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Dr. Weil’s Summer Garden

Take a tour of Dr. Weil's summer garden in British Columbia. Filled with fruits, vegetables and flowers, there is always a bountiful supply of food for body and soul. (Part one of three).

10 Fruits Rich in Antioxidants

Want to make the fruit you eat really count? Reach for these ten! Each is exceptionally high in antioxidants, and tastes delicious, too.

Fresh fruit salad is a traditional, healthy dessert. Not only delicious, it is nutritious, too - the natural antioxidants and fiber of fresh fruit support the body's defenses and help to keep it running smoothly. When making a fruit salad, consider including the following choices - according to the USDA, these fruits are exceptionally high in antioxidants:

  1. Wild blueberries
  2. Cranberries
  3. Blackberries
  4. Prunes
  5. Raspberries
  6. Strawberries
  7. Red delicious apples
  8. Granny Smith apples
  9. Sweet cherries
  10. Black plums

Be sure to check the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen list for fruits that should be organic. Also, look for locally grown varieties at your local farmer's market, and enjoy!

Fruits and Vegetables for Your Head

The more fruits and vegetables you eat, the higher the odds that you'll be as healthy mentally as you are physically. This conclusion comes from research at Britain's University of Warwick, which showed that good mental health was consistently linked to fruit and vegetable consumption among both men and women. Analyzing data from nearly 14,000 adults who participated in the Health Survey for England, the investigators found that 33.5 percent of those identified as having a high level of mental well-being ate five or more fruit and vegetables daily, compared to 6.8 percent of the mentally fit who ate less than one serving daily. The researchers explained that remarkable mental well-being is not merely the absence of mental health problems - it is strongly linked to optimism, happiness, high self-esteem, resilience and good relationships. Smoking, obesity, and alcohol consumption were all lifestyle factors linked to low mental well-being, a condition associated with mental health problems.

My take: The suggestion that we can influence our mental fitness through diet is good news. In 2012, University of Warwick researchers reported that eating seven servings of fruit and vegetables per day was associated with increased mental health and happiness. My anti-inflammatory diet calls for eating four to five servings of vegetables and three to four servings of fruit per day to reduce inflammation in the body. It is becoming increasingly clear that chronic inflammation is the root cause of many serious physical and mental illnesses - including heart disease, many cancers, and Alzheimer's disease. Stress, lack of exercise, genetic predisposition, and exposure to toxins (such as secondhand tobacco smoke) can all contribute to such chronic inflammation, but dietary choices play a big role as well. The more fruits and vegetables you eat, the healthier - and, perhaps, happier - you're likely to be.