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22/10/2008

20 super-foods for life

(NaturalNews) British scientist Gary Williamson, professor of "functional foods" at Leeds University, has released a list of the top foodstuffs that he believes can lead to longevity.

What makes these foods so special, he contends, is that they are rich in naturally occurring phytochemicals including tannins, lignins and flavonoids, that research has shown have a host of health benefits, including offering protection from cardiovascular disease by boosting the function of cells that line the inside of the blood vessels.

"Epidemiology studies support the protective effects of polyphenol-rich foods. Lack of these components in the diet, because of low intake of fruit and vegetables, increases the risk of chronic disease. This means that they are essential to fulfill the maximum individual lifespan, and so I propose that they are 'lifespan essential'," Prof. Williamson said in a statement to the UK media. He added that the foods on his list, which are primarily fruits and vegetables, can help slow the process of aging because they protect cells from the normal wear-and-tear that occurs with time.

So what's included on Prof. Williamson's list of longevity super foods? Here's are what he dubs the "Lifespan Essentials":
* apples
* blackberries
* black tea
* blueberries
* broccoli
* cereal bran
* cherries
* cherry tomatoes
* coffee
* cranberries
* dark chocolates
* green tea
* oranges
* peaches
* plums
* raspberries
* red grapes
* red onions
* spinach
* strawberries

Surprised to find a scrumptious treat like dark chocolate on the list? Researchers like Prof. Williamson have found it is rich in flavonoids that reduce "bad" cholesterol (low density lipoproteins, or LDL) and also make blood platelets less likely to clump together and cause heart attack and stroke producing clots.

Coffee may also seem like an unlikely "super food" because too much caffeine is known to cause jitters, upset stomach and even heart palpitations in some people. However, in moderation, coffee has been found to be a natural health-enhancer. Consider this: Harvard researchers analyzed data on 126,000 people for as long as 18 years and found that drinking caffeinated coffee daily can drastically reduce diabetes risk ( by as much as 54% for men and and by 30% in women).

What's more, half a dozen studies indicate that people who drink coffee on a regular basis are up to 80% less likely to develop Parkinson's. Other research indicates that compared to not drinking coffee, at least two cups of daily java can lower the risk of colon cancer by 25% reduced risk of colon cancer and nearly half the risk of gallstones.

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