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Colorful Fruits and Veggies: Not just Pretty Faces

Each fruit and vegetable is colored due to the presence of phyto-chemical, which prevent diseases and contain cancer-fighting substances. Eat at-least 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. The below mentioned plant chemicals in fruits and vegetables reduce heart disease and risk of cancer.

  1. Lycopene – It gives fruits and vegetables deep red color ex – tomatoes. It has powerful antioxidant-properties that fight’s different types of cancer. It reduces risk of heart attack and helps in preventing colon, esophageal, lung, pancreatic, prostrate and stomach cancer.
  2. Beta carotene – Sweet potato; orange and deep yellow fruits and vegetables like carrots, pumpkin, cantaloupe; and dark green vegetables like spinach, kale and other greens are rich sources of beat-carotene.
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    They are powerful antioxidants that fight cancer.
  3. Flavonoids – They are found in fruits, vegetables and grains. Resveratol found in skin of grapes, grape juice and red wine fight cancer of the breast, colon and liver by preventing DNA damage in a cell. It is also cardio-protective.
  4. Ellagic acid – Berries especially blueberries and raspberries and other types of fruits, vegetables and grains contain ellagic acid that reduces damage to DNA. It prevents breast, cervical and pancreatic cancer.
  5. Combination of Antioxidants and Vitamins – Blueberries, raspberries and strawberries contain major antioxidants, carotenoids and Vitamin C. Formation of cancer due to many chemical processes are counteracted by these antioxidants.
  6. Allium Plants – Garlic, onions, leeks and shallots belong to allium family and contain compounds known as allyl sulfides that break down cancer-causing substances and increase the body’s ability to excrete cancer-causing agents. Example, garlic blocks the growth of new cancer cells and reduces risk of colon and stomach cancer.
  7. Cruciferous Vegetables – Broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower resemble crosses and are four-petaled flowers. People who eat these in abundance have reduced risks of cancer of the bladder, breast, colon, cervix, esophagus, larynx, lung and prostate.
  8. Anthocyanins – Cherries, raspberries, strawberries, purple grapes and their juice contain pigments, that provides protection against heart disease.
  9. Carotenoids – Apricots, carrots, mangoes, papayas, sweet potatoes, dark green leafy vegetables, green beans, mustard, turmeric, dark lettuces, spinach and sea weeds contain carotenoids with antioxidant properties. They lower risks of certain types of cancer, heart disease and blindness in elderly.
  10. Isoflavones – Textured vegetable protein, tofu, soymilk and soy protein are good sources and act as weak estrogens. Bone density can be improved by eating 100 milligrams of isoflavones daily.
  11. Indoles – Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower are foods with indoles and they help to fight cancer.
  12. Folic acid – Broccoli, oranges, spinach and dark lettuces contain this B Vitamin that prevents birth defects and reduces risk of heart disease.
Submitted on September 4, 2008
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