Despite its name, allspice is not a mixture of different spices. Rather, it is its own spice and has the flavor of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. It is commonly used in Caribbean and Latin American cooking and is one of the key ingredients in jerk seasoning and mole sauces. Learn more about herbs and spices.
Almonds are an excellent source of healthy monounsaturated fats, a crucial nutrient for improving cardiovascular health and reducing your risk for type 2 diabetes. Containing fiber, magnesium, calcium, vitamin E, and protein, almonds help you feel full longer, so add them to oatmeal or nonfat yogurt or eat them as a snack — in moderation, since they're high in calories. Read more about nuts and seeds.
Although touted as a super-grain, amaranth is actually the seed of a plant. These high-protein seeds, or grains, are very high in magnesium, making them a great high-quality carb to eat if you have or are at risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, or mood disorders. Magnesium-rich amaranth is also helpful for individuals who experience migraines or PMS. If you have celiac disease, don't despair; amaranth is a gluten-free whole grain you can enjoy. Note to IBS sufferers: Amaranth is rich in fiber, which may cause gastrointestinal upset if you have diarrhea-predominant IBS. Learn more about whole grains
The fish oil in anchovies contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to reduce inflammation, decrease triglycerides, and may help to lower high blood pressure and raise good cholesterol. Omega-3s may even reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. Despite their benefits, anchovies are high in sodium, which can raise your blood pressure — so enjoy them in moderation. Find out more about omega-3 fatty acids.
There's a reason why apples are so popular — they're delicious and good for you! They have a high water content and more soluble fiber than most fruits, which make them a terrific choice if you're trying to lose weight or have high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, or IBS. Apples with red skin are especially high in antioxidants that can help manage arthritis pain and slow memory loss. If you get migraine headaches, be aware that red-skinned apples are a possible trigger, but yellow- and green-skinned varieties are a safe bet. Find out more about fruit.
Unsweetened, natural applesauce can be part of a healthy diet. Unfortunately, many types of applesauce that you find on grocery-store shelves contain sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, which increases the calories and sugar. Fresh apples are always best because they have more fiber and nutrients, but if you love applesauce, unsweetened or "natural" will be your best bet. If you have diarrhea-predominant IBS, applesauce may be a good choice during flare-ups since it's easy on your stomach and provides virtually no fiber. Find out more about fruit.
Fresh apricots have a high water content and are a good source of soluble fiber, making them a fine choice if you're trying to lose weight or have high cholesterol or type 2 diabetes. They are also a very good source of antioxidants that help reduce the risk of arthritis and macular degeneration, in addition to helping maintain healthy skin and hair. The potassium in apricots helps lower blood pressure and the risk of osteoporosis. Dried apricots often contain added sulfites, a potential migraine trigger, so read labels carefully if you suffer from migraines. Find out more about fruit.
The heart of the artichoke is the meaty, delicious prize at the center of the artichoke. (Note there is a small amount of meat on the leaves too.) Like other nonstarchy vegetables, artichoke hearts are low in calories and have a high water and fiber content, making them a great choice for people who are trying to lose weight or prevent or manage heart disease or type 2 diabetes. Artichoke hearts are also a good source of potassium and folate, nutrients that may reduce the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis and help lower blood pressure, improve mood, and slow memory decline. This vegetable also supplies magnesium and vitamin K, two nutrients that boost bone health. When buying canned artichoke hearts, select those packed in water rather than oil if you're watching your calorie intake. Canned artichokes are high in sodium, which can raise blood pressure, so rinse them in running water before eating. Frozen varieties typically don't contain added salt. Find out more about vegetables
Artichokes are actually the flower of a plant in the same family as marigolds, daisies, and sunflowers. Like other nonstarchy vegetables, artichokes are low in calories and have a high water and fiber content, making them a great choice for people who are trying to lose weight or prevent or manage heart disease or type 2 diabetes. Artichokes are also a good source of potassium and folate, nutrients that may reduce the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis and help lower blood pressure, improve mood, and slow memory decline. Artichokes also supply magnesium and vitamin K, two nutrients that boost bone health. Find out more about vegetables
Artificial sweeteners are sugar substitutes that are synthetically produced. The most commonly found are aspartame (Equal or NutraSweet), sucralose (Splenda), and saccharin (Sweet n' Low). These sweeteners are many times sweeter than table sugar and are used in sugar-free, diet, or light versions of soda, fruit drinks, yogurt, candy, and other foods in order to reduce their sugar content and calories. Artificially sweetened items can be useful tools for individuals who are trying to lose weight and for individuals diagnosed with diabetes, since unlike sugar and other caloric sweeteners, artificial sweeteners do not raise blood-sugar levels. If you choose to use artificial sweeteners, I advise limiting consumption to no more than two packets or two artificially sweetened food items per day. Be aware that some sweeteners, such as aspartame (sold as Equal or NutraSweet), have been thought to trigger migraines in sensitive individuals. Learn more about sweeteners
Arugula (also known as rucola and rocket) is a cruciferous and leafy green vegetable with a peppery taste and is often used in salads. It is a good source of potassium, a mineral involved in managing blood pressure and preventing osteoporosis. Arugula may help boost memory due to phytochemicals — antioxidants found in all cruciferous vegetables. Like other salad greens, arugula is very low in calories, which makes it a great addition to any weight-loss plan. Learn more about leafy green vegetables.
Asparagus are spring vegetables that come from a flowering plant. Like other nonstarchy vegetables, asparagus is low in calories and has a high water content and a good amount of fiber, making it a great choice for people who are trying to lose weight or prevent or manage heart disease or type 2 diabetes. Asparagus also contains vitamin E and beta-carotene, antioxidants that may help prevent arthritis, cataracts, macular degeneration, and skin damage. Asparagus is also rich in vitamin K, which may help preserve bone health. Find out more about vegetables
Due to their level of "good" monounsaturated fats, avocados are a great choice for those concerned with lowering their cholesterol, reducing blood pressure, and limiting their risk for type 2 diabetes. Avocados are also an excellent way to get more antioxidants like vitamin E in the diet, which can protect and maintain healthy skin. Find out more about monounsaturated fats.