Ask a Dietician — Foods that Prevent Illness
Question: Are there some foods that can prevent illnesses?
Foods that offer additional health benefits other than basic nutrition are known as functional foods. These foods contain a naturally present biologically active component that is believed to decrease the risk of developing a chronic disease. Some of these foods have gained popularity in the media because they are widely promoted to prevent conditions such as cancer, osteoporosis and obesity.
Oats – Oat Products contain a soluble fibre called b-glucan. This fibre has been shown to reduce total and low-density (LDL) cholesterol. This effect can reduce one’s risk for coronary heart disease. Tasty Tip – try a steamy bowl of oatmeal for breakfast.
Tomatoes – Tomatoes contain a powerful antioxidant called lycopene that is perceived to reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancers because it is an effective quencher of free radicals. Tasty Tip – add sliced tomatoes to your sandwiches; bring some color to your salad with cherry tomatoes or make some homemade tomato soup.
Tea – Tea, especially green tea, contains a high concentration of polyphenols and flaveniods. These compounds are respectively suspected to have anticancer properties and reduce risks for developing cardiovascular disease. Tasty tip – Caffeine-free green tea with a little bit of honey can be a refreshing way to end a nice meal with family or friends.
Citrus Fruits – In addition to the essential nutrients of vitamin C, folate and fibre, citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes contain a class of phytochemincal called limonoids. Limonoids are currently being studied to explore their role in fighting and preventing cancer. Tasty tip – On a warm day, juice your own citrus fruits to make a fresh squeezed class of citrus or try some grapefruit and oranges in a refreshing fruit salad.
The above question was answered by Laurel Leconte, a nutrition intern.
The “Ask a Dietician” column is an initiative of the Miramichi Regional Health Authority MANGO Program that promotes healthy eating and active living. The Miramichi people and its surrounding communities are invited to ask their nutrition and physical activity related questions to a MANGO dietician by e-mail at email@example.com, or calling (506) 623-3555 and leaving a message.