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Food Facts

Broccoli is often thought of as a superfood because of its cancer-fighting abilities. Now you can supercharge those disease-busting effects, according to research reported on in the December ’11 Bottom Line Health. Eating broccoli with spicy foods like horseradish or wasabi enhances absorption and boosts its main cancer-fighting component, sulforaphane.

Vitamin C improves your immune system, but it can also help you burn fat. Your body uses vitamin C to make L-carnitine, which helps convert bodyfat to energy. That’s the reason fatigue is a symptom of vitamin C deficiency—you get sluggish from energy inefficiencies.

“Cocoa Compounds Boost Blood Flow to Muscles.” That was a headline in the July/August ’10 Well Being Journal. The article described using a cocoa beverage two hours before a workout and how it led to vasodilation. So having some dark chocolate before you hit the gym could enhance your pump.

Alcohol can be good for you—in moderation only. According to the Harvard Heart Letter, “For coronary artery disease and death from it, any amount of alcohol—from just under one-half drink per day on up—reduced heart disease risk by about 25 percent. But this was offset by stroke risk: at four drinks per day, the risk of having a stroke was 62 percent higher than it was with no alcohol use, and the risk of dying from a stroke was 44 percent higher. The lowest risk for any cause of death was at one drink per day.”

—Becky Holman


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