10 Foods You Probably Didn’t Realize Were Really Good for You
As we transition from autumn to winter—and germs begin to multiply—you may wonder how to protect your body from unwanted illness. Healthy foods are one of the best ways we can protect ourselves from the inside out. “Super Food” lists can vary, but you will find these foods in the research time and time again.
- Just one lemon has more than 100 percent of your daily intake of vitamin C, which also may help increase “good” cholesterol levels and strengthen bones. Consider squeezing a half to a whole lemon into your first glass of water every morning.
- It’s true: broccoli has earned its spot. This super food will never come off the list. One medium stalk of broccoli contains more than 100 percent of your daily vitamin K and almost 200 percent of your recommended daily dose of vitamin C—two essential bone-building nutrients.
- 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.
- Of all nuts, walnuts contain the most omega- 3 fatty acids, which may help reduce cholesterol.
- Omega-3s have been shown to improve mood and fight cancer; they may also protect against sun damage, too (but don’t skip the SPF!).
- The antioxidant melatonin in walnuts helps to regulate sleep.
- Eating a serving of legumes (beans, peas, and lentils) four times a week can lower your risk of heart disease by 22 percent.
- That same habit may also reduce your risk of breast cancer.
- The darker the bean, the more antioxidants it contains. One study found that black bean hulls contain 40 times the amount of antioxidants found in white bean hulls.
- 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.
- Rich in healthy, satisfying fats, avocados were proven in one study to lower cholesterol by about 22 percent.
- One avocado has more than half the fiber and 40 percent of the folate you need daily, which may reduce your risk of heart disease.
#8: Dark Chocolate
- Just one-fourth of an ounce daily can reduce blood pressure in otherwise healthy individuals.
- Cocoa powder is rich in flavonoids, antioxidants shown to reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol and increase “good” HDL levels.
- Eating just under a cup of mixed berries (such as red raspberries, strawberries, blueberries) daily for eight weeks was associated with increased levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and lowered blood pressure.
- An apple a day may keep the doctor away. Apples can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease by 13-22 percent, and apples are associate with a lower risk of stroke. Apples can also help lower your cholesterol.