We are what we eat!

Do you want to know what should be on your weekly shopping list?

Kale Avocado Broccoli Oranges
Brown Rice Spinach Tomato Rasberries
Onions Sweet Potatoes Garlic Green Tea
Quinoa Red Peppers Figs Red Wine
Pumpkin Guava Pomegranates Lentils
Eggs Dark Chocolate Bananas Yoghurt
Milk Peanut Butter Olive Oil Salmon
Lean Beef or Lamb Mushroom Chicken Breast Beans
Nuts Brussel Sprouts Sardines Oats
Flaxseed Blueberries Apple Olive Oil

 

The table below outlines why the items above are useful for health.

Kale As vegetables go, leafy greens—especially the dark-green kind—tend to top health experts' lists. And, along with spinach, kale is at the top of the dark-and-leafy-green heap. Bursting with vitamins A, K, and C, kale is also a great source of calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Whether you toss it into soups, smoothies, or salads, gobble as much of this stuff as you can every day. Oranges Loaded with vitamin C, oranges are also solid sources of folate—important for cell maintenance and repair. They contain potassium and vitamins B1 and A, which are essential for vision and immune function. And the pectin in oranges absorbs unhealthy cholesterol from the other foods you eat, and so keeps the bad stuff out of your system. Pectin also neutralizes a harmful protein called galectin-3 that causes tissue scarring in your heart, shows UK research.
Brown Rice Low in fat and high in fiber, brown rice is also a rich source of selenium—a trace element essential for thyroid metabolism, DNA health, and proper immune system function, according to the NIH. One cooked cup contains more than 27% of your daily selenium needs. Brown rice is also a good source of manganese and niacin, which are both important for brain and heart health. Swap in brown rice for white, and you’ll do your health a big favor. Rasberries Just 1 cup contains nearly half your daily manganese—important for brain and nerve function, as well as bone and joint health. Raspberries are high in fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants, and low in carbohydrates. And the phytonutrients found in raspberries may help slow or reduce the growth of cancer cells, newer research suggests. If you can, buy organic raspberries; USDA research shows the fruit is one of the most commonly contaminated with pesticides.
Onions They’re champs when it comes to polyphenols and flavonoids, both linked to lower oxidative stress and reduced cancer risk. An onion’s sulfur compounds help control diabetes symptoms and protect your heart from disease. And the chromium found in onions has been shown to regulate blood sugar. Green Tea Green tea’s antioxidant compounds have been linked to slower cancer growth, improved blood flow, weight loss, improved liver function, and reduced rates of brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
Quinoa Quinoa makes every list of superfoods for good reason: It’s packed with “complete” protein—the type that contains all 9 of the essential amino acids your body needs. (Many vegetables are incomplete protein sources.) It’s also solid on fiber to aid your digestion, and is practically multivitamin-heavy when it comes to nutrients like iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and folate. Red Wine Its antioxidants are linked to lower cholesterol levels and healthier blood vessels—both of which improve heart health. And the wine compound resveratrol—more abundant in reds than in whites—has been shown to block the growth of fat cells, regulate blood sugar, and ward of depression. But drink in moderation: While a glass or two a couple days a week is life-extending, daily sipping ups your risk for early death, shows a study from Virginia Tech.
Pumpkin Like most orange vegetables, pumpkins are crammed with beta carotene, which your body naturally converts to vitamin A, also known as retinol. That’s a good thing, because retinol is important for healthy skin and mucous membranes, as well as immune function and vision. Lentils Women who eat lentils at least twice a week are 24% less likely to develop breast cancer than women who eat them less than once a month, studies show. Lentils keep blood sugar steady, and just a quarter cup of these miniature legumes provides 13 g of protein, 11 g of fiber, and 5 mg of iron. They’ve also been shown to ward off hypertension.
Eggs Egg yolks are home to tons of essential but hard-to-get nutrients, including choline, which is linked to lower rates of breast cancer (one yolk supplies 25% of your daily need) and antioxidants that may help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts. Yoghurt Yogurt is a great way to get calcium, and it’s also rich in immune-boosting bacteria. But next time you hit the yogurt aisle, pick up the Greek kind—compared with regular yogurt, it has twice the protein (and 25% of women over 40 don’t get enough). Fat free varieties are available.
