Philipp Lahm als Startup-Investor: In diese Projekte steckt der Fußball-Star Millionen

Philipp Lahm hat es wieder getan. Der Fußball-Star, der im Sommer seine sportliche Karriere beendet, hat über seine Holding ein weiteres Mal in ein Startup investiert.

Philipp Lahm investiert in Fanmiles

Etwas überraschend hat Bayern-Kapitän Philipp Lahm Anfang Februar sein Karriereende für 2017 angekündigt. Noch überraschender: Einen Job bei seinem baldigen Ex-Arbeitgeber schlug Lahm aus. Um die berufliche Zukunft ihres Stars müssen Lahm-Fans aber nicht bange sein. Schon seit Jahren arbeitet Lahm fleißig daran. Der Kapitän des Weltmeisters von 2014 ist bei einer Reihe von Firmen involviert. Jetzt hat sich die Philip-Lahm-Holding wieder an einer Finanzierungsrunde für das Loyalty-Tech-Startup Fanmiles beteiligt.

Bei Fanmiles war Lahm schon vor einem Jahr als Investor eingestiegen. In der aktuellen Finanzierungsrunde, bei der insgesamt 2,7 Millionen Euro eingesammelt werden konnten, hatten neben der Lahm-Holding der institutionelle Investor Auden sowie einige Business-Angels Geld investiert. Die Bewertung von Fanmiles stieg auf 30 Millionen Euro.

Bei dem Startup handelt es sich um eine Social-Media-Plattform, die ähnlich wie Payback funktioniert. Sportler und Promis können dort Fans mit der Währung Fanmiles bezahlen, wenn sie in den sozialen Medien für ihre Idole die Werbetrommel rühren. Mit der Fanwährung können sie dann Streaming-Angebote nutzen, Musik downloaden oder einkaufen. Mit den frischen Finanzmitteln will Fanmiles sein Angebot weiter ausbauen, künftig sollen Firmen die Loyalty-Währung bei sich integrieren können.

Philipp Lahm ist Gesellschafter in mehreren Firmen

Mit seiner Holding war Lahm zudem im Sommer 2016 bei dem Müsli-Spezialisten Schneekoppe eingestiegen, wo der Fußballprofi als Gesellschafter fungiert. Darüber hinaus ist Lahm Gesellschafter der Berliner Agentur Die Brückenköpfe. Seit Anfang 2015 ist Lahm über seine Holding auch Gesellschafter bei dem bayerischen Sportproduktehersteller Sixtus. Zu dem Portfolio des umtriebigen Fußballstars gehört auch der Nürnberger Anbieter von betrieblicher Gesundheitsvorsorge Danova. Der Lahm-Holding gehören seit einem Jahr 40 Prozent des jungen Unternehmens. Auch bei der Deutschen Sportlotterie ist Lahm Gesellschafter.

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Former bankrupt Paul Webb arrived on Dragons’ Den New Zealand with the least cash – a mere $20 million to his name – but left the TV series agreeing to spend the most.

Mr Webb, who was declared bankrupt in 2000 after the collapse of the CityJet passenger airline service, agreed to invest $1.03 million on projects featured on the TV One show.

While he turned down the chance to buy into a moustache cleaner and cufflinks with back-lit photos, his deals included an electronic business card invention and a company that produces living herb holders.

The five wealthy “dragons” agreed on screen to invest around $3.4 million and made additional deals, including investing in a gambling website, that didn’t make it into the final edit.

Property investor Sir Bob Jones, who is worth an estimated $200 million, put his hand up for $1 million of investments.

His $300,000 pledge for 40 per cent of a company that makes adjustable neck protection harnesses was the largest amount from one investor on a single project.

Publisher Barry Colman agreed to spend around $725,000, reality TV queen Julie Christie promised almost $400,000 and Annette Presley, founder of internet service provider Slingshot, pledged $275,000.

The on-screen deals were subject to due diligence, so some would not ultimately go ahead.

Mr Colman said that to go on the show the dragons needed at least $500,000 available to invest.

“It sounds like nearly all of us went to the races and spent twice that anyway.”

He said the amount invested would rise because some projects would need more than first agreed.

Mr Webb shot down critics who said a former bankrupt might not have the cash to make the investments.

“I think if you check with the people that I invested in, I’ve clearly come to the party,” he said.

On the show Mr Webb came under fire from Sir Bob who quipped: “Have you thought about taking up money lending in South Auckland? You’d have a field day, my friend. You could sit there and sign ’em up at about 400 per cent interest.”

