Diet Rich in Vegetables, Whole Grains and Beans Cuts Bowel Cancer Risk

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A diet rich in vegetables, whole grains, beans and lentils can cut the risk of bowel cancer in men by more than a fifth, research suggests.

A new study on 79,952 men in the US found that those who ate largest amounts of healthy plant-based foods had a 22% lower risk of bowel cancer compared to those who ate the least.

However, the researchers found no such link for women, of whom 93,475 were included in the study.

The team suggested that the link is clearer for men, who have an overall higher risk of bowel cancer.

They were also asked about portion size.

People could tick that they consumed each food item “never or hardly ever” right up to “two or more times a day”.

For drinks, the responses ranged from “never or hardly ever” to “four or more times a day”.

The food groups were classed as healthy plant foods (whole grains, fruits, vegetables, vegetable oils, nuts, legumes such as lentils and chickpeas, tea and coffee), less healthy plant foods (refined grains, fruit juices, potatoes, added sugars), and animal foods (animal fat, dairy, eggs, fish or seafood, meat).

The researchers then divided the daily consumption per 1,000 kcal into quintiles, from the biggest consumption to the least.

On average, men were aged 60 at the start of the study while women were aged 59.

We speculate that the antioxidants found in foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains could contribute to lowering colorectal cancer risk by suppressing chronic inflammation, which can lead to cancer

Researcher Jihye Kim, from Kyung Hee University, South Korea, said: “Colorectal (bowel) cancer is the third most common cancer worldwide and the risk of developing colorectal cancer over a lifetime is one in 23 for men and one in 25 for women.

“We speculate that the antioxidants found in foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains could contribute to lowering colorectal cancer risk by suppressing chronic inflammation, which can lead to cancer.

“As men tend to have a higher risk of colorectal cancer than women, we propose that this could help explain why eating greater amounts of healthy plant-based foods was associated with reduced colorectal cancer risk in men but not women.”

The authors found the link among men also varied by race and ethnicity.

For example, among Japanese American men, the reduced risk of cancer was 20% but it was 24% for white men.

The team said more research was needed on the differences between ethnicities.

During the study, 4,976 people (2.9%) developed bowel cancer and factors likely to influence the results, such as whether people were overweight, were taken into account.

Dr Helen Croker, head of research interpretation at World Cancer Research Fund, said: “We welcome this research which adds to our own evidence that eating vegetables, wholegrains and beans reduces the risk of developing bowel cancer.

“We also recommend that people limit the amount of red meat they eat and avoid processed meat altogether.

“Interestingly in this paper, plant-based diets were only associated with a lower risk of bowel cancer in men. It’s speculated that one reason for this may be because men in general had a lower intake of plant foods and a higher intake of animal foods than women – so there was perhaps a ceiling effect to the benefits that women may experience.”

Beth Vincent, health information manager at Cancer Research UK, said: “This American study adds to lots of existing evidence on the benefits of eating a balanced diet high in fruit, vegetables and fibre for both men and women.

“The research tried to compare ‘healthy plant foods’ and ‘unhealthy plant foods’ and found a link with bowel cancer in men. But because of the design of the study, the authors themselves acknowledge we can’t read too much into their results.

“The study relied on people remembering what they had eaten up to a year ago. It also made the assumptions that participants’ diets stayed the same over many years, and that all meat and animal products were unhealthy – which isn’t the case.


Kale, Black Bean & Avocado Burrito Bowl

Buddha Bowl  with Avocado

Brown rice
  • 1 cup brown rice, rinsed (short grain/arborio or long grain/basmati recommended)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
Lime marinated kale
  • 1 bunch curly kale, ribs removed and chopped into small, bite-sized pieces
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
Avocado salsa verde
  • 1 avocado, pitted and sliced into big chunks
  • ½ cup mild salsa verde (any good green salsa will do)
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves (a few stems are ok)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
Seasoned black beans
  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained (or 4 cups cooked black beans)
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped (or ⅓ cup chopped red onion)
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
Garnish
  • Cherry tomatoes, sliced into thin rounds
  • Hot sauce (optional)
  1. Cook the rice: Bring a big pot of water to a boil, dump in rinsed brown rice and boil, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Turn off the heat, drain the rice and return it to the pot. Cover and let the rice steam in the pot for 10 minutes, then fluff the rice with a fork and season with ¼ teaspoon salt, or more to taste.
  2. Make the kale salad: Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, chopped jalapeño, cumin and salt. Toss the chopped kale with the lime marinade in a mixing bowl.
  3. Make the avocado salsa verde: In a food processor or blender, combine the avocado chunks, salsa verde, cilantro and lime juice and blend well.
  4. Warm the beans: In a saucepan, warm 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-low heat. Sauté the shallot and garlic until fragrant, then add the beans, chili powder and cayenne pepper. Cook until the beans are warmed through and softened, stirring often, about 5 to 7 minutes. If the beans seem dry at any point, mix in a little splash of water.


