With the start of a new year, many of us resolve to better our habits by trying to incorporate more nutritious foods into our diets. An article in the January issue of Food Technology magazine lists 14 foods that deliver research-documented benefits to health.
1. Barley: 11 clinical trials spanning almost 20 years found that increased consumption of barley products can lower total and LDL cholesterol.
2. Quinoa and buckwheat: Research suggest that seeds and sprouts from both quinoa and buckwheat represent rich sources of polyphenol compounds for enhancing the nutrition value of foods such as gluten-free breads.
3. Brown rice: Substitution of brown rice for white rice may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.
4. Rye: Rye is suggested to improve glycemic profiles and rye bread can be used to decrease hunger both before and after lunch when consumed at breakfast.
5. Almonds: A 2007 study showed that 300 calories of almonds (sufficient to produce beneficial effects on cardiovascular risk factors) per day may be included in the diet with limited risk of weight gain. The study found that the fiber in the almonds blocked some of the fat calories from being absorbed.
6. Hazelnuts: Research shows that it is best to consume hazelnuts whole because many of its antioxidants are located in the hazelnut skin.
7. Pecans: A recent 2010 study suggested that the vitamin E in pecans may provide neurological protection by delaying progression of motor neuron degeneration.
8. Pistachios: Pistachios are suggested to have anti-inflammatory properties according to a recent study.
9. Walnuts: A walnut-enriched diet may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in those with type 2 diabetes.
Fruits and Vegetables
10. Black raspberries: A 2010 study found black raspberries were highly effective in preventing intestinal tumor development in mice.
11. Blueberries: Whole blueberry smoothies consumed daily improved insulin sensitivity in obese, non-diabetic, and insulin resistant patients in a six-week study.
12. Broccoli and cauliflower: A high intake of broccoli and cauliflower may be associated with reduced risk of aggressive prostate cancer.
13. Pomegranates: A preliminary study suggested that pomegranate juice can help prevent a number of complications in kidney disease patients on dialysis.
14. Tomatoes: A six-week study found that people with high-blood pressure who consumed two servings of canned tomato products daily experienced a significant decrease in blood pressure.
Institute of Food Technologists