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How Is Anemia Treated? Tags: anemia treated foods word life production new quality entertainment featured blog health mental wellness

Treatment for anemia depends on the type, cause, and severity of the condition. Treatments may include dietary changes or supplements, medicines, or procedures.

Goals of Treatment

The goal of treatment is to increase the amount of oxygen that your blood can carry. This is done by raising the red blood cell count and/or hemoglobin level. (Hemoglobin is the iron-rich protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to the body.)

Another goal is to treat the underlying condition or cause of the anemia.

Dietary Changes and Supplements

Low levels of vitamins or iron in the body can cause some types of anemia. These low levels may be due to poor diet or certain diseases or conditions.

To raise your vitamin or iron level, your doctor may ask you to change your diet or take vitamin or iron supplements. Common vitamin supplements are vitamin B12 and folic acid (folate). Vitamin C sometimes is given to help the body absorb iron.

Iron

Your body needs iron to make hemoglobin. Your body can more easily absorb iron from meats than from vegetables or other foods. To treat your anemia, your doctor may suggest eating more meat—especially red meat (such as beef or liver), as well as chicken, turkey, pork, fish, and shellfish.

Nonmeat foods that are good sources of iron include:

  • Spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables
  • Tofu 
  • Peas; lentils; white, red, and baked beans; soybeans; and chickpeas
  • Dried fruits, such as prunes, raisins, and apricots
  • Prune juice
  • Iron-fortified cereals and breads

You can look at the Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods to find out how much iron the items contain. The amount is given as a percentage of the total amount of iron you need every day.

Iron also is available as a supplement. It's usually combined with multivitamins and other minerals that help your body absorb iron.

Doctors may recommend iron supplements for premature infants and infants who are fed breast milk only or formula that isn't fortified with iron.

Large amounts of iron can be harmful, so take iron supplements only as your doctor prescribes.

Vitamin B12

Low levels of vitamin B12 can lead to pernicious anemia. This type of anemia often is treated with vitamin B12 supplements.

Good food sources of vitamin B12 include:

  • Breakfast cereals with added vitamin B12
  • Meats such as beef, liver, poultry, and fish
  • Eggs and dairy products (such as milk, yogurt, and cheese)
  • Foods fortified with vitamin B12, such as soy-based beverages and vegetarian burgers

Folic Acid

Folic acid (folate) is a form of vitamin B that's found in foods. Your body needs folic acid to make and maintain new cells. Folic acid also is very important for pregnant women. It helps them avoid anemia and promotes healthy growth of the fetus.

Good sources of folic acid include:

  • Bread, pasta, and rice with added folic acid
  • Spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables
  • Black-eyed peas and dried beans
  • Beef liver
  • Eggs
  • Bananas, oranges, orange juice, and some other fruits and juices

Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron. Good sources of vitamin C are vegetables and fruits, especially citrus fruits. Citrus fruits include oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, and similar fruits. Fresh and frozen fruits, vegetables, and juices usually have more vitamin C than canned ones.

If you're taking medicines, ask your doctor or pharmacist whether you can eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice. This fruit can affect the strength of a few medicines and how well they work.

Other fruits rich in vitamin C include kiwi fruit, strawberries, and cantaloupes.

Vegetables rich in vitamin C include broccoli, peppers, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, cabbage, potatoes, and leafy green vegetables like turnip greens and spinach.

Medicines

Your doctor may prescribe medicines to increase the number of red blood cells your body makes or to treat an underlying cause of anemia. Some of these medicines include:

  • Antibiotics to treat infections.
  • Hormones to treat heavy menstrual bleeding in teenaged and adult women.
  • A man-made version of erythropoietin to stimulate your body to make more red blood cells. This hormone has some risks. You and your doctor will decide whether the benefits of this treatment outweigh the risks.
  • Medicines to prevent the body's immune system from destroying its own red blood cells.
  • Chelation (ke-LAY-shun) therapy for lead poisoning. Chelation therapy is used mainly in children. This is because children who have iron-deficiency anemia are at increased risk of lead poisoning.