Sir Bob, who was in Australia yesterday and could not be contacted, also remarked that Ms Presley had “driven more men to homosexuality than any other woman in the history of the human race, and you can see why”.

Mr Webb played down the hostility. “I think Bob and I actually got on quite well.”

Ms Christie, whose production company made the show, said no one took life-long offence.

But Mr Colman said additional “confrontation” was edited out.

“None of us had really taken orders from anyone for a long time.”

Mr Colman said he was inspired by the New Zealand entrepreneurs who faced the dragons.

A favourite investment was a collapsible clothes line presented by Bernie Wadell, who left the den in tears after Mr Colman’s support.

“The old guy with the clothes line, he was the classic, he’d gone out to help himself,” said Mr Colman. “While it was nice to help old Bernie Wadell I could also see there was potential there.”

AGB Nielsen Media Research figures show the Dragons’ Den final on October 26 was the top-rating show in the series. It attracted a 27.4 per cent share of TV viewers aged 5 and over.

TVNZ said it was pleased with the eight-episode series but had not yet decided if another series would be commissioned.

HOW THEY WENT
Paul Webb
Was declared bankrupt in 2000 after the collapse of passenger airline service CityJet but rebuilt his personal wealth to an estimated $20 million. On screen, he agreed to $1.03 million of investments, ranging from an electronic business card invention to a company that makes living herb holders.

Bob Jones

Amassed an estimated personal fortune of $200 million. Sir Bob agreed to spend $1 million on projects in the show, including $300,000 – the largest amount from one investor on one project – for 40 per cent of a company that makes adjustable neck protection harnesses.

Barry Colman

The publisher, 58, is worth around $130 million and, as owner of a luxury yacht and private jet, is well known for his love of the high life. He put his hand up to spend more than $725,000 on projects on the show, including a collapsible clothes line and a non-spill pet bowl.

Julie Christie

The reality TV queen, chief executive of TV production company Eyeworks Touchdown, is worth around $25 million. She agreed to almost $400,000 in investments on the show, including a range of cotton clothing to prevent children with eczema scratching themselves.

Annette Presley

The face and founder of internet service provider Slingshot made her $35 million fortune predominantly in the telecommunications industry. She agreed to spend $275,000 on the show, including the Ink’d Clothing range of men’s underwear.

​​Vitamin B: Best Food Sources and Signs of Deficiency​

Vitamin B is found in a variety of foods such as meat, wholegrains, and fruits. Learn about the signs of vitamin B deficiency and more from the pharmacists at Retail Pharmacy at Changi General Hospital.

Best food sources of vitamin B

Get all eight B vitamins ​from a variety of foods:

  1. Whole grains (brown rice, barley, millet)
  2. Meat (red meat, poultry, fish)
  3. Eggs and dairy products (milk, cheese)
  4. Legumes (beans, lentils)
  5. ​Seeds and nuts (sunflower seeds, almonds)
  6. Dark, leafy vegetables (broccoli, spinach, kai lan)
  7. Fruits (citrus fruits, avocados, bananas)

Signs of vitamin B deficiency

The most common signs of vitamin B deficiency, specific to individual B vitamins, are given below:

Vitamin B6 deficiency:

  1. Anaemia
  2. Skin disorders such as seborrheic dermatitis
  3. Inflammation of the mouth (oral ulcers)
  4. Soreness and cracks at the corners of the mouth, chapped lips
  5. Tingling or numbness in hands and feet
  6. Irritability, confusion and depression

Vitamin B9 deficiency (folate or folic acid):

  1. Anaemia
  2. Increased risk of birth defect (in pregnancy)
  3. Mood changes (irritability, forgetfulness)
  4. Sore mouth and diarrhoea

Vitamin B12 deficiency

  1. Anaemia
  2. Tingling or numbness in hands and feet
  3. Memory lapses
  4. Mood changes (mental confusion, agitation)
  5. Unsteadiness and poor muscle coordination

While a vitamin B supplement may be beneficial in certain cases, it’s always best to seek dietary sources first and to discuss any supplements you want to take with your healthcare professional.

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Eating a healthy, balanced diet is an important part of maintaining good health, and can help you feel your best.

This means eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions, and consuming the right amount of food and drink to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.

