Stay fit : Some must-have items on your diet

Does your approach to nutrition focus on the negative: eat less fat, avoid salt, reduce calories, watch out for pesticides, lower cholesterol, and absolutely no dessert? Well, it may be time to make some adjustments to your depriving way of thought. Change that attitude; eating and health should take on a positive approach.

Tea: In this category, we are referring specifically to non-herbal, green teas and, to a lesser extent, black teas. These teas contain an antioxidant compound known as polyphenol. While studies are still incomplete, they do show that the polyphenols can help prevent cancer from forming, may stabilise or shrink present cancers, and prevent cancers from spreading. There is also evidence suggesting that tea may protect against heart disease. It may be that tea polyphenols reduce blood cholesterol and reduce blood pressure.

Tomatoes: Tomatoes contain a good amount of vitamin C, an important antioxidant. Tomatoes also contain abundant amounts of lycopene. Lycopene reduces risk of particular cancers, especially prostate cancer. Good news for the pizza fan: the lycopene in cooked, processed tomatoes, such as tomato sauce, salsa, and tomato paste, is more readily absorbed than that in raw tomatoes, and the presence of a little fat even enhances its absorption, so sprinkle on the cheese or olive oil.

Sweet Potatoes: Don’t relegate sweet potatoes to the holiday table. Sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that reduces cancer risk. And if you worry about losing your youthful complexion, your body converts carotene into vitamin A, which protects the skin from wrinkles and aging.

Papaya: If you could only eat one fruit, the papaya should be it. Why? Because it tastes wonderful and is high in vitamins A and C. Pound for pound, papayas contain more vitamin A than apricots, more Vitamin C than oranges and more potassium than a banana. These nutrients reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke and cataracts.