Procedures

If your anemia is severe, you may need a medical procedure to treat it. Procedures include blood transfusions and blood and marrow stem cell transplants.

Blood Transfusion

A blood transfusion is a safe, common procedure in which blood is given to you through an intravenous (IV) line in one of your blood vessels. Transfusions require careful matching of donated blood with the recipient's blood.

For more information, go to the Diseases and Conditions Index Blood Transfusion article.

Blood and Marrow Stem Cell Transplant

A blood and marrow stem cell transplant replaces your faulty stem cells with healthy ones from another person (a donor). Stem cells are found in the bone marrow. They develop into red and white blood cells and platelets.

During the transplant, which is like a blood transfusion, you get donated stem cells through a tube placed in a vein in your chest. Once the stem cells are in your body, they travel to your bone marrow and begin making new blood cells.

For more information, go to the Diseases and Conditions Index Blood and Marrow Stem Cell Transplant article.

Surgery

If you have serious or life-threatening bleeding that's causing anemia, you may need surgery. For example, you may need surgery to control ongoing bleeding due to a stomach ulcer or colon cancer.

If your body is destroying red blood cells at a high rate, you may need to have your spleen removed. The spleen is an organ that removes wornout red blood cells from the body. An enlarged or diseased spleen may remove more red blood cells than normal, causing anemia.

How Can Anemia Be Prevented?

You may be able to prevent repeat episodes of some types of anemia, especially those caused by lack of iron or vitamins. Dietary changes or supplements can prevent these types of anemia from occurring again.

Treating anemia's underlying cause may prevent the condition (or prevent repeat episodes). For example, if medicine is causing your anemia, your doctor may prescribe another type of medicine.

To prevent your anemia from getting worse, tell your doctor about all of your signs and symptoms. Talk with your doctor about the tests you may need and follow your treatment plan.

You can't prevent some types of inherited anemia, such as sickle cell anemia. If you have an inherited anemia, talk with your doctor about treatment and ongoing care.


Source: National Heart, Lung, & Blood Institute

Foods to eat while dieting Tags: foods diet health mental wellness word life production new quality entertainment featured blog

Dieting can be downright difficult, especially if your diet includes foods you don't particularly enjoy. After all, how much cabbage soup can a person stand? The good news is that there are thousands of diet foods that are healthy, taste great, and can help you stick to your weight loss plan. Visit any grocery store to witness the explosion of lower-calorie, lower-fat, or portion-controlled options.

Here are just a few of the best foods for dieters:

1. Calorie-Controlled Snacks. Plenty of consumers are buying the 100-calorie (more or less) snack packs of everything from chips to cupcakes, but are they really the answer for weight loss?

Carolyn O'Neil, RD, author of The Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous, likes calorie-controlled packages because they eliminate the chance for mindless overeating. "Foods packaged in 100-calorie packs do the work and calorie math for you so you can enjoy snacking on foods that need to be enjoyed in limited amounts," she says.

Quaker Mini Delights (90 calories) and Hostess 100-calorie cupcakes are among the more addictive options.

But Lona Sandon, MEd, RD, says that though these snacks can satisfy a sweet tooth, "many of them won't fill you up for very long, and can't replace a more nutritious snack."

Sandon suggests checking the ingredient list and nutrition facts on the package. "Look for products that offer some nutritious benefits, such as ones that contain less than 3 grams fat, less than 140 milligrams sodium, 15 grams or less sugar, and are made from whole grain with about 2 to 3 grams fiber and about 7 grams protein," says Sandon, assistant professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

2. Healthier Fast Food. Fast food restaurants don't have to spell disaster for dieters. Try Quiznos' Flatbread Sammies without cheese or dressing (all less than 250 calories,except the Italiano) or a small Honey Bourbon Chicken sub (275 calories); Taco Bell's Fresco-style items (less than 180 calories); McDonald's Southwest salad with grilled chicken (290 calories without dressing); or any of Subway's subs with 6 grams of fat or less (230-380 calories).