Food groups in our diet

The Eatwell Guide shows that to have a healthy, balanced diet, people should try to:

  • eat 5 A Day
  • base meals on starchy foods like potatoes, bread, rice or pasta
  • have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks)
  • eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other protein
  • choose unsaturated oils and spreads, eaten in small amounts
  • drink plenty of fluids

If you’re having foods and drinks that are high in fat, salt and sugar, have these less often and in small amounts.

Try to choose a variety of different foods from the 5 main food groups.

Most people in the UK eat and drink too many calories, too much fat, sugar and salt, and not enough fruit, vegetables, oily fish or fibre.

Fruit and vegetables: are you getting your 5 A Day?

Fruit and vegetables are a vital source of vitamins and minerals, and should make up just over a third of the food we eat each day.

It’s advised that we eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day.

There’s evidence that people who eat at least 5 portions a day have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers.

Eating 5 portions is not as hard as it sounds. Just 1 apple, banana, pear or similar-sized fruit is 1 portion (80g).

A slice of pineapple or melon is 1 portion. Three heaped tablespoons of vegetables is another portion.

Having a sliced banana with your morning cereal is a quick way to get 1 portion. Swap your mid-morning biscuit for a tangerine, and add a side salad to your lunch.

Have a portion of vegetables with dinner, and snack on fresh fruit with natural plain yoghurt in the evening to reach your 5 A Day.

Starchy foods in your diet

Starchy foods should make up just over a third of everything we eat. This means we should base our meals on these foods.

Potatoes with the skins on are a great source of fibre and vitamins. For example, when having boiled potatoes or a jacket potato, eat the skin too.

Try to choose wholegrain or wholemeal varieties of starchy foods, such as brown rice, wholewheat pasta and brown, wholemeal or higher fibre white bread.

They contain more fibre, and usually more vitamins and minerals, than white varieties.

 

Milk and dairy foods: go for lower-fat varieties

Milk and dairy foods such as cheese and yoghurt are good sources of protein. They also contain calcium, which helps keep your bones healthy.

To enjoy the health benefits of dairy without eating too much fat, use semi-skimmed, 1% fat or skimmed milk, as well as lower-fat hard cheeses or cottage cheese, and lower-fat, lower-sugar yoghurt.

Unsweetened calcium-fortified dairy alternatives like soya milks, soya yoghurts and soya cheeses also count as part of this food group and can make good alternatives to dairy products.

Beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins

These foods are all good sources of protein, which is essential for the body to grow and repair itself. They’re also good sources of a range of vitamins and minerals.

Meat is a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals, including iron, zinc and B vitamins. It’s also one of the main sources of vitamin B12.

Try to eat lean cuts of meat and skinless poultry whenever possible to cut down on fat. Always cook meat thoroughly.

Fish is another important source of protein, and contains many vitamins and minerals. Oily fish is particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Aim for at least 2 portions of fish a week, including 1 portion of oily fish.

You can choose from fresh, frozen or canned, but remember that canned and smoked fish can often be high in salt.

Eggs and pulses (including beans, nuts and seeds) are also great sources of protein.

Nuts are high in fibre and a good alternative to snacks high in saturated fat, but they do still contain high levels of fat, so eat them in moderation.

Oils and spreads

Some fat in the diet is essential, but should be limited to small amounts.

It’s important to get most of our fat from unsaturated oils and spreads. Swapping to unsaturated fats can help lower cholesterol.

Eat less saturated fat and sugar

Too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which increases your risk of developing heart disease, while regularly consuming foods and drinks high in sugar increases your risk of obesity and tooth decay.

Find out more about why we need to cut down on saturated fat and sugar in our diet, which foods they occur in, and how we can make healthier choices in 8 tips for healthy eating.

Need to lose weight?

Most adults in England are overweight or obese. Check whether you’re a healthy weight using the BMI calculator.

You can use the panel below to download the NHS weight loss guide, our free 12-week diet and exercise plan.

The plan, which has been downloaded more than 2 million times, is designed to help you lose weight safely – and keep it off.

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When the scorching sun begins to nag sitting in front of air-conditioners, round the clock is not the right solution. You need to beat the heat by eating the right stuff.

Keeping the body hydrated also becomes the top concern during the summer season. Take a quick look at the fruits that reduce body heat.

What You Need to Do?

Do not wait for the time when you feel thirsty because your body already enters into the state of dehydration when you are thirsty. Your body needs at least 8-10 glasses of water. Make it a habit to drink water in small time intervals. Slice oranges, lemons and limes to make water more interesting and keep a pitcher full of it always in the refrigerator.

