Your parents always told you to fill up on fruits and veggies, and for good reason. It doesn’t matter if you choose 100 percent juice or dried, fresh or canned fruits and veggies — each variation has its own set of health benefits.
A high-fiber diet doesn’t have to be heavy in grains, pasta or cereal; one cup of raspberries has more fiber than one cup of whole-wheat spaghetti. Peas, lentils and beans top the list for high-fiber legumes. As an added bonus, a recent study suggests that a high-fiber diet might lower the risk of developing colon polyps, abnormal growths that can develop into cancer over time.
Got juice? If drinking milk is a chore for you, look for calcium-fortified juices to keep your bones strong. Add calcium-rich collard greens, green soybeans, spinach and turnip greens to your diet for an extra calcium-boost. And don’t forget magnesium, which works to maintain bone strength, promote normal blood pressure and manage blood sugar levels. Foods that are high in magnesium include almonds, Brazil nuts, pinto beans and spinach.
Protect your eyesight with apricots, cantaloupe, carrots, collard greens, grapefruit, lettuce, mangos, spinach, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and watermelon, which are all chock-full of vitamin A. Vitamin A is also used in combination with vitamins C and E, zinc and copper to prevent macular degeneration, which can lead to total blindness if untreated.
Also, look to foods with high levels of vitamin C to help keep cataracts at bay. See a list of foods that pack a vitamin-C punch.
Some research suggests that changing the way you eat can directly alter the pain you feel. Choosing foods high in beta-cryptoxanthin, such as oranges, apricots, nectarines, tangerines, papaya, peaches, plums and watermelon can reduce feelings of pain. Foods rich in anti-oxidants, flavanoids and omega-3s also help reduce pain, according to MetabolismAdvice.com.
Check out the Produce for Better Health Foundation’s list of what’s in season this fall to see what fresh produce piques your appetite.