Blueberries have more antioxidants—those magical molecules that can help prevent a host of maladies— than 40 other common fruits and vegetables. The antioxidant plant pigments that make blueberries blue guard against heart disease, cancer and age-related blindness and memory loss.
How much? 1/2 cup (125 mL) of blueberries equals one fruit and vegetable serving per day.
Tip: Sprinkle blueberries on your pancakes or cereal. **cooking the berries destroys valuable vitamin C.
Garlic has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. Most of its disease- fighting potential comes from its sulfur compounds, which act as antioxidants, providing many of its cardiovascular benefits. Just six or more cloves of garlic a week can slash your risk of colorectal, stomach and prostate cancer in half compared to eating one clove a week or less.
How much? Incorporate at least one garlic clove into your diet every day.
Tip: Chop or crush your garlic, then let it stand for 10 minutes to fully release its healing potential.
Consider broccoli your number one cancer fighter, thanks to its sulfur compounds, such as sulforaphane, which you can smell as broccoli cooks. These compounds signal our genes to boost production of enzymes that detoxify potentially cancer-causing compounds. Eat more broccoli and you could slash your risk of everything from breast and lung cancer to stomach and colon cancer.
How much? 125 mL (1/2 cup) of cooked broccoli is one fruit and vegetable serving.
Tip: Steam broccoli for 3 to 4 minutes until it’s crisp-tender to free up more of its sulforaphane.
Yogurt is a great source of bone-building calcium, but its real strength lies in live beneficial bacteria, know as probiotics, that keep down the growth of harmful bacteria in your gut. Eating more yogurt could help with inflammatory bowel disease, ulcers, urinary tract infections and yeast infections.
How much? 3⁄4 of a cup (175 mL) of low-fat or fat- free yogurt with live cultures is one serving of milk/dairy products.
Tip: When coating chicken, pork or fish with bread crumbs, replace the eggs used to moisten the meat with plain yogurt.
Oats’ cholesterol- and blood pressure-lowering powers come from beta-glucan, a type of soluble fibre. One cup (250 mL) a day of cooked oat bran, 1 1⁄2 cups (375 mL) of cooked oatmeal or thee packets of instant oatmeal provide enough beta-glucan to lower blood cholesterol by about five percent and heart attack risk by about 10 percent. Oats contain insoluble fiber and some carbohydrates that curb your hunger, give you strength for better workout and reduce fat content in your body. When you are buying oatmeal, make sure that you choose one that is flavorless. Flavoured oats contain sugar and chemicals. Oats being high in fibers also help in digestion.
How much? Aim for 10 grams of soluble fibre each day. Cooked oats contain 2 to 3 grams per serving.
Tip: Buy the type of oatmeal you’ll eat. It doesn’t matter if it’s steel-cut or instant but stay away from the flavored kinds.
A tablespoon of ground flaxseed sprinkled over cereal or yogurt provides an easy 2.3 grams of fiber, often more than what’s in the cereal itself. But flaxseed is most revered for its lingans. These act like estrogen in the body, blocking estrogen receptors on cells and contributing to reduced rates of certain hormone-related cancers, such as breast cancer. Their anti-inflammatory power may also help keep conditions from acne to asthma at bay.
How much? Sneak 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 25 mL) of ground flaxseed into your diet daily.
Tip: Make sure your flax is ground; otherwise, the seeds will come out the same way they went in (whole), and you won’t reap the health benefits.
Cinnamon is one of the most powerful healing spices. It’s become most famous for its ability to improve blood sugar control in people with diabetes. This apple pie spice can help prevent blood clots and has antibacterial and anti- inflammatory properties. It has been shown to conquer E. coli, among other types of bacteria.
How much? As little as 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 teaspoon of (1 to 2 mL) a day could cut triglycerides and total cholesterol by 12 to 30 percent.
Tip: Sprinkle some cinnamon in your daily coffee, apple slices or cereal to reap the benefits of this super-spice.
An egg is a protein rich food that is low in calories and fat. Having one boiled egg daily will help burn belly fat. Other than being a rich source of proteins, minerals and anti-oxidants, eggs also contain an amino acid called leucine. This acts as a catalyst in burning extra fats.
How much? One a day or 7 per week is a healthy amount
Tip: avoid adding more saturated fats to your cooking style. Try these drier or oil-free cooking methods instead:
- Pan-frying using a non stick pan
Tea is one of the most potent sources of antioxidants in nature (more potent than any fruit or vegetable). Tea’s antioxidants offer protection from heart disease, stroke and cancer. They appear to protect against heart disease by slowing the breakdown of “bad” LDL cholesterol, preventing blood clots and improving blood vessel function. People who drink a cup or two of tea a day have a 46 percent lower risk of developing narrowed arteries.
How much? Brew up two to five cups daily.
Tip: Drink most of your tea between meals since the tannins interfere with the absorption of iron from food.
Beans are in fact good for your heart, thanks in large part to their soluble fibre, which soaks up cholesterol so the body can dispose of if before it can stick to artery walls. Studies find that diets high in soluble fibre can cut total cholesterol by 10 to 15 percent. A recent study also ranked beans among the top antioxidant foods.
How much? 3⁄4 cup (175 mL) of beans equals one serving of meat and alternatives.
Tip: Beans contain more protein than any other plant food, but the protein is incomplete. Eat a grain such as rice at any time of the day to “complete” the protein.
Bonus – Almonds and walnuts
Nuts keep your stomach full for a longer time and they are good fats. Nuts in general are a good source of nutrients to burn fat for those who are vegetarian. Nuts are full of omega-3 fat that increases energy and metabolism.
Almonds: they’re high in vitamin E, magnesium, they’re natural antioxidants and they help with heart health and skin healing. They also contain mono- and polyunsaturated fats, which help reduce “bad” cholesterol in our bodies.
Walnuts: these nuts are packed with antioxidants, phytosterols and other compounds that help keep breast cancer away, according to research. They’re also full of healthy omega-3s, which can help with brain health and blood pressure.
How much? An ounce or 28 grams of nuts per day. That’s about as much as what fits in the palm of your hand. And they can be a mixture of nuts or a handful of one kind, like almonds.
Tips: make a few little tupperware containers up of nuts and keep them in your car/ purse for when you are hungry. Portion control is the key when it comes to nuts.
I hope you found this list informative and will start filling your kitchen with some, if not all, of these healthy foods. I would love to hear from you, please comment below and let me now what you think. If you want more great information leave click the box below to receive my monthly newsletter right into your inbox.