Non-Giblet Vegetarian Gravy

Non-Giblet Vegetarian Gravy

Giblet Gravy


Serving Size : 4

2 Tablespoons ghee
1/4 cup white wine
1 pound mushrooms — sliced
1 large onion — diced
2 cups celery — diced
4 cups almond milk
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon rubbed sage
1/2 tablespoon rosemary
1/3 tablespoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon arrowroot
1 cup seitan – optional- I do not use it because I do not cook with gluten

1) Boil eggs and peel.

2) Sauté onions in ghee until transparent. Add celery, mushrooms, and herbs and sauté untel veggies are all softened and wine has cooked off. Let your veggies actually begin to stick to the bottom of the pan and get a layer of brown stuff stuck on the bottom. When that has happened, add more wine and stir.

3) Now add remaining seasonings, almond milk and simmer very slowly, stirring the whole time to keep the almond milk from scorching. Dissolve arrowroot in some cool water or broth or almond milk and add to gravy, stir until thickened.

4) Cut eggs in half and mash yolks with a fork, add to gravy, stir well to incorporate. Now dice the eggs and add.

3) Add optional seitan. when gravy is thickened, remove from heat.


Best (and Crispy!) Eggplant Parmesan!

Crispy Eggplant Parmesan

I first had Eggplant Parmesan when I was 24 years old, I absolutely loved the flavor but felt like I could really improve on the texture. It seemed like it was just a gloopy mess, like a casserole. So I started playing with the recipe. It took a while to figure it out and here is the results!

I make my own Marinara Sauce as well as making the Vegan Parmesan Cheese. I use Violife Mozzerella Cheese.  Although Follow Your Heart Brand makes Vegan Parmesan, it has almost no flavor. And Go Veggie Makes on that tastes good, it is a soy based product. I use very few soy products as they are not healthy. I will use Tempeh and Edamame occasionally as they are fermented and way easier to digest. I have a severe reaction to tofu and other processed soy products but do not react to edamame and tempeh.

Crispy Eggplant Parmesan Stacks

serves 4

2 small eggplants (about 12 ounces each)
1 cup rice flour
3 large eggs , beaten
½ cup fine gluten-free breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup vegan Parmesan cheese
½ pound vegan mozzarella , packaged or fresh, shredded
3 cups marinara, slightly thickened with tomato paste
Chopped fresh parsley to serve or pesto

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet.

Leaving the peel on the eggplant, slice them into one-inch slices. Place the flour on a plate, and place the eggs in a shallow bowl. Mix the breadcrumbs with the oregano, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and the pepper on a separate plate.

Coat both sides of each slice of eggplant in the plate with the flour. Dip each slice into the beaten eggs, then allow any excess egg to drip back into the bowl. Place the eggplant slices on the plate with the breadcrumbs, turn it to coat both sides. Place the coated eggplant on a sheet pan.

Bake eggplant in oven for about 12-15 minutes each side, just until golden brown, flipping half way through.

Place each browned slice of eggplant on the sheet pan, top with marinara, then mozzarella and parmesan. Place other slice on top of that, choosing one that is close in size or slightly smaller. Then put marinara on top, then mozzarella on top. Do not cover the entire top as you want some of the crispiness to stay crispy! Top with parmesan about 7 minutes before removing from oven. Remove from the oven


The #1 Best Eating Habit for Heart Health, New Study Suggests

heart to heart - Copy

Remember that fruits and vegetables are potassium-rich, but so are seafood, and legumes. Include bananas, oranges, antelope, apricots, grapefruit, prunes, dates and raisins. .

