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The 10 Healthiest Foods On The Planet

Healthy Food #1: Lemons

Why They’re Healthy:

— Just one lemon has more than 100 percent of your daily intake of vitamin C, which may help increase “good” HDL cholesterol levels and strengthen bones.

— Citrus flavonoids found in lemons may help inhibit the growth of cancer cells and act as an anti-inflammatory.

Quick Tip:

Add a slice of lemon to your green tea. One study found that citrus increases your body’s ability to absorb the antioxidants in the tea by about 80 percent.

 

Healthy Food #2: Broccoli

Why It’s Healthy:

— One medium stalk of broccoli contains more than 100 percent of your daily vitamin K requirement and almost 200 percent of your recommended daily dose of vitamin C — two essential bone-building nutrients.

— The same serving also helps stave off numerous cancers.

Quick Tip:

Zap it! Preserve up to 90 percent of broccoli’s vitamin C by microwaving. (Steaming or boiling holds on to just 66 percent of the nutrient.)

 

Healthy Food #3: Dark Chocolate

Why It’s Healthy:

— Just one-fourth of an ounce daily can reduce blood pressure in otherwise healthy individuals.

— Cocoa powder is rich in flavonoids, antioxidants shown to reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol and increase “good” HDL levels.

Quick Tip:

A dark chocolate bar contains about 53.5 milligrams of flavonoids; a milk chocolate bar has fewer than 14.

 

Healthy Food #4: Potatoes

Why They’re Healthy:

— One red potato contains 66 micrograms of cell-building folate — about the same amount found in one cup of spinach or broccoli.

— One sweet potato has almost eight times the amount of cancer-fighting and immune-boosting vitamin A you need daily.

Quick Tip:

Let your potato cool before eating. Research shows that doing so can help you burn close to 25 percent more fat after a meal, thanks to a fat-resistant starch.

 

Healthy Food #5: Salmon

Why It’s Healthy:

— A great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to a reduced risk of depression, heart disease, and cancer.

— A 3-ounce serving contains almost 50 percent of your daily dose of niacin, which may protect against Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss.

Quick Tip:

Opt for wild over farm-raised, which contains 16 times as much toxic polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) as wild salmon.

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Healthy Food #6: Walnuts

Why They’re Healthy:

— Contain the most omega-3 fatty acids, which may help reduce cholesterol, of all nuts.

— Omega-3s have been shown to improve mood and fight cancer; they may protect against sun damage, too (but don’t skip the SPF!).

Quick Tip:

Eat a few for dessert: The antioxidant melatonin, found in walnuts, helps to regulate sleep.

 

TIM HILL/STOCKFOOD

Healthy Food #7: Avocados

Why They’re Healthy:

— Rich in healthy, satisfying fats proven in one study to lower cholesterol by about 22 percent.

— One has more than half the fiber and 40 percent of the folate you need daily, which may reduce your risk of heart disease.

Quick Tip:

Adding it to your salad can increase the absorption of key nutrients like beta-carotene by three to five times compared with salads without this superfood.

 

Healthy Food #8: Garlic

Why It’s Healthy:

— Garlic is a powerful disease fighter that can inhibit the growth of bacteria, including E. coli.

— Allicin, a compound found in garlic, works as a potent anti-inflammatory and has been shown to help lower cholesterol and blood-pressure levels.

Quick Tip:

Crushed fresh garlic releases the most allicin. Just don’t overcook; garlic exposed to high heat for more than 10 minutes loses important nutrients.

 

 

Healthy Food #9: Spinach

Why It’s Healthy:

— Spinach contains lutein and zeaxanthin, two immune-boosting antioxidants important for eye health.

— Recent research found that among cancer-fighting fruits and veggies, spinach is one of the most effective.

Quick Tip:

Spinach is a healthy — and flavorless — addition to any smoothie. You won’t taste it, we promise! Try blending 1 cup spinach, 1 cup grated carrots, 1 banana, 1 cup apple juice, and ice.

 

 

Healthy Food #10: Beans

Why They’re Healthy:

— Eating a serving of legumes (beans, peas, and lentils) four times a week can lower your risk of heart disease by 22 percent.

— That same habit may also reduce your risk of breast cancer.

Quick Tip:

The darker the bean, the more antioxidants it contains. One study found that black bean hulls contain 40 times the amount of antioxidants found in white bean hulls.

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