Food #1: Lemons
Why They’re Healthy: Just one lemon has more than 100 percent of your daily intake of vitamin C, which may help increase “good” HDL cholesterol levels and strengthen bones. Citrus flavonoids found in lemons may help inhibit the growth of cancer cells and act as an anti-inflammatory.
Quick Tip: Add a slice of lemon to your green tea. One study found that citrus increases your body’s ability to absorb the antioxidants in the tea by about 80 percent.
Food #2: Broccoli
Why It’s Healthy: One medium stalk of broccoli contains more than 100 percent of your daily vitamin K requirement and almost 200 percent of your recommended daily dose of vitamin C — two essential bone-building nutrients. The same serving also helps stave off numerous cancers.
Quick Tip: Zap it! Preserve up to 90 percent of broccoli’s vitamin C by microwaving. (Steaming or boiling holds on to just 66 percent of the nutrient.)
Food #3: Dark Chocolate
Why It’s Healthy: Just one-fourth of an ounce daily can reduce blood pressure in otherwise healthy individuals. Cocoa powder is rich in flavonoids, antioxidants were shown to reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol and increase “good” HDL levels.
Quick Tip: A dark chocolate bar contains about 53.5 mg of flavonoids; a milk chocolate bar has fewer than 14.
Food #4: Potatoes
Why They’re Healthy: One red potato contains 66 micrograms of cell-building folate — about the same amount found in one cup of spinach or broccoli. One sweet potato has almost eight times the amount of cancer-fighting and immune-boosting vitamin A you need daily.
Quick Tip: Let your potato cool before eating. Research shows that doing so can help you burn close to 25 percent more fat after a meal, thanks to a fat-resistant starch.
Healthy Food #5: Walnuts
Why They’re Healthy: Contain the most omega-3 fatty acids, which may help reduce cholesterol, of all nuts. Omega-3s have been shown to improve mood and fight cancer; they may protect against sun damage, too (but don’t skip the SPF!).
Quick Tip: Eat a few for dessert: The antioxidant melatonin, found in walnuts, helps to regulate sleep.
Food #6: Garlic
Why It’s Healthy: Garlic is a powerful disease fighter that can inhibit the growth of bacteria, including E. coli. Allicin, a compound found in garlic, works as a potent anti-inflammatory and has been shown to help lower cholesterol and blood-pressure levels.
Quick Tip: Crushed fresh garlic releases the most allicin. Just don’t overcook; garlic exposed to high heat for more than 10 minutes loses important nutrients.
Food #7: Spinach
Why It’s Healthy: Spinach contains lutein and zeaxanthin, two immune-boosting antioxidants important for eye health. Recent research found that among cancer-fighting fruits and veggies, spinach is one of the most effective.
Quick Tip: Spinach is a healthy and flavourless addition to any smoothie. You won’t taste it, we promise! Try blending 1 cup spinach, 1 cup grated carrots, 1 banana, 1 cup apple juice, and ice.