Cucumbers:

Contain 96% of water, cucumber is a must-have fruit in summers. Eating just one cucumber is equivalent to drinking 3 ounces of water. The fruit contains all the vital nutrients that keep the body heat down and keep you hydrated.

Other Health Benefits:

Apart from hydrating your bodies, cucumbers cleanse the blood and detoxifies your bodies. It has a high potassium content and therefore maintain fluid levels in your body which in turn improves blood circulation.

Watermelon:

One of the greatest sources of Vitamin C, watermelons is another fruit in the list that keeps your body well-hydrated during summer. It contains 95% of water and quenches thirst.

Other Health Benefits:

Helpful in edema, kidney problems and keeps urinary tack healthy. It flushes the toxins out of the body and treat depression effectively.

Tomatoes:

Considered as an indispensable part of cooking, tomatoes are one such fruit that contains your body well hydrated during summers. It contains 94% water and are extremely rich in lycopene which is a powerful antioxidant.

Other Health Benefits

Lycopenes reduce risk of cancer. It helps in building blood, relieves high blood pressure. The tomato alkalinize the blood and therefore it treats acid reflux effectively.

Pineapple:

It is pretty effective and neutralizes the summer heat. Those who do not like its taste can consider extracting its juice. It quenches thirst and one of the best fruits to hydrate your bodies.

Other Health Benefits:

The fruit contains bromelain that increases digestion and helps destroy parasites. Pineapple has bromelain that improves digestion and destroys intestine parasites. The fruit also anti-inflammatory properties and cure other intestinal issues. It is used to treat sunstroke, indigestion and diarrhea.

Lettuce:

This leafy veggie has about 95% of water and it is highly refreshing. It hydrates your body well and has a amount of fiber.

Other Health Benefits:

It is one of the richest sources of Vitamin A and potassium hence apart from keeping the body hydrated it improves blood circulation and good for eyesight.

​​Vitamin C: Best Food Sources, Why You Need It, and More

The best source of Vitamin C comes from fruits and vegetables. Pharmacists from Retail Pharmacy at Changi General Hospital explain why Vitamin C is good for you.

Eating a couple of citrus fruits every day will exceed your Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin C o​r ascorbic acid. For men aged 19 and above, the RDA is 90 mg; for women, it is 75 mg.

So is there any benefit in taking a vitamin C supplement as the body only absorbs the vitamin C it needs?

If your diet already includes a few servings of fruits and vegetables every day, taking a separate vitamin C supplement may not be necessary. Any excess is excreted in the urine.​ In fact, ingesting more than 2,000 mg of vitamin C every day may cause nausea, diarrhoea and kidney stones.

All about vitamin C

Our bodies do not produce or store the water-soluble vitamin C. We need to replenish our supply of vitamin C every day – and the best source is from fruits and vegetables.

Best food sources of vitamin C

Citrus fruits such as orange, kiwi, lemon, guava, grapefruit, and vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts and capsicums are rich, natural sources of vitamin C. Other vitamin C-rich fruits include papaya, cantaloupe and strawberries.

One cup of raw capsicums will provide 117 mg of vitamin C, which exceeds the RDA for both men and women. A combination of a kiwi fruit (75 mg of vitamin C) and a vegetable will provide all the vitamin C you need in a day.

Why you need vitamin C

It protects your cells from free radical damage

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that protects your cells from being damaged by free radicals produced by cigarette smoke, air pollution, excessive sunlight and normal metabolism. Free radicals are thought to play a role in rapid ageing and diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

It is needed to make collagen

Vitamin C is essential for the synthesis of collagen which is needed to support new tissue growth. It promotes a healthy skin as well as the healing of cuts and wounds. Collagen is also found in the connective tissues of healthy gums, bones, muscles, cartilage, and blood vessels.

It improves iron absorption

Vitamin C increases the absorption of non-heme iron found in vegetables, fruits and nuts.

Potential interactions with vitamin C

Excessive doses of vitamin C from over-supplementation may interfere with certain medications or conditions.

Too much ascorbic acid or vitamin C (2000mg/day) may increase the amount of aluminium absorbed from aluminium compounds. Patients with kidney impairment on long term use of aluminium-containing compounds should avoid high dose of vitamin C supplements.

