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Super foods that provide better nutrients

July 22, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
You probably grab an orange when you want vitamin C, but there are a host of other foods that have better nutrients and give you more bang for the vitamin C buck.Here's a look at some superstar alternatives, and how they can help you to eat well.

Often called super foods, there's a host of items we all should be eating due to nutrients that translate into disease prevention. We know to include them in our day, yet there are some not so distant relatives that might do even more to keep you feeling good.

Broccoli has natural compounds that may protect against various cancers, but as research suggests, so does mushrooms.

The white button type is associated with reducing inflammation, and Cremini and Portobello mushrooms are packed with antioxidants that give your body a protective boost.

Blueberries top the antioxidant chart, but raspberries not only offer a dose of bone building vitamin K, they also offer a plant chemical that fights cancer. One cup also serves up 8 grams of fiber, a filling bonus.

Getting nutty has long been recommended for heart health, with almonds leading the pack due to their cholesterol lowering effects and calcium content. But don't discount walnuts, a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids that help fight heart disease as effectively as the type of omega-3 found in salmon.

Keep in mind, the omega-3 fats from salmon are the best source of omega-3s, and are far better when it comes to mood and brain health as well. But if fish is not a taste preference, walnuts can help out.

We know black beans are rich in iron and fiber, but red beans have three times the antioxidants, along with iron and folate, a nutrient women of childbearing age should be getting plenty of.

While tomatoes are associated with prevention of prostate cancer due to lycopene, a plant chemical, a cup of watermelon contains twice the lycopene of a fresh tomato.

Most people enjoy chocolate, but pumpkin seeds have similar nutrients like magnesium and tryptophan, which are natural relaxants and mood lifters. An ounce of pumpkin seeds provides half a day's magnesium requirement.

Finally, if it's vitamin C you are looking for, grab a kiwi, which not only has more vitamin C than an orange, but this gifted fruit contains 20 percent more potassium than a banana and some vitamin E, something rarely found in produce.

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