kale

  1. Forget chemo -- try broccoli instead

    The best thing I can say about many vegetables... like the twin starch bombs potatoes and corn... is that they make for excellent compost material.

    But I do make exceptions -- and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, and cauliflower are more than just a garnish for my steak. They taste great, and they've proven time and again they can help beat cancer.

    And if you're a lady listen up -- because women who eat the most of these veggies are 62 percent less likely to die of breast cancer and 35 percent less likely to have a recurrence of the disease than women who eat the least, according to a new study out of China.

    Those veggies even helped slash the risk of death from "all" causes, but I'm always a little suspicious of numbers like that. I don't think there's a vegetable on the planet that can prevent deaths from car accidents, injuries, or crime.

    But for my money, fighting cancer is a good enough trick on its own -- and there's a reason cruciferous vegetables have shown they can stop the disease in its tracks (and not just breast cancer).

    They contain a substance called sulforaphane, which stimulates certain phase II enzymes that in turn can stop tumors from growing.

    The only downside here is that many people can't stand broccoli. Years of being forced to eat it as a child will do that to you -- and if the very idea of Brussels sprouts makes you gag, feel free to dunk them in some farm-fresh butter.

    Extra butter -- real, fresh butter -- makes everything taste better... and despite what you've heard it's good for you, too. In fact, the CHOLESTEROL in butter is a powerful cancer-fighter of its own.

    Stay tuned later this week for more on that.

  2. Vitamin C for your eyes

    If you want to protect your eyes, forget carrots -- there's another "C" that plays a much more important role in how you see: Vitamin C.

    Two new studies show how C can keep your peepers performing at their peak -- including one that finds that certain retina cells literally shut down when they run out of C.

    The researchers wrote in the Journal of Neuroscience that their finding suggests a diet rich in vitamin C may protect against glaucoma -- but more importantly, they say the retinal cells used in the study are closely related to similar cells in the brain.

    And if low C can cause those cells in the eye to go dark, just imagine how it can dim your mind.

    But let's get back to your eyes here, because another new study -- this one out of India -- finds that people with the highest dietary intake of C have a 39 percent lower risk of cataracts than those with the lowest C levels.

    That study was based on a questionnaire over dietary habits, so I'm not going to waste your time with the details -- but it's worth mentioning because plenty of other studies have also made a much more direct link between low C and cataract risk.

    I remember one a few decades back that found every 1 mg/dl increase in blood levels of vitamin C led to a 26 percent decrease in cataract risk.

    Along with vision, vitamin C also appears to have a direct impact on hearing: When I say "vitamin C," most people just hear "orange juice" -- and that's the last place you should be looking for this nutrient.

    OJ is pure sugar with some vitamin C swimming around in it. You may as well put vitamin C in your Coke.

    The best natural sources of C are actually peppers -- bell and chili -- along with broccoli, kale and papaya. But to get what you really need, you'll probably want a supplement.

    I suggest at least 1,200 mg a day, or roughly 15 times what the U.S. government recommends.

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