3. Low-Fat and Fat-Free Dairy Products. Milk, yogurt (solid, frozen, and drinkable), cheese, sour cream, and cream cheese are available in lower-fat varieties that offer both healthy nutrients and great taste. Laughing Cow light cheese has only 35 calories per individually wrapped wedge, and Yoplait Fiber One nonfat yogurt combines yogurt crunchy cereal for a fiber boost and only 50-80 calories per 4 oz. cup.

Fat-free half-and-half is a suitable substitute for heavy cream with a fraction of the calories. And lower-fat and fat-free cream cheese and sour cream can easily pitch-hit for their fattier counterparts, particularly in recipes.

"You can trim calories effortlessly if you use low-fat and lighter products and if the product is mixed in with other ingredients, no one will ever notice," says Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, and the "Recipe Doctor" for WebMD and a WebMD blogger.

Source: Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD
WebMD Expert Column

 

Foods that eliminate heartburn Tags: food eliminate heartburn word life production health mental wellness weekly blog

Heartburn is a common condition that affects more than 70 million Americans annually. It typically begins with a burning sensation that starts in the upper abdomen and moves up into the chest, often making its way to the back of the throat, and sometimes up into the jaw, arms and back. It usually feels worse when lying down or bending forward.

Heartburn gets its name from chest pains caused by stomach acid that washes up into the esophagus. This chest pain can be confused with angina, but the heart has nothing to do with it.

Description

Distress from heartburn is common after a meal of fat-laden or acidic foods, after taking aspirin, drinking alcohol, smoking, or eating chocolate. Obesity, pregnancy, emotional turmoil, and tension can also trigger heartburn. In general, there is no cause for concern with frequent heartburn.

The ads for antacid pills like Tums, Gelusil and Maalox call heartburn "acid indigestion," but actually the problem is more complicated than that. In the vast majority of cases, heartburn is a symptom of Gastroesophageal Reflux (GERD), in that stomach fluids containing acid and digestive enzymes back up past the valvelike sphincter that separates the stomach from the esophagus, causing pain.

Heartburn can also be triggered by lying down, prescription medications, diabetes, hiatal hernias, and some autoimmune disorders.

Treatment

Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs that neutralize stomach acid are, for most people, the first line of defense against heartburn. Antacids come in tablet, liquid, or foam, and in regular and extra-strength formulations.

The active agents in antacid compounds usually consist of one or more of the following ingredients: magnesium, aluminum hydroxide, sodium bicarbonate, or the centuries-old standby, calcium carbonate.

Antacids should bring relief almost instantaneously. These active compounds buffer the accumulated acid in the stomach. This helps reduce or eliminate the burn that is felt in the esophagus. Antacids do not reduce any further acid buildup or eradicate feelings of fullness in the stomach.

A recommended dose one to three hours after eating should provide varying degrees of relief. If a single dose does not work, the problem may be more severe, and consulting a doctor should be considered.

What actually determines the overall effectiveness of an antacid depends on what and how much was ingested, and the overall state of the gastrointestinal tract.

In addition, those who have high blood pressure or who are on a sodium-restricted diet should not take antacids containing sodium bicarbonate because of its high sodium content. Also, those bothered by kidney stones should not take calcium carbonate antacids because the calcium can accelerate the problem. Calcium carbonate antacids will initially quell acid buildup, but because they contain calcium, this antacid will soon cause an increase in stomach acid.

Contrary to popular belief, milk is not a recommended antidote to heartburn. A glass of milk does provide immediate relief as it goes down, but milk contains calcium and protein, and these eventually stimulate even more acid production in the stomach. This can cause a more severe heartburn that can return in as little as a half an hour.

In some cases, antacids and certain drugs do not mix. Tetracycline, indomethacin, and buffered and non-buffered aspirin, iron supplements, digoxin, quinidine, Valium, and corticosteroids can adversely mix with acids in the stomach, causing problems that are more serious than heartburn. Always check with your pharmacist if you take a medication regularly and are considering using antacids.

Questions

What is causing the discomfort?

Is it caused by hiatal hernia?

Is it related to any other medical problems?

How can this be treated?

Would antacids help?

Are any specific antacids contraindicated?

Should I have an endoscopy (a camera placed through the mouth to look at the esophagus and stomach)?