While there are plenty of vitamins and nutrients you’ll want to ensure are found in your regular diet—we’re looking at you, vitamin B, vitamin C, and vitamin D—potassium should definitely be one of them. A new study has shown that there happens to be a certain eating habit that can seriously benefit the health of your heart, and that’s consuming potassium-rich foods. Apparently, having a decent amount of potassium in your system can reduce the harmful effects of excess sodium in your diet and lower blood pressure.

In the study published in the European Heart Journal, 24,963 participants were brought on between 1993 and 1997. At the time, they ranged from 40 to 79 years old with the average being 58 years old for women and 59 for men. The study initially involved the participants providing information regarding certain lifestyle choices and also having their blood pressure noted and urine samples analyzed for both sodium and potassium levels.

When those behind the study again took a look at the participants around 19 and a half years later, they found that 55% had dealt with serious and even potentially fatal issues with cardiovascular disease. It was found that those who had the highest amounts of potassium in the diet were 13% less likely to face cardiovascular problems compared to those who had the least amount of potassium in the systems.

“Our findings indicate that a heart-healthy diet goes beyond limiting salt to boosting potassium content,” said study author Professor Liffert Vogt of Amsterdam University Medical Centers, the Netherlands, via EurekAlert! 

“This study adds to the body of evidence that suggests a higher potassium intake and lower sodium consumption benefits blood pressure,” Elizabeth Ward, MS, RDN, and co-author of The Menopause Diet Plan, A Natural Guide to Hormones, Health and Happiness, tells Eat This, Not That!

When it comes to why a potassium-rich diet helps to reduce the effects of salt and lowers blood pressure, Ward explains that “potassium and sodium have opposite effects on blood pressure—potassium helps lower it and sodium tends to increase it.” Ward also notes that “the more potassium you consume, the more sodium is lost in your urine.” Beyond that, “potassium also helps to ease tension in blood vessel walls, which also helps better regulate blood pressure.”

At the same time, Ward says, “While potassium is important for blood pressure control and for other reasons, some people need to be careful. Excess potassium can be harmful in patients with kidney disease, for example.”

Ward says you shouldn’t “look to potassium supplements to take the place of food,” explaining that “it’s likely that the fluid and phytonutrients in potassium-rich foods help to contribute to better blood pressure.”

To get what you’re looking for from your diet, Ward points out that “potassium is prone to destruction with processing, so raw and lightly processed foods have the highest potassium levels.” With that in mind, remember that “fruits and vegetables are potassium-rich, but so are dairy products, seafood, and legumes.”


Impossible and Beyond: How healthy are these meatless burgers?

Impossible Meat

But how do they stack up? It turns out the answer may depend on whether your priorities lie with your personal health or the health of the planet.

I use these products occasionally. I avoid processed soy as it is not that healthy, and limit my intake of processed foods. That is also reflected in my Meal Delivery Service.

The good news: Meatless burgers are a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals

The protein content of these newer plant-based burgers has been created to compete with beef and poultry gram for gram. Both the Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger have comparable amounts, the former deriving protein mainly from soy and the later from peas.

Both meatless burgers also add vitamins and minerals found in animal proteins — like vitamin B12 and zinc — in amounts equal to (and in some cases, greater than) both red meat and poultry. This is a plus for vegetarians, because these nutrients are typically harder to come by when relying solely on foods from the plant kingdom. Vitamin B12, for instance, is found primarily in animal sources, and strict vegetarians and vegans must get their intake from fortified sources. What’s more, plant compounds such as phytic acid bind to minerals, which can increase requirements of zinc by 50% and may necessitate consuming about two times as much iron. For those who eat at least some animal protein, the vitamin and mineral fortification is less of a selling point.

This doesn’t mean a plant-focused diet is lacking in nutrients. Beans, for instance, are a good source of both zinc and iron. They are also an important protein resource. Black bean burgers are never going to be mistaken for hamburgers, but they are typically a solid choice when it comes to health.

Even though legumes are sourced for protein in the branded meatless options, their health benefits are somewhat blunted by the high degree of processing involved. For instance, moderate amounts of whole soy foods, like edamame (soybeans), have been linked to reduced rates of cancer. This protection is often attributed to isoflavones, a subgroup of plant compounds called flavonoids thought to provide health benefits. Unfortunately, in the case of the Impossible Burger, one serving contains less than 8% of the isoflavones found in one serving of whole soy foods (one serving is roughly a quarter of a block of tofu or 1 cup of soymilk).