Concurrent administration of oestrogen and large doses of vitamin C (1g daily) may increase oestrogen levels, so high dose vitamin C supplementation should be avoided. Women on oestrogen therapy should not substantially vary their intake of vitamin C supplements.

Patients with diabetes, kidney stones or kidney dysfunction should avoid prolonged use of high-dose vitamin C supplementation.

You should always talk to your doctor first before taking any high dose vitamin C supplementation on a long-term basis, especially if you have any other underlying medical conditions.

Signs of vitamin C deficiency

Vitamin C deficiency is rare, but its signs are bleeding gums, easy bruising, dry scaly skin, muscle weakness, and joint and muscle aches.

In extreme cases, a vitamin C deficiency may lead to scurvy, a disease characterised by bleeding, bruising, anaemia and weakness. Such a case, involving a 37-year-old woman with underlying obsessive-compulsive and eating disorders, was actually reported in the Singapore Medical Journal in 2006.

A deficiency in vitamin C may also impair wound healing. Patients recovering from injuries, surgeries, burns and wounds may benefit from a short-term use of vitamin C supplement as it can promote the healing process.

When buying supplements, consumers should look for products from reliable sources to ensure quality and safety and evaluate the manufacturer’s health claims carefully.

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Planning meals

Coming up with shopping lists that include foods from all the food groups can seem like an endless process. To keep meal planning interesting and easy while providing balanced meals the whole family will enjoy, try asking yourself these questions:

  • What season is it? In summer your family might tend to do more grilling and in winter more stews and casseroles.
  • What do we have in the pantry? Try to keep the cupboards, refrigerator and freezer full of nutrient-rich foods.

Using these questions, come up with a few entree ideas for the week and create a shopping list  to accommodate the menu and fill up the pantry.

Balancing meals

Balanced meals include one food from each food group- Dairy; Vegetables; Fruits; Grains and Protein. The new MyPlate icon is a good representation of a balanced meal because all five food groups are included. When planning a meal, try to include “five of five.” Here are a few examples of how to do it:

  • Spaghetti is a frequent menu item for many families. Spaghetti includes ground meat, vegetables (onion, mushrooms and marinara sauce) and grains (spaghetti). What food groups are missing? Dairy and Fruit. Pour milk to drink and add a fruit salad (maybe even as dessert) for a balanced, nutrient-rich family meal.
  • When the weather turns cold and the family meal menu includes Beef Stew with meat and vegetables, then balance the meal by serving dinner rolls (grains), sliced fruit (whatever is in season) and milk to drink.
  • If you’re serving oatmeal made with milk for breakfast, then consider adding yogurt and fruit to add flavor to the oatmeal, and maybe a hard cooked egg to boost the protein. Another option would be to add a scrambled egg with salsa.
  • When deli sandwiches are on the menu for lunch, add cheese to the sandwich, a side of fruit and baby carrots.

By taking a balanced approach to planning meals you make sure your family is getting adequate nutrition. When options from every food group are available at every meal, then even picky eaters are likely to find something they will want to eat. As children get older, use the balanced meal approach to add more interest and variety to your healthy family meals. For example, try adding more vegetables into a casserole or adding fruit into a quesadilla or green salad.

Does every meal need to be perfectly balanced? Of course not. However, this rule of thumb for menu planning is a simple way to plan healthy family meals.

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Planning to turn over a new leaf and ready to be more healthy? Here are five amazing superfruits you should add to your diet. Take the first step and start munching on these superfruits!

The nutrients in fruits are essential for health and maintenance of our body. Fruits help maintain optimum health because of the health nurturing phytochemicals it contains – many of which are still being identified. Here are five amazing superfruits you should add to your diet.

Superfruits For A Healthier You

Now is the perfect time to add new types of food to your diet. If you haven’t heard of these 5 popular superfruits, then not only are you missing out, but you also aren’t benefiting from the huge health benefits these kinds of food provide. Polysaccharides, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. Let’s go on an exotic journey and discover five unique super fruits you should include in your diet for optimum health.

1. Acai Berries

If you suffer from health problems such as arthritis, erectile dysfunction, or even a neurological disease, then your best option might be to add more acai berries in your diet! Not only does this delicious superfruit help lower your cholesterol, but it also can fight cancer, heart diseases, and other common problems! A decade ago, this was an uncommon fruit, but now you can find acai berries and acai juice in various supermarkets and health food stores around the world.

