Here are 25 delicious and healthy foods that will keep your body in the condition it was meant to be in from the day you were born. You’ll find links to recipes for the foods you see here as well as additional nutritional information on these disease fighting wonders. With these foods in your cupboards and refrigerator, your doctors will wonder what miracle drug you’ve been taking to be in such great shape!
1. Broccoli – This green veggie will keep your immune system in tip-top shape. Try it with cheese if you don’t like the taste or add some seasoned salt. Broccoli is rich in vitamin C, fiber, beta-carotene, calcium and potassium. Bumping up your vitamin C intake has long been associated as a way to fight the common cold. It’s also been suggested that eating broccoli can lower your risks for certain types of cancer.
2. Pomegranates – Pomegranates are the pioneers of the antioxidant craze. This red jewel like fruit is sweet, tangy and loaded with antioxidants, potassium and vitamin C. Antioxidants are thought to repel free radicals that harm your body and may eventually lead to cancer. You can add pomegranates to lots of recipes to add a kick much like cranberry sauce or juice one to have a yummy, healthy treat without all the extra sugar that comes in concentrated juice versions.
3. Citrus fruits – Think oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, tangerines and about half a dozen others. Citrus fruits are some of the best fruits to boost your immunity to colds, certain types of cancer and, of course, scurvy. Citrus fruits have lots of vitamin C and flavonoids, which act as antioxidants.
4. Blueberries – Blueberries are as good for you as they are delicious. They contain high amounts of vitamins C and E, fiber as well as other vitamins and minerals necessary for a healthy body and immune system. Even though the berries are sweet, blueberries are low in calories. Mix some blueberries in a cup of plain yogurt or cereal for an extra sweet treat. They freeze really well too so you can enjoy them even when blueberries aren’t in season.
5. Apples – The saying, an apple a day, keeps the doctor away, holds true. More now than ever with research indicating that the apple’s peel contains phytochemicals that can help keep the deadliest form of breast cancer from forming in human breast cells according to the U.S. Apple Association. Eating apples can also help reduce other forms of cancer and stave off Alzheimer’s disease. Try them sliced with some fat-free caramel dip.
6. Olives and Olive Oil – Olives are not just for martinis. Olive oil is surprisingly healthy too. Olives and olive oil have been used for medicinal purposes since the ancient Greeks. The oil can be taken as a mild laxative or used as a fat in cooking. Both black and green olives contain essential fatty acids and are great for those with diabetes and as a safeguard against heart disease. Olives and olive oils are low in calories and fat.
7. Carrots – Did your mother ever tell you to eat your carrots because they’re good for your eyes? Well, she was right. Carrots are full of vitamin A, an essential vitamin for healthy eye development, and beta-carotene, an antioxidant that is also thought to seek and destroy cancer cells. Carrots also have vitamin B, C and E and glutathione, which aids in liver detoxification.
8. Sweet Potatoes – Sweet potatoes are sweet and chock full of vitamins to keep your body happy and healthy. Look to the root for vitamin A, B6 and C, beta-carotene, copper, fiber, iron, manganese and potassium. Some studies have shown that the nutrients contained in sweet potatoes can help relieve asthma, arthritis and other inflammation-related conditions and diseases.
9. Tomatoes - Not much beats a juicy, homegrown tomato except the health benefits you’ll get from eating one. Tomatoes contain lycopene, which has been found to reduce the risks of certain types of cancers. Studies have shown lycopene can significantly reduce a man’s chances of prostate cancer.
10. Salmon – Salmon contains essential fatty acids that aid in the regeneration of skin and other cells throughout the body. Grill some on a cedar plank for a smoky taste that will please your taste buds.
11. Beans, Lentils and other Legumes – Beans, beans. Good for your heart… You probably know the rest. But really, beans are full of fiber and fiber is essential to a healthy digestive system. Plus, you can use beans in a million different ways. Check out some incredible bean recipes at the Bean Bible.
Lentils are a staple food that will never go bad as long as they are dried. Lentils are a type of bean that contain high amounts of fiber, can help lower high cholesterol and can be used as a meat substitute. Legumes are a catch-all phrase for beans, peas, alfalfa sprouts, clovers and other dried pods of a fruit/vegetable. Legumes are a great source of protein and a favorite of vegetarians.
12. Avocados – Avocados are full of good fats, or essential fatty acids, and 20 other vitamins and minerals that will help maintain a healthy heart and immune system. Spread some mashed avocado onto a sandwich for a tasty mayonnaise substitute.
13. Mangoes – Mangoes are increasing in popularity and there is virtually no limit to what you can do with this tender, yellow-orange fruit. This fruit is a good source of vitamin A, which will keep you seeing clearly for years to come.
14. Spinach – As green as this vegetable is, it’s no wonder it’s a boon for your health. Try it as your salad greens or stuffed in a portabella mushroom with some feta cheese. Any way you cook spinach, it’s good. The leafy green is high in vitamin A, C and E, iron and low in calories.
15. Garlic – Garlic isn’t just for warding off vampires. It’s got a few more tricks and most of them are nutritionally beneficial. Garlic has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels, possibly guard against the common cold and other illnesses and naturally repel mosquitoes.
16. Twinkies – just kidding. But, surprise! Chocolate makes the list. Chocolate – Chocolate is not only a delicious treat, but if you eat a piece or two with a high concentration of cocoa, you’re treating yourself to a heaping of antioxidants too. Chocolate has about 300 different antioxidants in it, and it’s a good source of magnesium, a mineral that aids nerve transmissions.
17. Spicy Foods like Thai or Latin Dishes – Try spicy foods if your palate can handle them to help reduce your risk against certain illnesses like cancer and the common cold.
18. Chiles – Chilies have been the subject of recent health research since the spicy pepper has shown benefits like anti-inflammatory properties for people who suffer from asthma and arthritis. It’s also been linked to reduced risks of cancers like prostate and stomach cancer.
19. Red and Yellow Bell Peppers – Red and yellow bell peppers are better for you than the green varieties because they contain lots of vitamin A and C. Bell peppers may help lower a person’s risk of cardiovascular diseases and decrease the risk of stroke and heart attacks. Look to the red variety for more lycopene, a wonder carotenoid found in tomatoes that reduces the risk of certain types of cancer.
20. Whole Grains – You can lower your risk of getting a whole host of diseases and health problems by eating whole grains instead of refined, processed grains. Whole grains like oats, whole wheat bread and brown rice can reduce your risk of certain types of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, asthma and obesity.
21. Oatmeal – Oatmeal can help lower your cholesterol and blood pressure. A bowl of the good stuff is also full of soluble fiber, essential for healthy digestion, and complex carbohydrates so you won’t be tempted to hit up a vending machine for a snack before lunch. Eat your oatmeal with fresh berries for a disease fighting breakfast.
22. Watermelon – This juicy red melon tastes great and will help your heart stay healthy. It’s full of lycopene, a cancer fighting carotenoid, and amino acids that maintain the body’s arteries.
23. Soy – Soy is an excellent choice for protein, especially for vegetarians. Soy has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels. It’s also a great choice for those with allergies to dairy products.
24. Brown Rice – Brown rice is a good option for carbohydrates because it will leave you feeling fuller, longer and doesn’t have the nasty reputation its vitamin-enriched cousin, white rice, does for adding numbers to your scale. One cup of brown rice will give you nearly all the manganese, a mineral needed to help maintain a healthy nervous system, you need in a day.
25. Raspberries – Raspberries are good alone, with other fruits or even in green salads. They are truly a versatile berry full of antioxidant power and a good source of vitamin K and dietary fiber.