Summer time is approaching. If you’re trying to improve your diet, or fit into last year’s swim suit, look no further. Texas A&M University’s Health Science Center has created a cheat sheet of the top ten healthy foods with benefits that you don’t want to miss.
Almonds—antioxidants in almonds can lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Almonds can be a hassle-free snack to take to school or work. Drop some into a snack bag and leave them in plain view. Instead of going to the vending machine, nibble on your almonds instead.
Apples—apples are a great source of fiber, may help slow aging, and can lower your risk of stroke.
In order to incorporate apples into your diet, try pre-slicing them. Sprinkling apples with a bit of lemon juice will keep them from browning. From there, you can make small bags of pre-sliced apples to snack on throughout the day.
Avocados—avocados are full of ‘healthy fat’, which can lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease when replacing other fats in your diet.
Creating some guacamole to snack on is a great way to incorporate avocadoes into your diet. You can even slice this super food up thinly and add it to a burger.
Beans—beans can provide you with protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The nutrients in beans can help lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Beans aren’t just for barbeques. Try using black beans as a side dish in your next dinner. Or, make a bean soup.
Blueberries—blueberries are full of anthocyanins (this is what makes them blue and anthocyanins are also full of antioxidants). Anthocyanins have been shown to reduce and prevent chronic inflammation, help with short-term memory loss, and even fight against Alzheimer’s disease.
Blueberries are pretty easy to work into your diet. They can be eaten as is, like you would other berries, or sprinkled into oatmeal, a smoothie, or even a fresh spring salad.
Broccoli—broccoli is high in vitamin C, folic acid, fiber, potassium, and sulforaphane. Sulforaphane can fight and treat cancer and reduce inflammation in chronic diseases.
The best way to get all of the nutrients out of broccoli is to eat it raw. But if you’re not a fan of the taste, trying blending broccoli into a fruit smoothie. You’ll be surprised to find that the taste disappears.
Cranberries—the active ingredients in cranberries can treat urinary tract infections, prevent bacteria from sticking to your teeth, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, reduce the risk or inflammatory bowel disease, and reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.
Cranberries can be a sweet and delicious addition to oatmeal. Or, you can try dried cranberries. They resemble raisins and can be eaten alone as a quick snack.
Leafy Greens—leafy greens contain vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E, folate, carotenoids, and fiber. They may help prevent cancer.
Spinach, kale, and cabbage can be sautéed lightly with a little oil and salt. But if the taste of these leafy greens isn’t your thing, try adding a little bit into a sweet fruit smoothie. It will mask the taste of the greens while providing you all of the benefits.
Oily Fish—oily fish contain high levels of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are known to lower your risk of heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis, lower your blood pressure, and provide anti-inflammatory benefits.
Instead of having chicken for dinner, try switching in some oily fish. If you have any picky eaters in the house, there are fish that’s texture resembles that of chicken.
Sweet Potatoes—the nutrients in sweet potatoes provide anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Sweet potatoes are a versatile starch. They are certainly good on their own, but getting comfortable with a new food may take a bit of persuasion. Try eating them like you would a baked potato, adding in salt and butter. Or, you can have them sweet—brown sugar or even marshmallows will do the trick.
Incorporating new things into your diet doesn’t have to be difficult. Plus, these suggestions aren’t the only things you can do with the super foods listed above. Don’t forget that how you prepare your super foods is half of the fun.