2. Figs

Figs are one of the more common fruits on the list of top super fruits, but that doesn’t mean it is any less packed with vital nutrients! There are many different varieties of figs that come in an assortment of different colors and textures. Most figs are dried either in the sun or artificially, but there’s nothing quite like a fresh fig. Figs are all filled with fiber; they’re a plant-based source of vitamin B6 and have copper, manganese, and potassium in them. This helps stabilize blood sugar, lowers your high blood pressure, and can even assist in losing weight.

3. Mangosteen

People all around the world have begun to catch the mangosteen fever! I, for myself loves this superfruit. It’s known for its delicious white fruit encased around a vibrant purple exterior. What’s amazing about this special superfruit is it can cure ailments, fight the common cold, and even reduce the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Mangosteens last for a long time when kept in the right condition, so there’s a good reason to stock up on this healthy superfruit the next time you visit your local supermarket.

4. Pomegranates

If you’re looking for a heart-healthy superfruit, then the pomegranate should be at the top of your list. Pomegranates have some amazing health-benefiting properties and can lower your blood pressure, lower your bad cholesterol, and reduce your risk of cardiac and heart diseases. It also supports healthy growth of the nervous, skeletal, and cardiovascular system. You might not be able to access the fruit year round, but delicious pomegranate juice is a great way to benefit from the health properties of pomegranates throughout the year. That’s why I have stocks of pomegranate juice in my freezer.

 

5. Goji Berries

The goji berry can’t be beaten when it comes to packing tons of nutrition in a plant-based food. If you purchase them dried, then you can soak them in water overnight to make a wonderful drink that makes smoothies taste out of this world! In addition to tasting great, goji berries boost the immune system, help the kidney and liver function better, and provide you with tons of iron and vitamin C. Goji berries are also a great addition to vegan meals as they add tons of flavor!

8 Foods To Increase Your Vitamin D Intake

More and more evidence points to the importance of vitamin D: The nutrient helps to combat depression, keep bones strong, and strengthen your immune system. The latest research also suggests that having a vitamin D deficiency could double your risk of dementia. Want to up your intake? While sun exposure and vitamin D supplements can help, you can also increase your consumption naturally by eating foods rich in the nutrient. Here are eight vitamin D foods you’ll want to add to your diet.

Salmon (3 oz)
IUs: 447
Percent Daily Value: 112

Canned Tuna (3 oz)
IUs: 154
Percent Daily Value: 39

Fortified Orange Juice (1 cup)
IUs: 137
Percent Daily Value: 34

Fortified Milk (1 cup)
IUs: 115-124 (depending on amount of fat in the milk)
Percent Daily Value: 29-31

Fortified Yogurt (6 oz)
IUs: 80
Percent Daily Value: 20

Sardines (2)
IUs: 46
Percent Daily Value: 12

Eggs (1 large)
IUs: 41
Percent Daily Value: 10

Fortified Cereal (1 cup)
IUs: 40
Percent Daily Value: 10

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Give the apples and bananas a rest and round out your repertoire with these exotic, antioxidant-packed picks

Though Americans are eating more fruit these days (go us!), more than half are the old standbys: bananas, apples, and oranges. Yes, they’re good for you—but you’re missing out. “Different fruits provide an array of disease-fighting vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants,” says Joy Bauer, RD, author of Joy Bauer’s Food Cures. In fact, broadening your horizons can measurably improve your health. Colorado State University nutritionists asked 106 women to eat 8 to 10 servings of produce daily for 8 weeks. Half the group chose from 18 different varieties, while the others ate the same 5 over and over again. Two weeks later, blood tests showed that the high-variety group reduced their rates of DNA oxidation, possibly making their bodies more resilient against disease; the other group had no change. (Looking for answers to your most pressing health questions?

Ready to mix it up? Here’s a quickie primer on some of the smartest “exotic” picks based on their health benefits—and how to serve them in place of common favorites.

For perfect blood pressure

Good: Bananas
Better: Fresh figs

Why: Six fresh figs have 891 mg of blood pressure-lowering potassium, nearly 20% of your daily need—about double what you’d find in one large banana. In a recent 5-year study from the Netherlands, high-potassium diets were linked with lower rates of death from all causes in healthy adults age 55 and older.

You’ll also get…a boost to your bones. Figs are one of the best fruit sources of calcium, with nearly as much per serving (six figs) as ½ cup of fat-free milk!

Shop for figs that are dry on the surface and feel heavy in the hand. A perfectly ripe fig may have slight cracks that are bursting with the fruit’s sweet syrup.

