• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Best foods for preventing various ailments

January 9, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
You most likely heard that oats lower cholesterol, carrots are good for eyesight, and prunes or dried plums are great for constipation. That's true, but they're actually not the best. We'll show you the blue ribbon foods that make your body the best it can be.

For lowering cholesterol, it's foods high in unsaturated fat. That means poly- and monounsaturated fat. The best choices: Fatty fish, like salmon, and nuts. They beat out second runners up beans, oats and high fiber foods.

When keeping eyes eagle sharp, studies look at Vitamin C and E, the plant chemical lutein and fish oils to see the affects of preventing macular degeneration. So keep it green with kale, collards, spinach and Swiss chard. Runners up are fatty fish, such as salmon and sardines.

Keeping your colon clean as a whistle and cancer-free means upping low-fat dairy, followed by whole grains, vegetables and fiber-rich fruit, but you also want to avoid fatty and processed meats, such as bacon, hot dogs, sausage and lunch meat.

For staying regular, it's wheat bran that's best. Beans and prunes come in a close second. But surprisingly, cereals or other foods that have isolated fibers, like inulin or maltodextrin, don't seem to help. Real wheat bran appears to be the ingredient that does the work.

Finally, produce is award-winning to lower blood pressure, which wards off your risk of heart attack or stroke.

The best foods to eat to keep your blood pressure in check are great greens and bright orange veggies, bananas, mushrooms, cantaloupe, fish, beans and low-fat dairy. A bonus is if foods are high in potassium, because that mineral acts as a big broom to sweep that sodium right out of your system.

These performance foods appeared in ample studies and were compiled by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

See photos of the best foods to eat to prevent certain ailments.