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Disease Fighting Food 5: Whole Grains

Grandma urged us to start the day with a bowl of oatmeal, but did she have any idea that the soluble fiber from oats helps to lower bloodcholesterol levels?

Whole grains include the nutritional components that are typically stripped away from refined grains. They contain folic acid, selenium, and B vitamins, and are important to heart health, weight control, and reducing the risk of diabetes. Their fiber content helps keeps you feeling full between meals as well and promotes digestive health.

Enjoy at least three servings a day of whole-grain goodness: whole wheat; barley; rye; millet; quinoa; brown rice; wild rice; and whole-grain pasta, breads, and cereals. The daily recommendation for fiber is 21-38 grams, depending on your sex and age, according to the American Dietetic Association.

Disease Fighting Food 6: Sweet Potatoes

One of the easiest ways to make a healthful dietary change is to think "sweet" instead of "white" potatoes. These luscious orange tubers are boasting a wealth of antioxidants; phytochemicals including beta-carotene; vitamins C and E; folate; calcium; copper; iron; and potassium. The fiber in sweet potatoes promotes a healthy digestive tract, and the antioxidants play a role in preventing heart disease and cancer.

Its natural sweetness means a roasted sweet potato is delicious without any additional fats or flavor enhancers. Substitute sweet potatoes in recipes calling for white potatoes or apples to boost the nutrients.

Disease Fighting Food 7: Tomatoes

These red-hot fruits of summer are bursting with flavor and lycopene -- an antioxidant that may help protect against some cancers. They also deliver an abundance of vitamins A and C, potassium, and phytochemicals.

Enjoy tomatoes raw, cooked, sliced, chopped, or diced as part of any meal or snack. Stuff a tomato half with spinach and top with grated cheese for a fabulous and colorful side dish.

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