For Healthier Life 更健康地生活

More and more people are realizing the importance of a healthy diet, and they are wondering if certain foods can help prolong their lives. Fan Zhihong, a professor with Beijing Agricultural University's food department, offers some suggestions.

Preventing Cancer

Some medical studies indicate that many nutritious vegetables can help prevent cancer. In terms of their ability to prevent cancer, lettuce is ranked first, followed by cauliflower, cabbage, celery, eggplant and sweet peppers. Carrots, tomatoes, onions and cucumbers are also good.

Soybeans and mung beans, and their sprouts, which contain antacids, are believed to help prolong life. The sprouts of soybeans are considered the most nutritious—the utilization ratio of their protein is about 10 percent higher than that of soybeans.

As they sprout, they release calcium (Ca), phosphorus (P), ferrum (Fe) and zinc (Zn). After they sprout, the carotene content will be one time to two times greater, and the vitamin B2 content will be two to four times greater. In addition, the sprouts will be rich in vitamin B12 and vitamin E, the content of which will be up to 10 times greater than that of soybeans. More importantly, as the chlorophyll, in the sprouts, decomposes nitrous acid (a weak, monobasic acid known only in solution and in the form of nitrite salts, whose molecular formula is HNO2), it will help prevent carcinoma of the rectum and some cancers of the digestive tract.

Traditional Chinese doctors  believe mung bean sprouts have impressive medicinal effects. The vegetable, which is sweet and cold by nature, helps relieve internal heat or fever, and it helps reduce or stop swelling. It is also believed to improve the functions of the five internal organs—heart, liver, spleen, lungs and kidneys—and reduce fat in the blood and soften the blood vessels.

Improving Your Appearance

Some Chinese beauticians recommend the following foods:

Lukewarm (boiled) water: If you drink 8-10 cups every day, your skin will be smooth and lustrous;

Green vegetables: Many green vegetables, such as three-colored amaranth, cauliflower and cabbage, contain various vitamins and minerals;

Melons: As people eat melons, such as watermelon and Hami melon (a variety of muskmelon produced in Hami, in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region), they absorb water and various elements, such as sugar and vitamins A and C; 

Lean Meat: Lean meat, such as chicken and fish, are rich in proteins and ferrum (Fe); 

Grains and beans: Coarse grains, such as maize, sorghum and millet, and various types of beans, such as soybeans and mung beans, provide the skin with nutrients,  such as calcium (Ca), phosphorus (P) and ferrum Fe);

Cheese and skim milk: These products will help soften the skin and strengthen the muscles and bones;

Oranges and tangerines: The fruits, rich in vitamin C, prevent the rupturing of capillaries and the formation of pigmented spots on the face; and

Pigskin: Pigskin, which contains collagen protein, improves the elasticity of the skin.

The Brain

Not all foods benefit the brain. For example, foods that contain peroxides, such as deep-fried foods and fatty meats, might thicken the walls of your cerebral blood vessels, which, in turn, will reduce blood flow. If this happens, you should eat "reduction foods," which contain carotene and superoxide dismutase, as they will prevent diseases that affect blood vessels.

What, you may ask, are the "reduction foods?" They are vegetables such as fragrant-flowered garlic, pumpkins, onions and cauliflower, and nuts, such as walnuts, peanuts, pistachios, pine nuts and apricot kernels. Brown rice and pork liver soup are also considered "reduction foods."

The Heart

It is generally believed that eating 50g of fish every day can help reduce the chance of heart disease by 40 percent. Deep-sea fishes, such as perch and pink ling, are especially good for the health. Many doctors urge  people to eat wild purslanes, as the herbs are rich in unsaturated fatty acid, which reduces cholesterol and triglyceride (glyceride in which the glycerol changes into an ester with three fatty acids, more properly known as triacylglycerol, TAG or triacylglyceride. It is the main component of vegetable oil and animal fats) in your body, thins the blood, and prevents blood clots of coronary arteries. As a result, the herbs will help prevent coronary heart disease. Moreover, purslanes, which contain potassium (K), can help lower blood pressure and reduce your heart rate.

Neutralizing Acidic Foods

Despite how wonderful they taste, meats, eggs, rice, flour and sugar produce acid radicals with negative ions, which might cause your blood to reach meta-acid (beyond normal acidity) level. To prevent the formation of the acid physique  (the blood of people with such a physique is inclined for acidity)—about 70 percent of diseases occur in people who have this physique — you should eat basic foods, such as vegetables, fruit, milk and tea. This can help neutralize excess acid in the body, which will help restore the normal pH value of the blood. Kelp is a good choice. If you eat kelp two or three times a week, you will be able to maintain the normal pH value of your blood.

Enjoying Meat

Some nutritionists suggest fowl — despite containing fat similar to pork, beef and mutton — is good for the heart, as the birds' chemical structure is similar to olive oil.  Experts suggest chicken is the best source of protein. They believe eating chicken, without its skin, twice a week will help you reduce, by about 50 percent, the risk of cancer. Fish and rabbit meat, in terms of their effects on appearance, the brain and the heart, are considered to be superior to pork, beef and mutton. Note that diet should be balanced. 

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