There are two things you need to knowabout tomatoes: red are the best,because they’re packed with more ofthe antioxidant lycopene; andprocessed tomatoes are just as potentas fresh ones, because it’s easier forthe body to absorb the lycopene.Studies show that a diet rich inlycopene can decrease your risk ofbladder, lung, prostate, skin, and stomach cancers, as well as reduce the risk of coronary arterydisease, and help eliminate skin-aging free radicals caused by ultraviolet rays. “Cooked tomatoesand tomato paste work best,” says celebrity trainer Gunnar Petersen.
4. Sweet Potatoes
Often confused with yams, thesetubers are one of the healthiest foodson the planet. In addition tocountering the effects of secondhandsmoke and preventing diabetes,sweet potatoes contain glutathione,an antioxidant that can enhancenutrient metabolism and immune-system health, as well as protectagainst Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, liverdisease, cystic fibrosis, HIV, cancer, heart attack, and stroke. What’s more, they’re also loadedwith vitamin C, which smoothes out wrinkles by stimulating the production of collagen. A recentstudy in the
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
found that volunteers who consumed 4milligrams of C (about half a small sweet potato) daily for 3 years decreased the appearance ofwrinkles by 11 percent.
It may be green and leafy, but spinach—arenowned muscle builder—is also the ultimateman food. The heart-health equivalent of a first-ballot Hall of Famer, spinach is replete with theessential minerals potassium and magnesium,and it’s one of the top sources of lutein, anantioxidant that may help prevent cloggedarteries. Plus its vitamins and nutrients canbolster bone-mineral density, attack prostatecancer cells, reduce the risk of skin tumors, fightcolon cancer, and, last but not least, increaseblood flow to the penis. “Popeye was on tosomething,” says Susan Bowerman, assistant director of the Center for Human Nutrition at theUniversity of California at Los Angeles.