn't have everyone's vote.
Former President George Bush said, "I do not like broccoli. And I haven't liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I'm president of the United States, and I'm not going to eat any more broccoli."
Nevertheless, broccoli is a great source of beta carotene, vitamin c, and phytochemicals to lower the risk of cancer.
Oats made the list-- a good source of fiber which is good for cholesterol and will help keep your colon healthy.
"We're not looking at salmon for its color."
Deep pink salmon is loaded with essential fatty acids-- omega-3s-- good for your heart and your brain.
They may help fight Alzheimer's disease and cancer.
Garlic and green tea both made the list for their cancer fighting compounds.
And last but not least, bluberries.
Willy Wonka didn't quite perfect the blueberry dessert gum, but he was on to something.
These little berries got the highest ORAC score --oxygen radical absorbance capacity. In other words, they fight inflammation and heart disease.
So having a cup of fresh blueberries is a wonderful way to get an abundance of antioxidants and phytochemicals in your diet.
Don't worry if your favorite fruit or vegetable didn't make the list. Think of these as examples of a variety of other foods that are equally healthy.
The bottom line is, keep it varied, keep it balanced, and it'll keep you healthy.
This list also is not necessarily the top ten. Things like tofu, lean cuts of red meat, or yogurt might be included in a top ten list.
What the list does emphasize is the importance of eating whole foods rather than turning to supplements.
Healthy foods are full of nutrients and vitamins. And we're only just beginning to appreciate what food can do for us.