Consuming fresh fruit is known to help keep weight down and to supply your body with healthful vitamins, minerals and fiber. But your Canberra Spine Centre chiropractor also wants you to know that fruit has an amazing ability to assist your body in preventing and reducing the incidence of chronic diseases including cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
What is the secret of fruit? One of those is that fruit is packed with flavonoids, phytonutrients (plant chemicals) that are purported to have a wide range health-promoting effects. Flavonoids have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Oxidation of chemicals in the foods we ingest can create other harmful chemicals called peroxides and free radicals. When produced in higher amounts than our body can deal with, these chemicals can cause damage to the cell components of our bodies, such as proteins, lipids and DNA. This process is called ‘oxidative stress’. Diets high in flavonoids (and therefore anti-oxidants) may have some effect in the prevention of cancer, neurogenerative and cardiovascular diseases via the reduction of oxidative stress.
Your Canberra Spine Centre chiropractor recommends a wide variety of fruits, but we would like to highlight 10 fruits with particularly strong disease prevention effects:
1. Amazing Apples
The old saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” turns out to be accurate as an apple-rich diet may help defend against lung disease. In one study, researchers studied 2,512 men aged 45 to 59 over a five-year period. Study participants who consumed five or more apples per week had significantly stronger lung function than their counterparts who ate fewer apples (Thorax 2000;55:102-8).
2. Awesome Avocados
An avocado-rich diet may help reduce unhealthy forms of cholesterol!
One study tracked 37 people with mildly elevated cholesterol and 30 subjects with normal cholesterol. Both groups ate a calorie-restricted diet for seven days, but one diet was avocado-rich while the other was avocado-free.
Healthy avocado-eaters had a 16 percent decrease in total cholesterol, while avocado-eaters with mildly elevated cholesterol had a 17 percent decrease in total cholesterol, 22 percent less LDL (bad) cholesterol and 11 percent rise in HDL (good) cholesterol. Without avocados, cholesterol increased in healthy subjects and remained unchanged in patients with high cholesterol (Arch Med Res 1996;27:519-23).
3. Brilliant Berries
Berries possess powerful anti-cancer properties. These juicy fruits have the ability to inhibit the growth of, and stimulate the death of, cancer cells.
One study looked at extracts of six popular berries: blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, black and red raspberries, and strawberries. Researchers judged each berry’s ability to inhibit growth of oral, breast, colon and prostate tumor cells. As the berry extract concentration increased, so did the cancer-fighting properties (J Agric Food Chem 2006;54:9329-39).
Cranberries are also known to help prevent and treat urinary tract infections (Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2004;(2):CD001321).
4. Fabulous Figs
Figs are loaded with dietary fiber and also contain powerful, disease-fighting anti-oxidants.
University of Scranton researchers discovered that “figs produced a significant increase in plasma [blood] antioxidant capacity for four hours after consumption, and overcome the oxidative stress of consuming high fructose corn syrup in a carbonated soft drink.” (J Am Coll Nutr 2005;24:44-50.)
Oxidative stress is unhealthy as it turns healthy cells into diseased ones, a process in cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, mood and learning disorders, chronic fatigue and other inflammatory disorders.
5. Great Grapes
Grapes are another vitamin and nutrient-packed powerhouse with the grape skin containing the most nutrients including a natural compound called resveratrol, which may help protect against cancer.
Research demonstrates resveratrol’s ability to inhibit the growth of a variety of cancer cells. In experiments with mice and humans, resveratrol fought cancer in its three states: initiation, promotion and progression (Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 2007; Epub ahead of print).
6. & 7. Outstanding Oranges & Beneficial Bananas
Everyone knows that oranges contain Vitamin C while bananas have potassium, but did you know they also help prevent childhood leukemia?
A seven-year study of 328 children younger than 2-years old revealed that regular consumption of oranges, orange juice, and bananas was associated with a decrease in the risk of childhood leukemia between the ages of 2 and 14 years.
The study concluded, “fruits or fruit juices that contain vitamin C and/or potassium may reduce the risk of childhood leukemia, especially if they are consumed on a regular basis during the first 2 years of life.” (Am J Epidemiol 2004;160:1098-107.)
8. Potent Pears
The homely pear is loaded with amazing heart-healthy benefits.
When researchers examined the diet 34,489 postmenopausal women, pears were found to be among the top flavonoid-rich foods that reduced the risk of coronary, heart, and vascular disease. The study’s data was based on three national databases and over 15 years of follow-up research (Am J Clin Nutr 2007;85:895-909).
9. Perfect Persimmons
Persimmons also make the top ten, as they contain concentrations of potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, manganese, dietary fiber, and antioxidant compounds in high amounts. These nutrients are all instrumental in preventing atherosclerosis.
Researcher, Shela Gorinstein, Ph.D., concluded that eating one medium-sized persimmon per day helps fight atherosclerosis. “The relatively high contents of dietary fibers, total and major phenolics [disease-fighting chemicals with high acid content], main minerals, and trace elements make persimmon preferable for an anti-atherosclerotic diet.” (J Agric Food Chem 2001;49:952-7.)
10. Powerful Pomegranates
Don’t let pomegranates’ hard outer shell keep you away: The glistening red seeds within hold a treasure trove of health riches.
Pomegranate’s main power lies in its cancer-prevention properties. Research demonstrates that the risk of breast cancer is decreased by pomegranate juice, pulp, and oil. “The findings suggest that clinical trials to further assess chemopreventive and adjuvant therapeutic applications of pomegranate in human breast cancer may be warranted. ” (Breast Cancer Res Treat 2002;71:203-17).
For more expert tips on health and nutrition, consult your Canberra chiropractor at Canberra Spine Centre today!