Serve by chopping and adding to yogurt, cottage cheese, oatmeal, or green salads. Or, enjoy them as a savory snack: Cut a slit in the side and stuff with 1/2 teaspoon of a low-fat version of a soft cheese such as chèvre or Brie.

To protect your heart and fight disease

Good: Red grapes
Better: Lychee

Why: A French study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that lychee has the second-highest level of heart-healthy polyphenols of all fruits tested—nearly 15% more than the amount found in grapes (cited by many as a polyphenol powerhouse). The compounds may also play an important role in the prevention of degenerative diseases such as cancer. “Polyphenols act like a force field, helping to repel foreign invaders from damaging your cells,” says David Grotto, RD, author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life!

You’ll also get…protection from breast cancer. A recent test-tube and animal study from Sichuan University in China found that lychee may help to prevent the formation of breast cancer cells, thanks to the fruit’s powerful antioxidant activity.

Shop for lychee with few black marks on the rough, leathery shell, which can be anywhere from red to brown in color. Look for fruit that gives when pressed gently. Shells should be intact and the fruit attached to the stem.

Serve by peeling or breaking the outer covering just below the stem; use a knife to remove the black pit. Add to stir-fries or skewer onto chicken kebabs to add a sweet, grapelike flavor.

For beautiful skin

Good: Orange
Better: Guava

Why: One cup of guava has nearly five times as much skin-healing vitamin C (it’s a key ingredient in collagen production) as a medium orange (377 mg versus 83 mg)—that’s more than five times your daily need. Women who eat a lot of vitamin C-packed foods have fewer wrinkles than women who don’t eat many, according to a recent study that tracked the diets of more than 4,000 American women ages 40 to 74.

You’ll also get…bacteria-busting power. Guava can protect against foodborne pathogens such as Listeria and Staph, according to research by microbiologists in Bangladesh. Also, a cooperative study by the USDA and Thai scientists found that guava has as much antioxidant activity as some well-known superfoods like blueberries and broccoli (though every plant contains a different mix of the healthful compounds).

Shop for guava using your nose. A ripe guava has a flowery fragrance, gives a bit to the touch, and has a thin, pale green to light yellowish rind.

Serve by adding to fruit cobbler recipes (the tiny seeds are edible) or simmer chunks in water as you would to make applesauce. Guava also makes a super smoothie: Blend ½ banana, ½ ripe guava, a handful of strawberries, ½ cup soy milk, and a few ice cubes.

To lower cholesterol

Good: Apples
Better: Asian pears

Why: One large Asian pear has nearly 10 g of cholesterol-lowering fiber, about 40% of your daily need; a large apple has about half that much. People who ate the most fiber had the lowest total and “bad” cholesterol levels, according to a recent study of Baltimore adults.

You’ll also get…protection from creeping weight gain. The same researchers found that people who ate the most fiber also weighed the least and had the lowest body mass index and waist circumference.

Shop for pears with a firm feel; fragrant aroma; and blemish-free, yellow brownish skin. Some pears are speckled in appearance; the markings shouldn’t affect flavor.

Serve by dicing it into a salad of Boston lettuce, crumbled goat cheese, walnuts, and mandarin oranges. Or, make it a dessert: Add peeled and cored pears to a saucepan with 1 cup white wine, 1 teaspoon honey, 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger, and enough water to cover the pears. Cover and simmer 40 minutes or until pears are soft.

To fight cancer

Good: Watermelon
Better: Papaya

Why: It is one of the top sources of beta-cryptoxanthin, which research suggests can protect against lung cancer. Like watermelon, it is also a rich source of lycopene. “Although there is currently no recommendation for how much lycopene you should consume in a day, research shows that the nutrient may protect against several different types of cancer, including stomach, endometrial, and prostate,” says Grotto.

You’ll also get…better healing. Papayas may help speed burn recovery when used topically, thanks partly to the enzyme papain, which also aids in digestion. “Papain helps break down amino acids, the building blocks of protein,” says Elisa Zied, RD, an American Dietetic Association spokesperson.

Shop for a papaya with yellow golden skin that yields to gentle pressure.

Serve by cutting lengthwise and discarding black seeds. Scoop the flesh using a spoon and sprinkle with lemon juice. Or combine chopped papaya, mango, red bell pepper, red onion, raspberries, lemon juice, and cilantro for a fruit salsa. Serve over grilled fish.