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Here's a few easy-to-swallow medical treatments.

Research has shown that some foods can be just as effective as prescription drugs in treating medical conditions.

Sounds like a bunch of granola? Well, you'll be surprised to find out that not all of the foods that have added health benefits are boring-sounding grains and vegetables.

In fact (as you'll see below) you may learn quite the contrary.

Foods That Can Make You Feel Better

A bag of almond M&M's could help ward off Alzheimer's disease.

It's not the chocolate that protects you, though; it's the E in the almonds. A National Institutes of Health study found that the antioxidative properties of vitamin E reduce deterioration in the brain as you age. Just 2 ounces of almonds contains your entire recommended daily intake of E.

A few fish fillets can help you breathe easier.

"Magnesium helps to improve lung function and reduce the frequency of asthma attacks," says Dr. Michael Dacey, a critical-care physician in Rhode Island. Plus, recent research found that asthmatics with magnesium deficiencies spent more time in the hospital than those whose diets were rich in the stuff. For men with severe asthma, Dacey recommends eating at least one serving of fish, seafood, or spinach each day.

Cooked, mixed vegetables can help prevent arthritis.

Researchers studied the diets and health of 330 people and found that those who ate the most cooked vegetables were 75 percent less likely to develop arthritis than those who consumed the least. One possible reason: Heat destroys the vegetables' cell walls, allowing your body to absorb more of the nutrients that would otherwise pass through your system.

A grapefruit a day could keep bleeding gums away.

Inflamed gums hurt, and they can also mean you aren't getting enough vitamin C, says Cyndi Thomson, an assistant professor at the University of Arizona. When you don't get enough C, collagen in your body starts to break down. And that process starts in your gums. "One grapefruit provides your entire daily requirement of vitamin C," she says.

Water can help keep your breath in check.

Instead of sucking on breath mints, keep a bottle of water by your side. "Bad breath is caused by sulfur compounds in your mouth, and sipping water frequently helps wash away those compounds and trigger the production of breath-neutralizing saliva," says Dr. Anthony Dailley, founder of the Center for Breath Treatment in San Francisco. Eight glasses of water throughout the day should be able to do the trick.

Drink some wine to help treat diarrhea.

It's not Pepto's pink color that makes you feel better; it's a compound called bismuth subsalicylate, which is also found in high levels in both red and white wine. According to one study, drinking a glass or two of wine is just as effective at controlling diarrhea as taking a single dose of most over-the-counter remedies. The bismuth compound appears to prevent diarrhea by slowing or stopping the growth of bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli, before they can make you any sicker.

Tomato juice can help your hangover.

Only time and aspirin can heal the effects of crazed celebration, but for a major hangover, reach for a Bloody Mary sans the vodka. "If you're throwing up, it's likely you're low on potassium, calcium, and sodium," says Linda Van Horn, a professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University. "That combination is what leaves you feeling sick and exhausted." Tomato juice is a good source of all those nutrients, along with additional water to make up for the fluids you've lost.

A spoonful of sugar can make the hiccups go away.

"Pouring a spoonful of sugar under your tongue can cure a bad case of the hiccups," says Dr. Marla Tobin, a family physician in Higginsville, Mo. Like hiccups themselves, the science behind the cure isn't clear, but Tobin theorizes that the sugar granules excite nerves in the back of your throat. Once stimulated, the nerves block other nerve signals within the body, including the one that might be causing your hiccups.

Solve cramping after a workout by replenishing with a banana.

"Muscle cramps after a workout tend to be a sign of a deficiency," says Thomson. "Exercise depletes the nutrients your muscles need to function properly." The alternative to pain and cursing: Replenish your magnesium and potassium immediately by eating a banana and drinking a glass of water to fight off dehydration.

Lean steak could help keep some hair on your head.

When it comes to steak, going lean instead of eating fatty cuts of meat won't keep you from going bald, but it may slow down the process. According to a study from Australia, men who ate lean cuts of meat were less likely to go bald than those who ate fatty cuts of meat. Another plus: "Beef is an excellent source of zinc," says . "And not getting enough zinc can lead to sudden hair loss."

Drink some caffeine for a quick, mental fix.

According to Dutch research, taking as little as 32 milligrams of caffeine (the amount in just 2 ounces of coffee) before a test helped volunteers improve their memory, as well as their overall reading speed and level of mental alertness. To maximize the benefit, down the coffee at least half an hour before you really need to be thinking clearly.

Add folic acid for fertility.

In a study conducted at the USDA Western Human Nutrition Research Center, researchers found that men with the lowest sperm counts also had the least folic acid in their diets. "It appears that men who are trying to conceive need folic acid for proper DNA synthesis and sperm production," says Lynn Wallock, a research chemist and the lead study author. Cereals are one of the best sources of folic acid.

Low-fat vanilla ice can be prostate-healthy.

In a study recently presented at the Society for Experimental Biology's annual conference, researchers revealed that the more boron there is in your diet, the lower your overall chances of developing prostate cancer. Vanilla ice cream is one of the very best sources of boron, with 25 micrograms per cup.


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