A number of foods have been found to contribute significantly to health and longevity. At the Alcove Café we try to incorporate as many of these “super foods” into our dishes as we can.
This page lists some of the foods cited by experts as providing these health benefits.
Artichokes – Provide silymarin, which helps the liver to eliminate toxins.
Bananas – Rich in magnesium (helps protect circulatory system), potassium, and slowly-absorbed sugars. Good source of pectin (a soluble fiber). Prevents radical swings in blood sugar.
Beans – Dried, fresh, or frozen beans (too much sodium in canned) are high in protein and complex carbohydrates. They contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, and phytochem-icals and protease inhibitors that may help prevent cancer.
Acai, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries are among the best fruits. They’re an excellent source of vitamins and fiber, as well as antioxidants, including anthocyanin, which has triple the stress-fighting power of vitamin C and is known to block cancer-causing damage as well as the effects of many age-related diseases, and they enhance brain function.
Broccoli – Contains vitamins C, A, beta carotene and fiber. Strong cancer preventer, along with cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.
Carrots – 2 carrots every other day provide enough beta carotene to reduce stroke risk by half for men who already have symptoms of heart disease
Chili Peppers – The heat source in chilis, capsaicin, is an antioxidant. Chilis also have blood thinning properties to prevent strokes; lower cholesterol; and may stimulate release of endorphins (“natural high” chemicals)
Chocolate – Dark chocolate with cocoa content ³ 60% is packed with antioxidants, and can lower blood pressure.
Cinnamon – ½ teaspoon per day is thought to reduce LDL (the bad cholesterol) levels; there is also some evidence that cinnamon improves memory
Citrus Fruits –
Contain vitamin C which helps your body fight cancers (lung, cervical, esophagus & stomach). Rich in bioflavonoids.
Garlic – May lower cholesterol and blood pressure. May contain chemicals capable of destroying cancer cells. Can help the liver eliminate toxins and carcinogens. Onions, leeks, scallions, chives, and shallots are other members of the allium (lily) family that have these benefits.
Green Tea – Green tea contains polyphenols, which may reduce heart disease by lowering cholesterol, cancer and stroke risk. Black tea is also good, but doesn’t contain ECGC, an especially powerful antioxidant.
At the Alcove, we serve many green teas, and we include green tea in our smoothies.
Mushrooms – Contain beta-glucan, which stimulates immune system. Shitake, enoki, zhuling and reishi all have anti-cancer and antiviral effects
Oats – Oat bran lowers cholesterol and blood pressure. May reduce risk of colon cancer. Oatmeal contains both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Olive Oil –
Olive oil is an excellent source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats that may lower the bad cholesterol and raise the good cholesterol. It also contains Vitamin E and antioxidants. Extra-virgin olive oil has the highest concentration of Vitamin E and antioxidants.
Salmon – Contains omega-3 oils to fight heart disease. Contains calcium, magnesium, protein and B-vitamins. Omega-3 oils may also help arthritis, and help avoid memory loss. Other fish high in omega-3 oils are herring, sardines, and mackerel.
Soy beans & Tofu – Lowers “bad” LDL cholesterol levels in the bloodstream, which reduces heart disease risk. Studies have shown that people who regularly eat soy products have reduced risk or lower rates of prostate, colon, lung, rectal and stomach cancers. (Soy sauce doesn’t count, but we have soybeans, AKA edamame, in our southwestern chicken soup)
Spinach – Contains vitamins A and C, folic acid and magnesium which help control cancer, reduces heart disease and stroke risk, blocks free radicals and may help prevent osteoporosis. Helps to prevent cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
Tomatoes – Contain lycopenes – an antioxidant more potent than vitamin C. Stimulates immune function and may slow degenerative diseases. Helps to prevent prostate cancer.
Lycopene, the plant chemical responsible for the ruby red of tomatoes and watermelon, is believed to fight cancer and promote heart health. Green vegetables like broccoli and spinach are sky-high in potent anti-cancer compounds like sulforaphane and quercitin. Although garlic and onions may lack the vibrant colors of other vegetables, they contain diallyl sulfide and saponins, compounds that add distinctive flavors to our recipes and fight cancer and heart disease. There’s no such thing as a bad vegetable. In addition to their phytonutrients, they are packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber, and are a crucial component of any healthy eating plan.
Orange and yellow-hued veggies like winter squash, pumpkins, carrots, and sweet potatoes and leafy greens contain carotenoids, a pigment our body converts to vitamin A. Eating lots of these vegetables will help maintain healthy skin and hair, protect against prostate cancer, promote healthy vision and even provide protection from sunburn.
Whole Grains –They’re delicious, inexpensive and packed with protein, B vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Research shows a diet high in whole grains may help prevent heart disease, some cancers, obesity and diabetes. Try ground flax seed as a supplement.
Eat well, be well at the Alcove Cafe.
Blueberries are also anti-inflammatory, and strawberries contain ellagic acid, which has anti-cancer properties.