Milk Yes, it does a body good: Studies show that calcium isn’t just a bone booster but a fat fighter too. Recent research from the University of Tennessee found that obese people who went on a low-calorie, calcium-rich diet lost 70% more weight than those who ate the least. Vitamin D not only allows your body to absorb calcium, it’s also a super nutrient in its own right. Research shows that adequate D levels can reduce heart disease risk, ward off certain types of cancer, relieve back pain, and even help prevent depression, but most of us don’t get nearly enough of the 1,000+ IU daily that most experts recommend. There are low-fat (skimmed milk) or no fat varieties available. Salmon Salmon is a rich source of vitamin D and one of the best sources of omega-3s you can find. These essential fatty acids have a wide range of impressive health benefits—from preventing heart disease to smoothing your skin and aiding weight loss to boosting your mood and minimizing the effects of arthritis.
Lean Beef or Lamb Lean meat is one of the best-absorbed sources of iron there is. (Too-little iron can cause anemia.) Adding as little as 1 ounce of meat per day can make a big difference in the body’s ability to absorb iron from other sources, says Mary J. Kretsch, PhD, a researcher at the USDA-ARS Western Human Nutrition Research Center in Davis, CA. Beef also packs plenty of zinc (even minor deficiencies may impair memory) and B vitamins, which help your body turn food into energy. Beans One cooked cupful can provide as much as 17 g fiber. They're also loaded with protein and dozens of key nutrients, including a few most women fall short on—calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Studies tie beans to a reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and breast and colon cancers.
Nuts In a nutshell: USDA researchers say that eating 1½ ounces of tree nuts daily can reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Walnuts are rich in omega-3s. Hazelnuts contain arginine, an amino acid that may lower blood pressure. An ounce of almonds has as many heart-healthy polyphenols as a cup of green tea and 1/2 cup of steamed broccoli combined; they may help lower LDL cholesterol as well. The key is moderation, since nuts are high in calories. OAts Fiber-rich oats are even healthier than the FDA thought when it first stamped them with a heart disease-reducing seal 10 years ago. According to recent research, they can also cut your risk of type 2 diabetes. When Finnish researchers tracked 4,316 men and women over the course of 10 years, they found that people who ate the highest percentage of cereal fiber were 61% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
Flaxseed Flaxseed is the most potent plant source of omega-3 fats. Studies indicate that adding flaxseed to your diet can reduce the development of heart disease by 46%—it helps keep red blood cells from clumping together and forming clots that can block arteries. It may also reduce breast cancer odds. In one study, women who ate 10 g of flaxseed (about 1 rounded tablespoon) every day for 2 months had a 25% improvement in the ratio of breast cancer-protective to breast cancer-promoting chemicals in their blood. Olive Oil Olive oil is full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), which lower "bad" LDL cholesterol and raise "good" HDL cholesterol. It’s rich in antioxidants, which may help reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases, like Alzheimer’s. Look for extra virgin oils for the most antioxidants and flavor.
Avocado These smooth, buttery fruits are a great source of not only MUFAs but other key nutrients as well. One Ohio State University study found that when avocado was added to salads and salsa, it helped increase the absorption of specific carotenoids, plant compounds linked to lower risk of heart disease and macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness. "Avocados are packed with heart-protective compounds, such as soluble fiber, vitamin E, folate, and potassium," says Elizabeth Somer, RD, author of 10 Habits That Mess Up a Woman's Diet. But they are a bit high in calories. To avoid weight gain, use avocado in place of another high-fat food or condiment, such as cheese or mayo. Broccoli For maximum disease-fighting benefits, whip out your old veggie steamer. It turns out that steaming broccoli lightly releases the maximum amount of sulforaphane.
Spinach We’ll spare you the Popeye jokes, but spinach has serious health muscles. For one thing, it contains lots of lutein, the sunshine-yellow pigment found in egg yolks. Aside from guarding against age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness, lutein may prevent heart attacks by keeping artery walls clear of cholesterol. Spinach is also rich in iron, which helps deliver oxygen to your cells for energy, and folate, a B vitamin that prevents birth defects. Cook frozen spinach leaves (they provide more iron when cooked than raw) and serve as a side dish with dinner a few times a week. Tomato Tomatoes are our most common source of lycopene, an antioxidant that may protect against heart disease and breast cancer.
Sweet Potatoes One of the best ways to get vitamin A—an essential nutrient that protects and maintains eyes, skin, and the linings of our respiratory, urinary, and intestinal tracts—is from foods containing beta-carotene, which your body converts into the vitamin. Beta carotene-rich foods include carrots, squash, kale, and cantaloupe, but sweet potatoes have among the most. A half-cup serving of these sweet spuds delivers only 130 calories but 80% of the DV of vitamin A. Garlic Garlic is a flavor essential and a health superstar in its own right. The onion relative contains more than 70 active phytochemicals, including allicin, which studies show may decrease high blood pressure by as much as 30 points. High consumption of garlic lowered rates of ovarian, colorectal, and other cancers, according to a research review in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Red Peppers Citrus fruits get all the credit for vitamin C, but red peppers are one of the best source. Vitamin C may be best known for skin and immunity benefits. Researchers in the United Kingdom looked at vitamin C intake in 4,025 women and found that those who ate more had less wrinkling and dryness. Figs When you think of potassium-rich produce, figs probably don’t come to mind, but you may be surprised to learn that six fresh figs have 891 mg of the blood pressure-lowering mineral, nearly 20% of your daily need—and about double what you’d find in one large banana.
