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You are what you eat, say scientists, who are discovering more and more health power in food. Here are some guidelines based on the latest research:
• Be beware of diet fads that wear the mask of science. They suffer from the “popcorn effect,” in which a kernel of truth becomes so inflated with hot air that it can mislead and possibly harm. If some food or nutrient is good, more is not always better. Too much of one vitamin or mineral could block the body’s ability to absorb another.
• Eat oats, dried beans, peas, and lentils. These foods harbor fibers that trap sugar in the digestive tract, slowing its entry into the bloodstream (a boon to weight-watchers and diabetics). And colon bacteria feed on these fibers, producing chemicals that suppress the liver’s cholesterol output and protect you from heart disease.
• Eat fish several times a week. Scientists still are unsure whether it’s the fish or its oils that help in heart disease, breast cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and migraines. Use low-fat cooking methods, such as broiling, poaching, or baking.
• Add olive oil to your “OK fats” list. Monounsaturated fat, the kind of fat in olive oil, can lower blood cholesterol, as do polyunsaturates. Other foods with monounsaturated oils are almonds and avocados. Reminder: To keep your heart and waistline happy, limit intake. Fat packs a lot of calories.

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