Poultry-based burger alternatives, such as turkey burgers, also do not contain significant amounts of protective plant compounds. On the other hand, they offer less saturated fat.

If a lower risk of diseases like cancer and heart disease is your ultimate goal, aim for the kind of veggie burgers that showcase their beans, grains, and seeds front and center. Choose legume-based varieties studded with seeds and whole grains, like brown rice and quinoa.


Shrimp Sweet Potato Cakes with Avocado Salsa

Shrimp and Sweet potato cakes

Serves 2

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 limes zest
2 tablespoons minced fresh jalapeno
¼ cup finely diced red bell pepper
3 green onions, white and green part, very thinly sliced
2 cups packed shredded sweet potato (this took 1 medium-large sweet potato, peeled and ends trimmed grated on a box grater)
1 T cumin
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Avocado Salsa

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 large ripe avocado, diced
¼ cup red onion, very finely diced
1 red fresno chile, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
2 limes juice
kosher salt

Instructions

Cut shrimp (chopped roughly), and combine with the sweet potatoes, red bell pepper, green onions, jalapeno, cilantro, garlic and salt.

Using clean hands, form 6 equal sized patties from the shrimp and sweet potato mixture. Set the patties aside while you prepare the Avocado Salsa.

For the Avocado Salsa combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and gently fold together. Season to taste with kosher salt and set aside.

In a large sauté pan, heat a thin layer of vegetable oil over medium heat. Add a few of the shrimp cakes and cook for about 2-3 minutes each until the bottoms have become golden and crispy.

Flip the cakes and cook another few minutes until the second side is also golden and crispy and the shrimp is cooked to pink.


Asian Soba Noodle Bowl

healthy-asian-veggie-soba-noodle-soup-19552

Serves 2

1 T sesame Oil
2 cups Bok Choy
1 red bell pepper
3 medium scallions
1 T Rice Vinegar
2 slices raw ginger
6 cups Low Sodium Vegetable Broth
2 T Coconut Aminos (Soy Sauce Substitute)
½ tsp miso
8 oz Buckwheat Soba Noodles
Optional – top with boiled eggs

1. Separate the green and white parts of the scallions.

2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or stockpot over medium-high.

3. Add the bok choy, bell pepper, white part of the scallions and vinegar, and sauté until bell pepper is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

4. Add the broth, tamari and salt, and then bring to a boil over high heat.

5. Stir in the noodles and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until noodles are cooked, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6. Stir in the green part of the scallions. Adjust seasoning.

7. Ladle into bowls. If desired, serve with hot sauce.


Nuts Can Be Good for Your Brain, Unless You’re Making These 5 Mistakes

Walnuts - Copy

When regularly eaten as part of a healthy diet, can slow brain aging and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, according to the Mayo Clinic.

“Nuts have an optimal fatty acid profile for the brain, including generally high concentrations of mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids. And walnuts in particular have omega-3 fatty acids,” which are excellent for your brain, explains Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, RDN, author of the ​Eat Clean, Stay Lean​ series and ​The Superfood Rx Diet​.

They’re also rich in vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that can support your health from head to toe, including fiber, vitamin E, magnesium, thiamin and zinc. And when your body as a whole is healthy, your brain will reap the benefits.

Before you go nuts with eating them though, take a look at these common mistakes. Making them could mean you’re getting less brain bang for your buck.

1. Choosing Overly Salty or Sugary Nuts

Salt and sugar are often used to give nuts a flavor boost. But regularly getting too much sodium or added sugar can have a negative effect on cognitive health.

Fix it:​ One option is to stick with plain, unsalted nuts — they’re typically made without added salt or sugar. But if you like your nuts salted, it’s also fine to look for lower-sodium options made with 50 percent less salt, Bazilian says. (Just make sure you’re staying below your recommended daily sodium intake for the day.)

Try to limit your consumption of candied nuts, which are often packed with sugar.

2. Not Eating Them Often Enough

Nuts will do your brain the most good when you eat them regularly. Followers of the MIND diet, a low-sodium Mediterranean-style diet, had the lowest rates of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia when they consumed nuts, seeds and legumes five or more times per week, according to findings in the February 2015 issue of ​Alzheimer’s & Dementia​.

