Health & Fitness
TIME 100 Disease-Fighting Foods

TIME 100 Disease-Fighting Foods

TIME 100 Disease-Fighting Foods

Research shows that special compounds in foods have the power to protect our health. Many of these antioxidants can play a role in helping us fight off conditions including heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, for instance. This special edition from TIME highlights 100 research-backed disease fighting foods from A through Z, breaking down how each one might benefit you, and the most healthful and delicious ways to eat them.

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in this issue

5 min.
the secret to fighting disease: food

THE IDEA OF “FOOD AS MEDICINE” MAY SOUND about as scientific as Gwyneth Paltrow’s coffee enemas and jade eggs. But there is compelling (and centuries-old) evidence that what we eat has the power to keep us well. “Food as medicine as a movement is gaining traction among both the general population and the medical community,” says Lisa Zullig, director of nutrition services at the nonprofit God’s Love We Deliver. Scientists know that special compounds in foods have the power to protect our health. These antioxidants play a role in helping us fight off heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, for instance. They may even work with our own bodies (in still-mysterious ways) to keep cancer away, says Amanda Bontempo, a board-certified oncology nutritionist at NYU Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center. “There are…

1 min.

WHY THEY’RE DISEASE FIGHTERS These tasty snacks may help protect against breast cancer. A 2015 study found that women who regularly ate almonds, walnuts or peanuts had a significantly lower risk of breast cancer than women who didn’t. HOW TO ENJOY THEM Almonds make a wonderful and satisfying snack (one serving has 6 grams of filling protein). Nutritionists swear by almond butter on apples or pears. (You can DIY almond butter by grinding almonds in a high-powered blender.) And these nuts go great with green vegetables. Almonds are naturally filling, with 6 grams of protein and 9 grams of fiber per serving.…

1 min.
apple-cider vinegar

WHY IT’S A DISEASE FIGHTER Apple-cider vinegar reduces blood sugar and is a prebiotic, meaning it feeds our good gut bacteria. And it may be an anti-obesity elixir too: one 12-week study found that people who were given apple-cider vinegar daily rather than a placebo had less body fat, a lower BMI and lower triglycerides at the end of the study. HOW TO ENJOY IT Don’t drink a teaspoon straight up, because it can damage your tooth enamel and esophagus, cautions Sass. Instead, sip this brew: whisk a tablespoon of vinegar with some honey in a mug of warm water. Made from fermented apples, apple-cider vinegar packs flavonoids.…

1 min.

WHY THEY’RE DISEASE FIGHTERS These lunch-box favorites are one of Americans’ main source of flavonoids, powerful antioxidants that help protect the heart and brain and fight off the oxidative damage that can contribute to cancer. Not only are Galas, Granny Smiths and the like heart-healthy, but they may also reduce asthma symptoms. Anti-inflammatory apples may even lower women’s risk of lung cancer, according to findings from the long-term Nurses’ Health Study. HOW TO ENJOY THEM In the slow cooker, combine them with some spices and cook them down to an apple butter. Chop them up and add them to green salads, grain bowls and pancake batter. Snack on apple slices spread with almond or peanut butter. Apples are rich in a type of soluble fiber called pectin that may reduce bad-cholesterol levels.…

1 min.

WHY THEY’RE DISEASE FIGHTERS “Artichokes are one of the highest-fiber foods on the planet, so they support gut health and may help prevent or fight obesity,” says Sass. They’re also full of vitamins, minerals and flavonoids such as silymarin, which may protect against skin cancer, according to animal research. HOW TO ENJOY THEM Pull off the rough leaves from the bottom, then trim the end of the stem and scrape a layer off the stem. Cut the top edge clean. Oven roast them and enjoy them dipped into seasoned tahini, Sass recommends. Artichokes may aid your liver’s detoxification process, thanks to their antioxidants cynarin and silymarin.…

1 min.

WHY IT’S A DISEASE FIGHTER What’s remarkable about this peppery green is that it’s an ancient plant that has stayed more or less the same for thousands of years, according to the New York Times. Among its many assets are its cancer-fighting glucosinolates. We break these sulfur-containing compounds down into other beneficial compounds that have been shown to curb an enzyme that lets cancer cells progress. HOW TO ENJOY IT Sure, it’s delicious in salads, but have you tried arugula wilted in warm foods? Toss it in at the very end when cooking soups, pasta and pizza. Dark greens support healthy circulation, and a cup of arugula provides more than 27% of the USDA’s recommended daily amount of vitamin K.…