Am I at risk of complications if I have reflux disease or heartburn? Do these complications change if I do or do not treat my symptom(s)?

Self-Care

Relief from heartburn has been provided for more than a century by antacids that include such familiar brand names as Tums, Rolaids, Maalox, and Mylanta. These antacids, which bring relief in minutes, work by neutralizing the stomach acid that causes heartburn. But because the stomach continues to produce acid, they remain effective only for a few hours.

Beginning in the late 1970s, pharmaceutical companies started offering drugs such as ranitidine (Zantac), cimetidine (Tagamet), famotidine (Pepcid) and Axid, available only by prescription for those with serious heartburn or ulcers. Now these are available over the counter.

What separates the new OTC preparations from antacids is that antacids only neutralize the acid that migrates upward from the stomach. Acid blockers, like Tagamet and Pepcid, on the other hand, go to the root of the problem by suppressing the production of acid in cells lining the interior of the stomach without interfering with normal digestion.

These cells normally produce acid when a form of histamine called H2 "docks" with receptors in the cell walls, much like a key fitting within a lock. But acid blockers, called H2 antagonists, prevent that production by seeking out and fitting snugly into the stomach cell receptors, denying access to H2. Depending on the size of the drug dosage, acid production can be curtailed for as long as 1 to 2 hours.

As for side effects, several studies have shown that both antacids and blockers may mask the symptoms of bleeding ulcers among people with rheumatoid arthritis. These patients often take the pills thinking that they will relieve bleeding that can occur with high doses of rheumatoid arthritis drugs like ibuprofen. While neither H2 antagonists nor antacids cause bleeding they may keep those with ulcers from recognizing the need to seek help.

H2 blockers still have fewer side effects than antacids. Meanwhile, calcium-based antacids like Tums and Rolaids can occasionally contribute to kidney stones. The aluminum- and magnesium-based ones like Mylanta and Maalox can sometimes be dangerous for people with kidney problems. On the whole, the risk-benefit profile for H2 blockers is excellent, and they represent an advance over what was previously available.

For more frequent or severe symptoms, proton-pump inhibitors such as Prilosec, Prevacid, Aciphex, Protonix, Zegerid, or Nexium may be presribed by your physician. These PPIs are more powerful in blocking acid production than the H2 blockers. They are usually taken in the morning, prior to breakfast. Prilosec has recently become available over the counter for frequent heartburn and is also available as a generic form.

Prevention

Some simple precautions to take in order to avoid heartburn are:

If certain foods or drinks regularly bring on discomfort, avoid them

Do not smoke; avoid caffeine and alcohol

Cut back or eliminate chocolate and chocolate-based desserts

Try to lose weight

Eat slowly; avoid foods or drinks that are excessively hot or cold

Do not eat a major meal less than four hours before bedtime

Find ways to reduce stress

Sufferers of night-time heartburn can sometimes be helped by placing 6-inch blocks under the head of the bed. This often helps better than trying to use extra pillows which can shift during the night.

Source: Health Central

Rich and Healthy Foods for a Traditional Soul Food Dinner Tags: healthy food soul traditional southern dinner health mental wellness word life production feature blog

Let your mind wander to your favorite soul foods. Chicken and waffles. Barbecued ribs. Macaroni and cheese. Catfish, chicken livers, sweet potato pie.

Soul food is an ethnic cuisine that's part of our American Southern food tradition, brought to the United States through the slave trade and passed down through generations of African-American families. Its heart is in the food traditions of Africa, the Caribbean and South America.

The term "soul food" may not have originated until the civil rights movement of the1960s, but some foods on soul food menus have roots that go back hundreds of years -- or at least their inspiration does. You'll find a traditional soul food menu offers everything from oxtail soup, chitterlings (also called chitlins) and boiled pigs feet to collard greens and ham hocks, black-eyed peas, corn bread and cracklin' bread. Swallow it down with some sweet tea and finish it off with a slice of chess pie.

