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Diet essentials

No matter your diet, Dr. Elsea says there are some veggies and nutrients everyone should include


Broccoli and other cruciferous (leafy green) vegetables — have been found to reduce the risk of bladder cancer.

Calcium — a mineral necessary for strong bones and teeth, commonly found in dairy products but also in leafy greens. The body cannot produce its own calcium, so eating the right foods (or taking supplements) is crucial.

Corn — a great source of lutein, a carotenoid that reduces the risk of chronic eye disease.

Green peas — have been found to reduce the risk of stomach cancer.

Omega-3 — polyunsaturated fatty acid that reduces cholesterol and helps prevent cardiovascular disease. It's found in fish and plant seeds and their oils.

Onions (any variety) — high in antioxidants and help us live longer and prevent heart disease.

Protein — made up of chains of amino acids and required for normal body functions. Proteins are what muscle and bone are made of, and a shortage of protein can affect growth and overall health. They're also slower to digest, so they make you feel fuller longer.

Vitamin C — an antioxidant that strengthens the immune system. Some sources are red bell peppers, kale and Brussels sprouts.

Zinc — mineral that plays a role in regulating the body's immune system. Zinc is found in whole grain breads and leafy greens.

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