Many of us aren’t filling our plates with the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. Our diets are deficient in the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants we need for optimum health – and no, canned fruit and fruit juices dont count. Below are the top 8 recommended to get your nutrition and health back on track.
GRAPEFRUIT – The famous Scripps Clinic Grapefruit Diet study showed that participants who ate half a grapefruit before each meal lost an average of 3.6 pounds in 12 weeks. Its a great appetite suppressant, Bowden says. It also contains pectin, a soluble fiber thats been shown to slow the progression of atherosclerosis. Avoid eating grapefruit when taking prescription (or over-the-counter) medications, though. It interacts with liver enzymes in a way that can keep the medication in your system longer than expected.
APPLE – One medium-size apple is a filling, ready-to-eat snack that is packed with four grams of soluble fiber. This is important for colon health and controlling blood sugar levels, says Elson Haas, M.D., author of Staying Healthy with Nutrition. Its also a good source of immune-boosting vitamin C.
BLACKBERRIES Nutritionist Garcia recommends blackberries for their exceptional phytonutrient power and vitamin K content (36 percent of the DV). This is important for men because its been shown to help lower risk of prostate cancer he says. Blackberriesalong with blueberries, bilberries, and raspberriesare also rich in the antioxidant lutein, which helps promote eye health by helping prevent macular degeneration.
POMEGRANATE – Research shows that the powerful antioxidant agents in pomegranate seeds and juice can help reverse oxidative damagewhat nutritionist Oz Garcia, Ph.D., calls natural rustingto the vascular system.,
GRAPES – Grapes are a very high glycemic fruit, says nutritionist and physique specialist John Kiefer, which makes them an ideal post-training snack. Theyre also loaded with vitamins A, C, and B6, and folate, in addition to several essential minerals.
CHERRIES – Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., author of The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, says inflammation in the body is the root cause of most disease and discomfort. Studies suggest weekend warriors can ease aches and pains by eating tart cherries. These have the highest concentration of anthocyanins 1 and 2, which help block enzymes associated with inflammation
LEMON – The citric acid in lemons helps break down lipids and stimulates digestive juices, says Dr. Haas. Adding the juice of half a lemon to a glass of water every morning supports liver and gall bladder function. Drink some fresh lemon juice before your next meeting. The energizing scent has been shown to mitigate fatigue, anxiety, and nervousness, and can increase concentration and alertness.
PAPAYA – Papain, an enzyme in papaya, has been shown to relieve gas from indigestion. Another of its enzymes, chymopapain, has been used to relieve inflammation. One cup of fresh, ripe papaya has only 60 calories, yet packs a whopping 144 percent of the DV of vitamin C (88mg). When buying papayas, Garcia says, look for ones that are mostly yellow and yield slightly to pressure.
Chris Cander, Mens Fitness