I like New Year’s Day so much, I celebrate it three times a year: on the first day of the Gregorian calendar, on the lunar new year, and on the vernal equinox. This leaves room for more resolutions, which should be viewed not as iron-clad restrictions, but recommendations and minor edits. There’s no point in imposing rules that you know won’t be followed, i.e. “Stop eating meat”, or in stating resolutions in such general terms that they can be stretched, i.e. “Eat only foods that are good for you.” Having just champagne and chocolate for dinner is also good for you, in a way.
So here’s a very specific and more importantly, painless New Year’s resolution: Add the following antioxidant-rich items to your diet. The Ten Best Foods You Aren’t Eating.
1. Beets. Contain folate and betaine, which “work together to lower your blood levels of homocysteine, an inflammatory compound that can damage your arteries and increase your risk of heart disease.”
2. Cabbage. I was always told that cabbage has no nutritional value. Apparently my parents were wrong. Cabbage contains “sulforaphane, a chemical that increases your body’s production of enzymes that disarm cell-damaging free radicals and reduce your risk of cancer.” Easy: just have a side of kimchi with every meal.
3. Guava. “Guava has a higher concentration of lycopeneâ€”an antioxidant that fights prostate cancerâ€”than any other plant food, including tomatoes and watermelon.” A cup also contains 688 mg of potassium, more than a medium banana, which means tennis players should be eating guava between sets.
4. Cinnamon! Contains methylhydroxychalcone polymers which boost your cells’ ability to metabolize sugar. Controls blood sugar, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. Just sprinkle it liberally on your coffee the next time you go to Coffee Bean or Starbucks.
5. Pomegranate juice. With daily consumption, decreases systolic blood pressure and improves bloodflow to the heart. Lots of vitamin C.
6. Dried plums, a.k.a. prunes. Contain “high amounts of neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acids, antioxidants that are particularly effective at combating the “superoxide anion radical.” This nasty free radical causes structural damage to your cells, and such damage is thought to be one of the primary causes of cancer.”
7. Pumpkin seeds. Magnesium, magnesium, magnesium.
8. Goji berries. High in antioxidants, reduce diabetes risk factors.
9. Swiss chard. A Mediterranean leafy greenâ€”anyone know where we can get this? Contains carotenoids which protect your retinas from the damage of aging.
10. Purslane. Contains “the highest amount of heart-healthy omega-3 fats of any edible plant…has 10 to 20 times more melatoninâ€”an antioxidant that may inhibit cancer growthâ€” than any other fruit or vegetable tested.” It’s a popular vegetable in China, anyone know the local name?
Non-diet health suggestion: Hang out with people of good cheer who regard difficulties as temporary. Limit exposure to people who depress you. Don’t go looking for suffering, it finds everyone anyway. Screw the old cliches: Suffering doesn’t make you an artist. Your ability to process torment into something beautiful, that’s the art part.