Fix it:​ Make it a point to work nuts into your diet most days. A simple handful makes for a satisfying snack, but that’s not your only option. Bazilian recommends:

  • Adding chopped nuts to oatmeal or yogurt
  • Tossing nut butter or whole soaked nuts into the blender when making a smoothie (soaking makes the whole nuts easier to blend)
  • Using crumbled or pulverized walnuts as a meatless taco filling
  • Spreading nut butters on sandwiches or toast

3. Not Paying Attention to Portion Size

Nuts are known for being calorie-dense. A 1.5-ounce serving of almonds has 246 calories, while the same amount of cashews has 236 calories.

Grab handfuls throughout the day or snack straight from the container, and you easily run the risk of going over your calorie budget for the day, says Alisa Bloom, MPH, RDN, a nutrition expert and health and wellness coach based in Chicago.

Fix it:​ Be mindful about how many nuts you’re eating. “The research shows mostly around 1.5 ounces is what’s most associated with health benefits,” Bazilian says.  THAT”S 1 to 2 TABLESPOONS!

4. Only Eating Peanuts or Peanut Butter

Peanuts and PB serve up plenty of healthy fats and vitamin E. But making them your only go-to means you’ll miss out on the nutrients their crunchy cousins have to offer.

Case in point? Walnuts are the only nut with significant levels of omega-3 plant fats, which fight cognition crushers like oxidative stress and inflammation, Bazilian says.

Brazil nuts offer powerful antioxidants like selenium, while almonds offer calcium — a mineral that may be beneficial for memory, says Bloom.

Fix it:​ Keep several types of nuts on hand and enjoy a different pick each day. (Store them in the refrigerator or freezer to increase their shelf life — the fat in nuts will go rancid more quickly at room temperature.) Make a peanut butter and banana smoothie on Monday, snack on almonds on Tuesday, and add walnuts to your salad on Wednesday, for instance.

5. Not Buying Certain Nuts Organic

Exposure to certain pesticides could increase the risk for cognitive dysfunction, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, according to a June 2020 review in ​Toxicology Letters​. In particular, the chemicals used to grow conventional almonds, cashews, peanuts, and pistachios are thought to pose potential health risks.

Fix it:​ Consider buying organic nuts when possible. “The more we can lower a toxic burden risk, even for a healthy food, the better,” Bloom says.

But if organic isn’t an option, don’t let that stop you from eating nuts altogether. “Organic is a great idea if you can afford it and if the nuts are fresh,” Bazilian says. “But in the grand scheme of things, you’ll get more benefits from getting the nutrients of [conventional] nuts rather than avoiding nuts.”


10 Antioxidant Rich Foods to Include in Your Diet

These antioxidant rich foods may help you to fight free radicals and improve your long-term health.Nutrition

Including antioxidant rich foods in your diet has never been more important, with air pollution, tobacco smoke, UV radiation, alcohol and fried foods all exposing us to countless sources of oxidative stress. Our fast modern lifestyles have fueled the steep rise in chronic health conditions too, but the good news is that including more antioxidant rich foods in your diet can help your body to withstand this constant attack from free radicals.

You might be wondering, what are antioxidants? In short, antioxidants are molecules that are built to counteract the harmful effects of oxidative stress, preserve the integrity of our cells and protect our DNA from damage. Consuming antioxidant rich foods may even delay the aging process. However, since our bodies are not able to synthesize the vast majority of these vital compounds, they have to be ingested with foods.

Berries

Berries are a true nutritional powerhouse. Fruits like strawberries, blueberries, blackcurrants and cranberries are one of the best dietary sources of vitamins and fiber. Multiple studies, such as one published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences(opens in new tab), have shown how regular consumption of berries can significantly bring down inflammation levels and vastly reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancer.

These strong health-promoting properties are mostly down to the exceptional levels of antioxidants in these fruits, including phenolic acids, flavonoids and vitamin C.

Although every fruit from this family will benefit our health, some will exhibit stronger antioxidant properties than the others. According to a review published in the journal, blackcurrants and blueberries tend to have the highest concentration of these vital compounds.   

Pomegranate

Pomegranates are small red fruits packed with crunchy, juicy seeds. A review published in the International Journal of Chemical Studies(opens in new tab) revealed how these fruits may be useful at treating a host of different infections and reducing the risk of developing chronic conditions like osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.

