By he HELP Committee and Havre Public Schools for the Havre Daily News
As we approach the holiday season and all of those wonderful holiday dinners, we need to think about what kind of foods we should be eating to contribute to a healthy diet. The American Chemical Society, a nonprofit organization that provides educational, science policy and career programs in chemistry, have researched these foods and found them to aid in fighting stroke, heart disease, cancer, and other diseases. Here are some of the food highlights:
Cranberries: High in antioxidants - Cranberry lovers can give heartfelt thanks to their favorite fruit. An antioxidant comparison of some of the most common fruits found that the red berry - in its pure form - contained the highest quantity of disease fighting phenols, an antioxidant that is thought to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, stroke and heart disease. The study was conducted by researches at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania and reported in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.
Black Beans: Researchers in Canada have found that beans, particularly black ones, are a rich but overlooked source of antioxidants and may provide health benefits similar to some common fruits, including grapes, apples and cranberries. Of 12 common varieties of dry beans tested for antioxidant activity, black beans came out on top, having more antioxidant activity, gram for gram, than red, brown, yellow and white beans. The research was described in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.
Bread crust and stuffing: Bread crust is a rich source of cancer-fighting antioxidants and may provide a much stronger health benefit than the rest of the bread. This is good news for those who like to complement their holiday meals with bread stuffing, which is rich in crust. The study was reported in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry by a team of German researchers.
Canned Corn: Canned corn may be better for you than fresh corn on the cob, according to a study by Cornell University scientists. The researchers say that the heat processing of corn significantly raises the level of naturally occurring compounds that help fight disease, including cancer and heart disease. The study was reported in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Honey: That honey in your honey-baked ham and turkey does more than offer a sweet taste: It may be good for your heart. In a recent study presented at a recent ACS national meeting, a researcher at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign reported that honey contains antioxidants that help protect against heart disease. Honey also helps prolong the freshness of meat, protects against off flavors, and guards against harmful byproducts of meat oxidation that may increase the risk of heart disease, according to the researcher.
Herbs: Herbs can do more for your holiday meal than simply add flavor. Researchers with the U.S. Department of Agriculture have found that herbs, in addition to making food tastier, are an abundant source of antioxidants and could provide potential cancer-fighting benefits when incorporated into a balanced diet. Of 39 herbs tested, oregano had the highest antioxidant activity. Dill, thyme and rosemary also had significant activity. The study was reported in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Tea: Evidence that tea contributes to better health continues to grow. Research shows that the popular brew, particularly green tea, contains compounds that fight fat, cancer, heart disease, infection and other conditions. Research on this topic was highlighted at a recent ACS national meeting in New York.
As you sit down to your meals this holiday season, have no fear, not everything staring back at you on that table is bad for you. So don't be shy, take another helping of cranberries, they are good for your heart you know.
For more information on healthy, drug-free lifestyles, contact the HELP Committee and Boys & Girls Club of the Hi-Line at 265-6206.