Guava this tropical fruit is an excellent source of skin-healing vitamin C, with 250% of your RDA per serving. One cup of guava has nearly 5 times as much C as a medium orange (377 mg versus 83 mg)—that’s more than 5 times your daily need. It’s also loaded with lycopene (26% more than a tomato), which may help lower your risk of heart disease. Pomegranates Packed with antioxidant compounds, pomegranates have long been linked to both heart and brain health. Newer research explains why: One study found pomegranate polyphenols help your arteries expand and contract to manage blood flow and prevent hardening. A separate study found the same antioxidants help ward off the type of inflammation that leads to Alzheimer’s disease. To get the most benefit, eat the fruit’s seeds and some of the pith. Both contain healthful compounds.
Dark Chocolate Dark chocolate is filled with flavonoid antioxidants (more than 3 times the amount in milk chocolate) that keep blood platelets from sticking together and may even unclog your arteries.It may also help with weight loss by keeping you feeling full, according to a study from Denmark. Bananas Good old bananas are loaded with potassium—a macronutrient that helps control your blood pressure and keeps your nervous system operating at peak efficiency. Potassium also lowers your risk for stroke, according to research from the FDA. But if you’re like most women, you’re consuming only half the potassium your body needs. One banana packs 450 mg—about 10% of your daily potassium target—as well as fiber to keep your digestive system running smoothly.
Peanut Butter From bone-strengthening magnesium to immunity-boosting B6, peanut butter is loaded with many of the vitamins and minerals your body needs (but probably isn’t getting enough of). Its high fiber and protein content will keep you full for hours, and peanut butter is also a good source of monosaturated fats—proven to help you lose weight and ward off diabetes. Creamy’s fine, but the crunchy kind typically contains more fiber and less sugar. Olive Oil Packed with inflammation-fighting antioxidants that can help fend off health issues such as heart disease and depression, popcorn is also the only 100% unprocessed whole grain, meaning its one of the best snacks to help you meet your daily whole grain goals. Pop with Olive oil for a healthy alternative.
Mushroom Healthy mushroom compounds have been shown to lower cholesterol and slow tumor growth associated with some cancers, according to the American Cancer Society. Mushrooms also increase your body’s circulating levels of proteins called interferon, which stop viruses like hepatitis from advancing. They’re also a great, low-calorie stand-in for meat. Chicken Breast It may not be a trendy superfood, but a 4-oz serving of this low-cal staple contains nearly half of your daily protein. Chicken breasts are a great source of phosphorous—important for strong bones and teeth—as well as vitamin B3 (aka niacin), which helps control high blood pressure and prevents hardening of the arteries. One serving also contains 25% of the vitamin B6 you need each day to maintain proper brain and immune system function.
Brussel Sprouts These cruciferous vegetables feature sulfur compounds called glucosinolates, shown to help lower your risk for several types of cancer, Sardines Sardines are among the best sources of heart-healthy omega-3s. In fact, women who regularly eat the type of long-chain fats found in sardines enjoy a 38% drop in ischemic heart disease risk, according to a Danish study. Long-chain omega-3s have also been shown to limit inflammation and slow tumor growth. The miniscule fish is a phenomenal source of vitamin B12, which helps your body make DNA while keeping your nerve and blood cells healthy.
Blueberries Blueberries may very well be the most potent age-defying food—they’re jam-packed with antioxidants. When researchers at Cornell University tested 25 fruits for these potent compounds, they found that tangy-sweet wild blueberries (which are smaller than their cultivated cousins) packed the most absorbable antioxidants. Research shows a diet rich in blueberries can help with memory loss, prevent urinary tract infections, and relieve eyestrain. Apple One of the healthiest fruits you should be eating is one you probably already are: the apple. The Iowa Women’s Health Study, which has been investigating the health habits of 34,000 women for nearly 20 years, named apples as one of only three foods (along with pears and red wine) that are most effective at reducing the risk of death from heart disease among postmenopausal women.

 

 

 

 
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