Though nowhere near as popular as berries, pomegranates contain a relatively similar level of health-promoting nutrients. According to a review published in the Journal of Food Bioactives(opens in new tab), they are a rich source of many different antioxidants, including ellagic acids, gallic acids, anthocyanins, and ellagitannins.

PLUMS

Sweet and juicy, plums are another example of a great antioxidant rich food. As described in an analysis published by the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry(opens in new tab), one medium-sized fruit contains nearly 6.5mg of vitamin C (almost 10% of your recommended Daily Value).

Multiple studies included in a review published in Phytotherapy Research(opens in new tab) demonstrated that regular consumption of plums can lead to better cognitive function, bone density and cardiovascular health. 

Chocolate

If you want to top up your antioxidant intake, consider making dark chocolate your next snack of choice. Although dark chocolate’s bitter flavor may not be to everyone’s liking, it’s one of the healthiest items you can find in the confectionary aisle. Its main ingredient, cocoa powder, is a rich dietary source of flavonoids like catechin, epicatechin and procyanidins. These are compounds that have been shown to lower inflammation levels, improve cardiovascular health and contribute to better immune responses.

According to a review published in the Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity(opens in new tab), cocoa consumption may also have a positive impact on insulin resistance, cognitive function and mood. It’s worth noting though that the more processed the chocolate, the less of an antioxidant capacity it will have. To get the most benefit, aim for minimally processed chocolate with a high cocoa content.     

BEETROOTS

Beetroots are undoubtedly one of the best antioxidant rich foods you can include in your diet. There are multiple health benefits associated with their consumption. These root vegetables provide a significant amount of nitrates, compounds that have a direct impact on the functioning of our cardiovascular system.

Beetroot juice also contains a high amount of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory polyphenols. These vegetables are particularly abundant in betalains, polyphenols which give them their characteristic purple coloring.

According to a review published in the Nutrients(opens in new tab) journal, regular beetroot and beetroot juice consumption can lead to lower inflammation levels, better cognition, improved blood pressure and a vastly reduced risk of developing several types of cancer. A review published in Sports Medicine(opens in new tab) also suggests that there is some evidence that beetroot juice may have a significant impact on the sports performance among athletes.

Green Leafy Vegetables

Green leafy vegetables are the cornerstone of a healthy diet. Kale, spinach, watercress, cabbage or lettuce are not only very low in calories and dietary fats, they also provide a significant amount of fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Spinach is a great example of a green leafy vegetable with a high antioxidant content. Research published in Food and Function(opens in new tab) showed that regular consumption of spinach may lead to a reduced risk of developing obesity, type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis and several types of cancer.

What’s more, this green leafy vegetable may be uniquely beneficial to our eye and brain health. It contains two powerful carotenoid antioxidants: lutein and zeaxanthin. And according to a review published in the Nutrition Reviews(opens in new tab) journal, lutein and zeaxanthin can absorb damaging blue light that enters the eye, protecting this vital organ from degeneration.

ARTICHOKES

Artichoke is a vegetable that has a similar taste to asparagus and is most commonly found in the Mediterranean diet. They are a rich source of inulin, a type of a prebiotic fiber, as well as potassium and vitamin C.

According to a review recently published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences(opens in new tab), artichokes have been shown to possess strong anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. These characteristically bulky vegetables are also a rich source of antioxidants like vitamin C, hydroxycinnamic acids, polyphenols and flavonoids.

Legumes

When thinking about antioxidant rich foods, it’s likely that legumes — beans, lentils and peas — would not cross your mind. However, many of these examples of these staples provide a high amount of polyphenols with strong free radical scavenging abilities.

According to an analysis published in the Journal of Food Science(opens in new tab), yellow pea, green pea, chickpea, soybean, common bean, lentils, and red kidney bean are the lentils with the highest antioxidant abilities. They’re also some of the best vegan sources of protein to include in your diet and high in fiber.

NUTS

Although nuts are very high in calories and dietary fats, they have many health benefits. A review published in Nutrients(opens in new tab) revealed that regular nut consumption can vastly decrease the risk of developing a host of chronic conditions, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, gallstones and certain types of cancer. One of the reasons behind this positive impact is that these food staples contain many different carotenoids, phytosterols (plant steroids) and ellagic acids with strong antioxidant properties.

And according to a comparison published in the Food Science and Technology(opens in new tab) journal, walnuts and pecans tend to show the highest ability to scavenge free radicals.