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Food Facts

Cocoa can significantly reduce inflammatory biomarkers related to hardening of the arteries. That’s due to its flavonoids, which have anti-inflammatory properties.

Beta-carotene can protect you against sunburn. Most orange-colored fruits and vegetables—like carrots, sweet potatoes and apricots—contain a lot of beta-carotene.

Water is not only important to optimal mental function but is also crucial to helping you get more reps. Being properly hydrated before your workouts is essential. Dehydration has been linked to specific diseases like bladder cancer, so be sure and drink throughout the day.

Cabbage can fight cancer, as can most other cruciferous vegetables. Cabbage is especially rich in indoles, compounds that detoxify carcinogens due to a shift in estrogen metabolism. That would explain how they protect against breast cancer and how they may help prevent or minimize gynecomastia, or male breast enlargement.

Calcium may be more important than we realize. Swedish researchers followed 23,000 middle-aged and older men for 10 years and found that those who got at least 2,000 milligrams a day of calcium were 25 percent less likely to die in that time than the men who got very little. Calcium helps lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Amercian adults average only about 700 milligrams of calcium a day.

—Becky Holman

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