Saturday, December 6, 2008

Pick A Pepper, Not A Cuke

I am obsessed with fresh fruit and vegetables. 8 a day is my motto. Weekly trips to the local farmers markets here in Sac (Country Club Mall on Saturday, under the downtown freeway on Sunday) keep me well stocked with good stuff during the week. Each week, I generally pick out fairly "mainstream" produce: apples, pears, carrots, squash, and spinach. After reading an article on the effects of high antioxidant produce, I'm definitely re-considering my selections. Here is the gist of the article:

Although all fruits and vegetables are good for you, researchers are reporting that some appear to be better at preventing disease. For someone like me, who has too much cancer in the family to list, this is good news.

A recent study between participants who ate high antioxidant foods for two weeks and participants who ate the same quantities of lower antioxidant foods showed remarkable and startling results. After just two weeks, the high antioxidant participants had significantly improved liver function and lower blood levels of a key inflammatory marker - both of which help cut the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

You can improve your liver function and reduce risk of heart disease and diabetes just by selecting (and consuming!) different produce.

Here's what to eat LESS of:
Apples, bananas, melons, pears, green grapes, carrots, celery, cucumbers, eggplant, French beans, leeks, lettuce, potatoes, radishes, zucchini

Drink fewer of THESE beverages:
Apple juice, beer, cola (including diet), white wine

And here's what to eat MORE of:
Berries, black grapes, grapefruit, oranges, pineapple, plums, arugula, beets, broad beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, radicchio, red peppers, spinach, swiss chard

Consume MORE of these, as well:
Coffee (oh yeah!), red wine (now we're really talking), tea

Obviously, integrating lifestyle changes takes time, particularly if you're dealing with the palates of small children. I had my "revised" farmers market list in hand this morning and still came home with apples, pears, and carrots but I also clipped some interesting recipes which require things I never eat: beets, arugula, and swiss chard. I'll let you know how they turn out.

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