See actual website article for links embedded in the article as well as some recipies at the bottom of the page.
8 Super Foods Your Body Will Thank You for Eating
By Leslie Fink, MS, RD for WeightWatchers.com
Like it or not, Mom was justified when she forced you to eat your vegetables. Broccoli and Brussels sprouts give you nutrients and substances that might truly have an impact on your health. Same with crunchy peanuts, sugar-sweet berries and thirst-quenching iced tea.
If youre concentrating on eating foods that have a lot of nutrients and phytochemicals (naturally occurring plant substances that fight disease), youre hedging your bet for at least a healthier life, if not a longer one, says Barbara Gollman, MS, RD, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. Heres her input on eight super foods to stock up on:
- Nuts. Peanuts, almonds, pecans delicious! Eat a small amount of nuts on a regular basis, and you might reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer. Plus, theyre chock full of the antioxidant vitamin E, artery-unclogging monounsaturated fats and lots of other phytochemicals.
- Chile peppers (zero POINTS). Capsaicin, the substance that gives chiles their heat, acts as a disease-preventing phytochemical, says Gollman.
- Tomatoes (zero POINTS) and tomato products. The antioxidant lycopene in tomato-rich foods may help prevent prostate cancer, and might also help prevent breast cancer. Cooked tomatoes are more effective than raw ones, says Gollman. So load up on tomato paste and tomato sauces.
- Berries. All berries are good for you, but blueberries and raspberries seem to hold top spots on the berry nutrition chart. Their anthocyanins and ellagic acid (the substances that give them their rich colors) possess potential cancer- and heart disease-preventing antioxidant properties. Plus, theyre high in fiber and vitamin C.
- Leafy greens (zero POINTS). Folate, a much-talked-about B vitamin, does triple duty. In addition to helping fend off heart disease and possibly even cancer, its believed to prevent neural tube defects in unborn babies. So go for anything thats leafy and green. Some of Gollmans tasty suggestions: Mix steamed chard with minced garlic and fresh lemon juice, and make pesto sauce with basil and kale.
- Quinoa. Pronounced KEEN-wah, this nutty-tasting food is unlike any other grain (although not a true grain, it is often called one). Its the only grain considered to be a complete protein, comments Gollman. If thats not enough to give it clout, consider that the sterols it contains may lower cholesterol, decreasing your risk for heart disease.
- Yogurt. Sure, its good for your bones, but thats not all. Most yogurts contain good bacteria that help maintain proper digestive health and may help boost your immune system. Look for the words live and active cultures such as L. acidophilus and Bifidus on ingredient labels.
- Tea (zero POINTS) Whether served iced, hot or decaffeinated, black or green tea as well as some other non-herbal teas might help prevent cancer and heart disease due to the antioxidant effects of the flavonoids and polyphenols they contain. Up your tea intake with some of Gollmans ideas: Make a tea slush with iced tea and pured fruit, or try jazzing up regular iced tea with frozen mango cubes or slices.