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Food Facts

The following items are adapted from the Bottom Line Year Book 2009, 2010.

Peanuts for muscle pump? Actually a type of legume, peanuts are high in L-arginine, an amino acid that’s readily converted to nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels. Having a peanut butter sandwich about an hour before training may be a good idea.

Wine drunk with any high-carb meal decreases the blood sugar spike and insulin surge after the meal. Wine can lower the glycemic index of a meal by almost 40 percent. That can prevent diabetes and heart disease.

Folate is a B-vitamin with a mood connections—low counts of the nutrient, a.ka. folic acid, can increase the risk of depression by as much as 55 percent. Folate-rich foods include leafy green vegetables, lentils, beans and wheat germ. If you supplement, shoot for 400 micrograms a day.

Vitamin C is known as a common-cold fighter, but it also appears to block a protein that enables cancers to survive in a low-oxygen environment. That cancer answer was discovered at Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.

Coffee plus exercise may help prevent skin cancer, according to a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: “The death rate of precancerous skin cells in mice was nearly 400 percent greater than in mice that had neither exercise nor caffeine.”

—Becky Holman



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