While this style of food varies from region to region, with shrimp and seafood making appearances in recipes in coastal areas, the common thread in soul food is that these dishes were created with what was around and available, usually offal and other leftover and unwanted animal parts (for example, chitterlings are a pig's small intestine that's been cleaned, soaked and boiled or fried) and weeds (for example, beet greens). Soul foods are often fried or slow cooked, prepared those ways to help tenderize otherwise difficult-to-work-with ingredients. Sauces, sides and main dishes are often flush with salt and sugar as a way to boost flavors.

Soul food traditions and recipes have been passed along in African-American families in the U.S. since the time of slavery, through stories, experience and sometimes recipe cards, but cooking family recipes and eating soul food doesn't have to mean sacrificing your health. What does health have to do with it? A lot -- every time you enjoy a deep-fried turkey wing you're increasing your odds of developing some serious and chronic health problems. Let's figure out what those health risks are, next, and then how to enjoy a rich but healthy soul food meal instead.

The foods we associate with traditional soul food spreads are also usually associated with heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and other chronic diseases. Many dishes are cooked with lard or other saturated fats, but despite this, soul food doesn't have to be unhealthy food.

Today, soul food is comfort food to many Americans -- it's the food we grew up with in our homes. And much like other types of comfort foods, many of our favorites are not the best for health. Unfortunately, African-Americans are more likely to be unhealthy and suffer premature death than Caucasian Americans.

African-Americans are also more likely to develop diabetes -- a chronic disease that raises your risk of nerve damage, kidney disease, heart disease and stroke as well as your risk of losing your eyesight or losing a limb. Almost 15 percent (3.7 million) of African-Americans have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, a higher incidence than for whites or Hispanics living in the U.S. [source: CDC, American Diabetes Association]. The African- American community also has higher rates of hypertension and obesity.

One way to approach a soul food supper more healthfully while still serving traditional soul foods is with the Oldways African Heritage Diet. The African Heritage Diet is a way of eating based on those comforting soul foods we all love, but with a focus on the healthier side of soul food eating. The African Heritage Diet Pyramid is put together by not only health and nutrition experts but also by culinary historians -- culinary tradition is important here, tradition that comes from not only the American Deep South but from Africa, South America and the Caribbean as well -- traditions from times before the African diaspora and the slave trade that began in the 15th century.

The African Heritage Diet food pyramid includes what you might expect in a food pyramid: meats, beans, vegetables and fruits. But the bottom layer of this food pyramid is reserved for greens -- dark, leafy greens including beet, chard, collard, dandelion and mustard greens. Kale, spinach and watercress are all also commonly found in the African Heritage Diet. Greens are eaten with every meal. Above greens on the pyramid you'll find vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, beans, peas, tubers and whole grains -- the foods that dishes in the heritage diet are built around. This level includes whole foods and grains such as eggplant, papaya, peanuts, yams, millet, sorghum and teff -- a cereal grass native to Ethiopia. Fresh herbs, spices, hot sauces and marinades, fish and seafood, healthy oils, eggs, other meats and dairy get more limited as the pyramid tip narrows, with sweets at the top as an occasional treat. This isn't a plant-based diet, but the emphasis is on healthy preparations of animal products.

What you won't find in the African Heritage Diet is fried chicken. This diet is about healthy eating, which includes baking chicken, but does not include those unhealthy frying fats. You'll eat shrimp gumbo and okra with peanuts, though, as well as collard greens and one-pot meals from your slow cooker.

If you just want to clean up a few of your own recipes, we have a few places to begin. Many of the ingredients common to soul food dishes are not unhealthy foods. For example, peanuts are a good source of B vitamins and protein. Teff, millet and brown rice are all good-for-you whole grains. But it's what we do to these foods before we eat them that doesn't do us any good.

Let's talk about fats. Instead of cooking foods in lard and other shortening or saturated fats (including butter) lighten them up by substituting a healthier type of fat such as canola, olive or sesame oil. Collards and kale are packed full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants but become unhealthy when cooked in fatback -- use chicken or vegetable stock instead, and substitute smoked turkey to give your greens a smoky note. Have a heavy hand with herbs but only a pinch when it comes to salt. This soul food is about keeping the comfort of a Sunday supper as well as your health.

