Figs can be found fresh or dried. Both types are good sources of soluble fiber, which helps to lower cholesterol and promote regularity. If you have type 2 diabetes or are trying to lose weight, it is best to limit your intake of dried figs and other dried fruit because of the higher sugar and calorie concentration compared with that found in fresh fruit. Dried figs may also contain added sulfites, a possible migraine trigger, and they may be dusted with wheat flour to prevent stickiness, so check package labels carefully if you have celiac disease. Find out more about fruit.
Flaxseeds are dark amber-brown seeds that are a terrific source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and soluble fiber, nutrients that can improve cardiovascular health and mood, manage type 2 diabetes, prevent and manage arthritis, and maintain healthy eyes and skin. Omega-3s may even reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. Flaxseeds also contain magnesium, which may help to improve PMS symptoms. To get the most nutrients from flaxseeds, grind them before use. Ground flaxseeds should be refrigerated or frozen to maintain freshness. Read more about nuts and seeds.
Flounder (also called fluke) is a mild-flavored, white-fleshed fish and is a terrific, low-calorie source of lean protein, making it a great food to enjoy for weight loss or if you are at risk of cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes. Protein found in flounder can also help moderate your mood by slowing the absorption of carbohydrates and keeping blood-sugar levels stable. To maintain the health benefits of flounder, bake, grill, or roast the fish rather than frying it. (Note: Pacific flounder is the most sustainable choice.) Read more about fish and shellfish.
All-purpose flour (also called enriched wheat flour) is the most commonly used flour in recipes and packaged foods like cookies, crackers, breads, and tortillas, but it's not the best for you. All-purpose flour is refined from whole-wheat flour, and during the process most of the fiber and nutrients are removed. By switching to breads and other products made with whole-wheat flour, you'll increase the fiber and nutrition in your diet. If you're not ready to go 100 percent whole wheat in your cooking and baking, substitute whole-wheat flour for up to half the white flour in recipes to bump up the nutrition without significantly affecting taste or texture. If you have celiac disease, look for flours made from wheat-free and gluten-free grains like rice, buckwheat, potato, and corn. Learn more about refined grains
Soy flour is a high-protein flour made from roasted soybeans and is a gluten-free alternative to wheat flour if you have celiac disease. Like other soy products, soy flour contains isoflavones, phytoestrogens that some research suggests may help increase bone density and thereby reduce risk of osteoporosis, especially in postmenopausal women. If you have a history of breast cancer, it's always wise to speak with your physician about incorporating soy foods into your diet, although many health organizations and researchers have concluded that moderate amounts of whole soy foods, like soy flour are perfectly safe. IBS sufferers take note: Some people with IBS are sensitive to soy foods and experience discomfort after consuming them. Learn more about soy foods
Whole-wheat flour contains the nutrient-rich outer bran and inner germ of grains that are stripped away when wheat is milled to make refined white flour (also called enriched wheat flour and all-purpose flour). With the bran and germ retained, whole-wheat flour is rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other phytonutrients. Look for whole-wheat flours in bread products, and use whole-wheat flour when baking at home. You can swap out half the amount of white flour for whole-wheat flour to boost the fiber and nutritive value of your baked goods without making any other adjustments to your recipes. Whole-wheat flour is not
gluten-free, so if you have celiac disease you should substitute flours made from gluten-free grains, such as potato flour, rice flour, and quinoa flour. IBS sufferers take note: Some people with IBS are sensitive to whole grains and experience discomfort after eating products made with whole-wheat flour. Learn more about whole grains
Frozen yogurt is a perfectly delicious occasional treat, but enjoy it in moderation to keep weight in check. Frozen yogurt typically has less saturated fat than regular ice cream, so it's a more heart-healthy treat. Frozen yogurt, as well as light ice cream, provides calcium, a mineral involved in keeping bones strong, reducing blood pressure, and preventing PMS symptoms. Frozen yogurt is a potential trigger for migraines, and some people with IBS are sensitive to dairy and may experience discomfort after eating it. Read more about dairy.