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These delicious foods help protect eyes, lungs, heart and brain

Apples

Apples contain soluble fiber, which may help lower cholesterol and slow the uptake of glucose, helping you maintain healthy blood sugar levels. They’re also a super source of potassium, antioxidants and vitamin C.

Asparagus

Asparagus is high in lycopene, which has been found to protect the prostate and help reduce the risk of prostate cancer. In addition to lycopene, asparagus contains vitamin A, important for the immune system and eye health, and lots of fiber to help reduce cholesterol and encourage heart health. Asparagus also contains protein and iron — something you may not expect from these thin green spears.

Blueberries

Like apples, blueberries are high in soluble fiber, which can help lower cholesterol and slow the uptake of glucose, helping you maintain healthy blood sugar levels. But there’s much more packed inside those blue skins: Vitamins C and K are the major players, as are antioxidants and the mineral manganese.

Broccoli

Broccoli has been the butt of jokes for years, but you’d be foolish not to eat it. It’s high in fiber, antioxidants and vitamins such as A, C, B9 (folate) and K. That means your eyes, red blood cells, immune system, bones and tissues all benefit from this vegetable.

Butternut Squash

The versatile butternut squash brims with beta-carotene, which is important for eye health. The heart also benefits from the vitamin C in this winter squash and its high fiber content, which helps lower cholesterol and maintain good blood sugar levels.

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate’s antioxidants, including flavonoids and polyphenols, may help prevent heart attacks by protecting arteries from becoming clogged. Some studies indicate that consuming small amounts of dark (at least 70 percent cacao) chocolate on a regular basis can lower blood pressure and decrease the rate of stroke in women by 20 percent.

Coffee

The National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study found that people who drank coffee (regular or decaf) were less likely to die from heart and respiratory diseases, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes and infections. Coffee may also help protect women from breast cancer. Other research found that those who drank three to five cups of coffee a day in their 40s and 50s had a 65 percent lower rate of developing Alzheimer’s than those who drank two cups a day.

Fava Beans

The National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study found that people who drank coffee (regular or decaf) were less likely to die from heart and respiratory diseases, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes and infections. Coffee may also help protect women from breast cancer. Other research found that those who drank three to five cups of coffee a day in their 40s and 50s had a 65 percent lower rate of developing Alzheimer’s than those who drank two cups a day.

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt contains fewer carbohydrates, less sugar and salt, and more protein and digestive-friendly probiotics than American-style yogurt. A serving of low-fat or nonfat Greek yogurt may have twice the protein and half the sugar of its non-Greek counterpart. If you opt for full-fat versions, however, Greek yogurt has more saturated fat.

Green Kale

Leafy green kale packs a nutritional wallop — cooked, raw or juiced. It contains important omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin K, which promotes blood clotting. It is high in fiber and is a rich source of calcium for bone health. It also provides lutein, which is important for eye health.

Author Charlie Sampson

The Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame inducted Charlie Sampson for bull riding in 1996. He is also one of only two African-American cowboys to have been inducted in the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2008.

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