Source: Discovery Fit & Health

Eat Colorful Foods for Better Health Tags: healthy colorful foods exos better health word life production mental wellness blog

Eat a rainbow of colors often,” Core Performance founder Mark Verstegen is fond of saying—and with good reason. Eating a variety of colorful food provides vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to nourish your body that can’t be replicated in a supplement.

Different colored foods play different roles in the body. Aim for at least three colors at every meal and two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables over the course of the day.

“Every meal should include colorful fruits and vegetables because of their fiber and nutrient densities,” says Verstegen. “Proteins and carbs will most likely be brown, beige, or white. Add veggies like red and green peppers, carrots, and green beans to get your color quotient up.”

Colorful Foods by the Numbers

500

Eating three colors each night at dinner will add up to over 500 servings of vegetables over 6 months.

Red Foods

Packed with phytochemicals like lycopene and anthocyanins, red foods help increase heart and circulatory health, improve memory, support urinary tract health, and decrease the risk of certain types of cancers. Try these red foods:

Cherries – This delicious fruit is high in antioxidants that have been shown to protect against heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. A rich source of antioxidants, tart cherries also help reduce inflammation in the body and relieve pain from gout and arthritis.

Cranberries – High in antioxidants and proanthocyanidins, cranberries have been shown to prevent bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract wall and reduce inflammation in the body.

Red bell peppers – Bell peppers are low in calories and fat and high in vitamin C and fiber. Eating bell peppers has been linked to increased immunity, improved digestion, lower cholesterol, and a decreased risk of colon cancer.

Tomatoes – High in the antioxidant lycopene, tomatoes have been shown to help reduce damage to our cells and decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Beets – This low calorie veggie is high in fiber, folate, and vitamins A, C, and K. Beets have been shown to optimize digestive health, decrease inflammation, and help fight heart disease.

Other Red Foods

Other delicious red foods include strawberries, raspberries, watermelon, pink grapefruit, pomegranate, red kidney beans, red apples, red grapes, red pears, radishes, radicchio, red onions, red potatoes, and rhubarb.

Orange Foods

Orange foods are high in antioxidants such as vitamin C, carotenoids, and bioflavonoids. Eating orange foods has been linked to skin and eye health, increased immunity, decreased risk of cancer, and a healthy heart. A few of our favorite orange foods include:

Carrots – Carrots are high in vitamin A, which helps maintain the integrity of the skin, and beta carotene, which has been associated with boosting the immune system and potentially reducing the chances of skin cancer.

Oranges – This fruit is high in vitamin A and C, which has been linked to increased immunity, heart health, and healthier skin. Also high in magnesium and fiber, oranges can help strengthen bones and improve digestion.

Sweet potatoes – Often touted as one of the healthiest veggies we can eat, sweet potatoes are high in fiber, vitamins A and C, iron, and antioxidants. Eating sweet potatoes has been shown to promote healthy skin, increased immunity, and a decreased risk of cancer.

Peaches – High in vitamin A, C, E, K, and fiber, peaches have been shown to help prevent cellular damage, promote healthier digestion, reduce inflammation in the body, and help reduce your risk of cancer.

Other Orange Foods

A few other orange foods to try include apricots, cantaloupe, Cape gooseberries, golden kiwifruit, mangoes, nectarines, papayas, persimmons, tangerines, butternut squash, and rutabagas.

Yellow Foods

Pineapple, yellow peppers, corn, star fruit, and other yellow foods contain nutrients that promote good digestion and optimal brain function. High in alpha- and beta-carotenes, yellow foods have also been linked to increased immunity, a decreased risk of some cancers, and healthy eyes and skin. Grab these yellow foods on your next shopping trip:

Pineapple – Cholesterol and fat-free, pineapple is high in bromelain, an enzyme that helps regulate and neutralize body fluids and aids in digestion. Its high vitamin C content has also been linked to decrease in heart disease, cancer, cataracts, and stroke.

Yellow peppers – High in vitamin C and A, yellow peppers have been linked to increased immune system and healthy skin. Yellow peppers are also high in carotenoids, which help protect from heart disease.

