Dr. Oz’s 4 healthy foods

We don’t know exactly what wellness guru Dr. Mehmet Oz ate during a recent visit to Phoenix, but we know what he didn’t eat.

“While I know fry bread is popular in Phoenix, fried foods are high in trans-fats because of the oils used, which can increase the risk of heart disease,” said Oz, best-selling author and host of a popular syndicated TV show.

“So limit yourself to a celebratory indulgence instead of making it a staple in your diet.”

Oz was in Phoenix last month on a promotional tour and decided to surprise Kendra Farrell, a 10-year-old fan from Gilbert who had sent him a letter that touched him. Kendra, unaware that Oz was in town, was invited to the Channel 3 (KTVK) studios for a tour and got the chance to introduce Oz.

We caught up with Oz and asked him his picks for the most healthful foods available in the Valley.

1.) Citrus: Good for stress and your heart

Citrus fruits are best known for their vitamin C content. On average, a large citrus fruit contains more than a day’s worth of immune-system-enhancing vitamin C, which also helps blast belly fat by lowering cortisol and other stress-released hormones.

Citrus fruits also are packed with fiber, nutrients and antioxidants, which help make your heart healthy. Citrus fruits contain the flavonoid hesperidin, which recently has been shown to help lower blood pressure and improve heart health.

2.) Achiote paste: Fights cancer formation

Achiote paste contains high levels of tocotrienols, which are antioxidants similar to vitamin E. Tocotrienols are potent anti-inflammatory compounds that have been shown to fight cancer formation. They also are effective at lowering cholesterol and may guard against heart disease.

3.) Chipotle: Treats chronic pain and has anti-cancer properties

This powder, made from smoke-dried jalapeño peppers, contains high levels of capsaicin, making it a healthful addition to traditional foods of the Southwest. Traditionally, capsaicin has been used as a natural analgesic, treating chronic pain and arthritis. Recent studies have shown that capsaicin has anti-cancer properties, slowing tumor growth and migration, and that it can fight obesity by increasing energy expenditure and slowing body-fat accumulation.

4.) Nopales: Lower cholesterol

Nopales, pads of the prickly-pear cactus, have been used medicinally for centuries. The cactus has high levels of dietary fiber and has been shown to decrease cholesterol levels in human and animal studies. Historically, it has been used to treat mild cases of type 2 diabetes, and several animal studies support its use to lower blood-sugar spikes after large meals.

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