Apr 12, 2006

The Good-For-You Garden

USDA and the Mercury News have determined the everyday foods that are best for your health. Some, like wild salmon, aren't so practical to grow in your garden. But others are so easy and/or beautiful to include in your landscape, there's no reason not to grow your own! A sampling, from the Merc:

"Blueberries. Why? Blueberries provide more anti-oxidants than any other fruit or vegetable. Phytonutrients include anthocyanins, chlorogenic acid, ellagic acid, catechins and resveratrol, substances that fight cancer, heart disease and age-related memory loss. How much? If possible, eat 1/2 cup fresh or frozen or 1/4 cup dried blueberries every day. Eat any type of berry at least three times a week.

"Broccoli. Why? Cruciferous vegetables are loaded with anti-oxidants. Broccoli contains cancer-fighting sulforaphane, indoles and carotenoids plus beta carotene, lutein and zeathanin that promote eye health and ward off macular degeneration. How much? Eat 1/2 cup raw or one cup cooked broccoli every day.

"Spinach. Why? Spinach contains more than a Popeye-sized dose of iron. When it comes to anti-oxidants, it's packed with carotenoids such as beta carotene and lutein for eye health. How much? Eat at least one cup cooked spinach or other dark leafy green vegetable a day.

"Tomatoes. Why? Tomatoes contain lycopene plus a range of phytochemicals that protect against heart attack, cancers and age-related macular degeneration. How much? Eat one serving a day with a bit of healthful fat, such as olive oil. Serving sizes are one medium raw tomato, one cup cherry tomatoes, 1/2 cup sauce, 1/4 cup puree, two tablespoons paste or six ounces juice."

And it's not exactly garden material, but it's a personal favorite I've gotta include:
" Dark chocolate. Why? Dark chocolate has the highest anti-oxidant content of any food. The darker the chocolate, the higher the count. How much? Eat a one-ounce serving daily. Also, try grapes, red wine and green tea, all high in polyphenols, which boost good cholesterol. In addition to dark chocolate candy, try raw cocoa nibs, which have an intense, tannic flavor, like wine."

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