1. Broccoli beats breast cancer

    I recommend cruciferous vegetables for detoxification so often that I'm sure some of my patients think I own stock in a broccoli farm.

    In the interest of full disclosure, I should point out that I don't -- but if I ever decided to get into the agricultural business, I'd grow cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and kale.

    They're that good.

    When you detox with these vegetables, you not only rid your body of toxins, you also give it the power to fight cancer -- and the latest research shows why women in particular should make sure they boost their intake of these veggies.

    In a new study out of China, researchers found that breast cancer patients who had the highest intake of cruciferous vegetables were 62 percent less likely to die of the disease and 35 percent less likely to have a recurrence when compared to those who ate the least.

    The study of nearly 5,000 women between the ages of 20 and 75 even found that those who ate the most of these vegetables had a lower risk of death from all causes.

    A coincidence? I don't think so -- because cruciferous vegetables are rich in powerful glucosinolates, which break down to form isothiocyanates. You don't have to memorize either tongue-twisting word, just remember this: isothiocyanates can fight tumors and even cause cancer cells to commit suicide.

    They're so powerful that the drug industry is trying to develop cancer meds based on isothiocyanates -- but why wait for their synthetic version when you can get your own natural daily dose the delicious way?

    Our most common cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, but it's worth noting that the women in this study ate a more typical Chinese diet -- and their most common cruciferous vegetables include bok choy, Chinese cabbage, and turnips.

    More importantly, they also eat a lot more of these vegetables overall -- so if you want to take advantage of those cancer-fighting properties yourself, make sure you increase your own intake.

    And if you haven't tried bok choy, you've been missing out.

  2. Apples and pears can lower stroke risk

    Supposedly cutting-edge procedures like the brain stent I just mentioned won't lower your risk of stroke -- and they might even kill you.

    But you don't have to turn to risky surgery or unproven meds to keep a stroke at bay: A new study finds all you might really need is more of the foods you already enjoy.

    And no, it's not candy and cake (nice try, though).

    Dutch researchers tracked the eating habits of nearly 21,000 people with an average age of 41 and no signs of heart disease at the start of the 10-year study.

    During that time, 233 people suffered a stroke -- with the volunteers who ate the most white fruits and vegetables (think apples, pears, and bananas) 52 percent less likely to be among them.

    Even those who ate just a little got a benefit: The researchers wrote in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association that just a few slices of apple a day, for example, can lower the risk by 9 percent.

    Along with apples, pears and bananas, the researchers say white fruits and vegetables include cauliflower, chicory, and cucumbers -- but not potatoes. Those are actually a starch, and -- let's face it -- you shouldn't be eating them anyway (especially if they come from any place that has a big golden M on the sign).

    The catch here is that the study was based on the least reliable form of science: the food frequency questionnaire. In other words, let's file this one under "interesting" but not something you need to start planting an apple orchard for.

    The study also didn't show why these fruits and vegetables might be able to slash the risk of stroke -- but the smart money is on the terrific antioxidant flavonoids such as quercetin, the pigment that helps turn apples red (and gives even green pears those red patches you so often see).

    Along with other bioflavonoids -- including the lutein and zeaxanthin also found in apple and pear skins -- quercetin may help protect your heart and even lower your risk of cancer.

    If you're not eating an apple, pear or banana every day, you can get these and other great nutrients from a high-quality bioflavonoid supplement.

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