21 Foods that Fight Disease

Ward off disease and ailments with these nutrient packed foods.

| July/August 2017

Double up on these 21 amazing foods packed with the types of nutrients that may help ward off some of the world’s most common and harmful chronic diseases

Since ancient times, humans have understood the connection between eating well and being healthy. Today, overwhelming evidence supports our innate understanding that when it comes to longevity, eating a healthy diet that includes plenty of nutrient-packed plant foods and minimizes processed foods high in trans fats, added sugars and sodium is what counts. Of course, when it comes to health, there are no silver bullets. No single food will prevent chronic disease. Yet, study after study confirms the healthful properties of foods found in nature. Getting more of our calories from these foods can help us live longer lives, feel better and look better, too. When it comes to living healthfully and eating to reduce risk of chronic illness, the following foods deserve a regular spot on your menu.

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women, and one in eight U.S. women will be diagnosed in her lifetime. The good news is that breast cancer incidence rates among women older than 50 have been on a slow decline, possibly related to the decline in prescriptive hormone replacement therapy after menopause, which can increase breast cancer risk. What’s more, death rates from breast cancer have been on the decline since the 1990s, likely due to a combination of better screening, early detection and improved treatment options. Although genetics play a role in our risk of breast cancer, lifestyle factors may also increase risk. These include a lack of physical activity; being overweight or obese; alcohol consumption; and eating a poor diet lacking in fruits and vegetables. When it comes to the last one, consider the foods that follow among your best dietary allies to help reduce your risk.

Blackberries: Increasing fiber intake is a smart strategy to help guard against breast cancer, and blackberries serve up 8 grams a cup. A large 2016 study revealed that women who consumed the most fiber (versus the least) as teens and young adults had significantly lower future risk of developing breast cancer. Plant fiber was especially beneficial.

A high-fiber diet helps lower circulating levels of estrogen; extended exposure to estrogen is thought to increase breast cancer risk. Fiber also helps control blood sugar, insulin and insulin-like growth factors, which may be implicated in breast cancer.

Also Eat: Raspberries, kiwifruit, green peas, beans and lentils, sweet potato, bran cereals, whole grains.

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