6 Surprising Super Foods That Boost Health
From fighting cancer to enhancing your hair's shine, these 6 under-the-radar super foods will promote good health from head to toe.
No need to fork over the big bucks on exotic berries and extracts or shop at a fancy health food store to shower your body with good nutrition. From fighting cancer to enhancing your hair's shine, these 6 under-the-radar super foods will promote good health from head to toe.
Like all nuts, peanuts are an excellent source of good-for-you
unsaturated fats, which help lower bad cholesterol and do plenty to protect
your cardiovascular health. In fact, a Harvard University Nurse's Health Study found
that women who ate at least five servings of nuts per week (one serving was
defined as 1 ounce of nuts or a tablespoon of peanut butter) had a 44 percent
reduced risk of heart disease compared to women who rarely ate nuts. Peanuts
also contain ingredients that help you look beautiful, too: biotin, a B vitamin
essential for long, luscious locks and overall scalp health, and vitamin E,
which nourishes your skin and protects it from the sun's damaging UV rays. Snack
on a handful of roasted peanuts straight-up, or mix them with whole-grain
cereal and dried fruit for a nutrient-packed trail mix.
Lentils provide a potent punch of health perks, especially
when it comes to protecting your ticker. These inexpensive legumes are
practically overflowing with fiber, which can help lower cholesterol and reduce
your risk for heart disease. Beyond their cardiovascular advantages, lentils
are also a fantastic vegetarian source of iron-rich protein, which helps your
hair grow longer and stronger. This
season, give inexpensive, versatile lentils a starring role in your weekly
menus. Wondering where to start? As the weather gets cooler, my hearty
is an easy and delicious meatless meal to add to your lunch or
Cabbage is one of my superhero veggies because it's ultra low
in calories and packed with potent phytonutrients that may provide cancer
protection. Cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and
cauliflower contain tumor-fighting compounds called glucosinolates, which may
help inhibit the metabolism of some carcinogens and stimulate the body's
production of detoxification enzymes. Use cabbage in low-fat coleslaw
add to a yummy stir fry, like my Sweet and Sour Tofu Stir Fry
By and large, coffee seems to have an undeserved bad
reputation when it comes to your health. Turns out, your morning cup o' joe is
a real brain-booster! In one promising study, researchers tracked nearly 700
healthy older men for ten years and found that those who averaged 3 cups of
coffee per day experienced significantly less mental decline than nondrinkers
did. Coffee drinkers may also be at
lower risk for developing Alzheimer's disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain
cancers. The benefits don't stop there — drinking a cup coffee within an hour
of a workout can boost exercise endurance and performance. Turns out java
lovers don't need to feel one sip guilty about getting their morning fix.
Delicious, juicy oranges are a celebrated source of vitamin
C, an antioxidant that helps maintain bright, glowing skin and healthy, shiny
hair. But did you know that consuming more oranges in your diet can also help
reduce your risk for a stroke? It's true: A recent study funded by the National
Institute of Health found that women who consumed the most flavanones —
primarily from citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit — had a 19 percent
reduced risk for blood clot-related stroke than those who ate the least. Eat an
orange with breakfast, for an afternoon snack, or as a way to satisfy your
after-dinner craving for something sweet: You can't go wrong with this
heart-smart, hydrating fruit.
Barley is a high-quality, whole-grain carb that boasts all
the power-properties of oats, but has none of the heart-health fame. Research
shows that people who regularly consume whole grains are at lower risk for
heart disease and high blood pressure. This should come as no surprise, as
whole grains are loaded with heart-smart ingredients like fiber, vitamins,
minerals and antioxidants. The fiber in barley also helps stabilize your
blood-sugar levels, which can help to keep mood and energy levels stable. To
maximize the health benefits, make sure to pick up "hulled" or "hull-less"
barley, not the more common pearled barley, which has some of the bran removed
and is therefore not a whole grain. Add this nutty grain to any vegetable soup
recipe for a fiber-full, flavorful meal.
Related: 8 Foods to Avoid at All Costs
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