Star fruit – Caramobla, or more commonly known as start fruit, is high in high in vitamin C and calcium. This fruit has been linked to increased immunity, bone health, and muscle contractions.

Other Yellow Foods

Try some of the other delicious yellow foods like yellow apples, yellow figs, grapefruit, golden kiwifruit, lemon, yellow pears, yellow watermelon, yellow beets, yellow tomatoes, and yellow winter squash.

Green Foods

Green fruits and vegetables contain varying amounts of potent phytochemicals such as lutein and indoles. Benefits include a lower risk of some cancers, improved eye health, rejuvenated musculature and bone, and strong teeth. Stock up on these healthy green foods:

Broccoli – High in calcium and iron, this veggie has been linked to stronger teeth, bones, and muscles, and a decreased risk of cancer.

Spinach – This leafy green is high in antioxidants and vitamin K, which helps strength bones.

Kiwi – Kiwi is high in folate, vitamin E, and glutathione, which all help decrease the risk of heart disease and promote optimal overall health.

Other Green Foods

Other healthy green foods include avocados, green apples, green grapes, honeydew, limes, pears, artichokes, arugula, asparagus, broccoflower, broccoli rabe, Brussels sprouts, Chinese cabbage, green beans, green cabbage, celery, chayote squash, cucumbers, endives, leafy greens, leeks, lettuce, green onions, green peppers, peas, snow peas, sugar snap peas, watercress, and zucchini.

Blue/Purple Foods

These colorful foods get their bright hue from anthocyanins, which have been linked with antioxidants and anti-aging properties in the body. Blue and purple foods help promote bone health, and have been shown to lower the risk of some cancers, improve memory, and increase urinary-tract health. The main benefit of blue and purple foods is increased circulation and microcirculation. A few of our favorite blue/purple foods are:

Blueberries – Blueberries are high in fiber (2.4 g per 2/3 cup), vitamin E and C, and antioxidants. Eating blueberries has been linked to improved cholesterol, increased urinary-tract health, and a boost in brain activity.

Blackberries – These nutrient-packed berries are high in fiber, vitamin K (promotes calcium absorption and bone health), and high in antioxidants that improve overall health. Research has also linked blackberries to increased immunity, improved heart health, lower cholesterol, and decreased cancer risk.

Plums – Plums are high in vitamin B, which helps metabolize carbohydrates, proteins, and fat. High in vitamin K, plums also help promote bone health.

Eggplant – In addition to being high in fiber (8 percent of your daily needs), eggplant is also high in vitamin C, calcium, and phosphorus which promote strong bones and teeth.

Other Blue/Purple Foods

Other blue and purple foods to try are black currants, dried plums, elderberries, purple figs, purple grapes, raisins, purple asparagus, purple cabbage, purple carrots, black salsify, purple-fleshed potatoes, and purple Belgin endive.

White Foods

While many white foods are refined, like white bread and white rice, there are a lot of white foods that are packed with nutrients. White fruits and veggies have been linked to lower cholesterol, decreased blood pressure, and a lower risk of heart disease. The key benefit of white foods is increased immunity. Eating white foods helps enhance the immune system, the lymph systems, and aids in cellular recovery. Here are a few of our go-to white foods and their specific benefits:

Garlic – In the same family as chives and onions, this powerful, potent food has been linked to heart health and decreased cancer risk. Garlic also has anti-microbial compounds.

Onions – In addition to having powerful sulfur-bearing compounds that work as anti-microbial agents (similar to garlic), onions have also been shown to help lower blood sugar levels and improve heart health by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. Onions are also high in the flavonoid quercetin, which has been linked to cell protection and slower tumor growth.

Cauliflower – High in powerful antioxidants such as manganese and vitamin C. One cup of cauliflower has 52 mg of vitamin C, compared to 64 mg in a medium orange. This healthy food has also been linked to increased immunity.

Other White Foods

A few other healthy white foods include ginger, turnips, and jicama, white corn, turnips, shallots, white potatoes, parsnips, mushrooms, kohlrabi, Jerusalem artichoke, white peaches, and white nectarines.

Source: Exos/The Nutrition Team

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