Monday, August 4, 2008

The Highest Antioxidant Fruit Ever: See Our Healthy Food Shopping Lists

Which fruit is the by far the best when it comes to antioxidants? Hint: It’s smaller than a grape and darker than a blueberry.

It’s the acai (pronounced "ah-sigh-EE") berry, and it may beat every other fruit or vegetable by a mile. Case in point: The freeze-dried berry has 30 times the disease-arresting anthocyanins of red grapes.

Cholesterol, Cancer, and . . .
The berries are so nutritious, writes John La Puma, MD, author of ChefMD’s Big Book of Culinary Medicine, that they may help lower bad cholesterol, inhibit inflammation, and fight off arthritis. They may even have cancer-fighting powers. In a lab study, acai berry extract killed between 45 and 86 percent of a sample of human leukemia cells.

Drink Up
The antioxidant quotient is reason enough to eat this fruit, but acai berries are also chock-full of B vitamins, magnesium, copper, zinc, phosphorus, and sulfur. In South America, acai berries are pureed and served warm as a sauce or soup. Check your local health-food store for acai juice, smoothies, and other products containing this berry nutritious fruit.

Use this list as a starter to help restock your kitchen with good-for-you foods.

Make sure any whole-wheat products you buy are labeled 100% whole wheat.

Brown rice
Steel-cut oatmeal
Whole-grain or oat breakfast cereal (Cheerios, Kashi cereals, Grape Nuts)
Whole-grain pizza dough/crust
Whole-wheat or whole-grain bread
Whole-wheat pasta
Whole-wheat pitas or tortillas

Canned/Jarred Items
Black beans
Sun-dried tomatoes (not in oil)
Tomato sauce (no added sugars)
Tomatoes: whole, crushed, or diced
Unsweetened fruit
Vegetable or chicken stock/broth (low-salt)
White beans

Dried Fruits and Nuts
Nuts should be raw, rather than roasted or salted.

Dried cranberries and apricots
Pistachios, chopped
Walnuts and hazelnuts

Condiments and Spices
Balsamic vinegar
Canola oil, regular and spray-on
Chocolate, dark (not milk) with at least 70% cocoa
Cinnamon and nutmeg
Extra-virgin olive oil
Low-sodium soy sauce
Real maple syrup
Red pepper flakes
Turmeric or curry powder
Wine vinegar

Refrigerated Items
Feta cheese, low-fat
Milk, skim or low-fat soy
Orange or grapefruit juice (100%) with pulp
Part-skim mozzarella cheese
Yogurt with active cultures (probiotic), low-fat
Sour cream, low-fat

Chicken breast halves, skinless and boneless
Chicken thighs, skinless
Deli meat, sliced and skinless (not processed cold cuts)
Salmon fillets, skinless
Whole fish or fillets: trout, tilapia, snapper, or sea bass

Frozen Food
Blueberries and raspberries, frozen and unsweetened
Fruit sorbet
Vanilla frozen yogurt, nonfat or low-fat

Health Foods
Chia seed
Soy protein powder

Fruits and Vegetables
Stock up on plenty of fresh fruits and veggies from each color group, but don’t buy more than you’ll be able to eat in a week. Fruits and vegetables lose their nutrient goodness when they sit around.

Blueberries, blackberries, plums, eggplant

Carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, mangoes, pineapple

Tomatoes, cherries, cranberries, red peppers, red apples

Avocados, broccoli, spinach, kiwifruit, lemons, limes

Garlic, onions, bananas, mushrooms


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