We all know the value of a balanced diet, but all too often, it is viewed as too restricting or tasteless, depriving us of anything remotely enjoyable. Eating healthy makes us feel better and have more energy, and studies show that eating healthy low-calorie foods has impressive anti-aging benefits, according to this month’s issue of Women’s Health magazine article, “The Anti-Aging Meal Plan.” Sometimes there is absolutely no substitute for that thick, juicy burger, cheese fries, and chocolate shake, however, these foods are loaded with fat and calories and contain little nutrient value. But, here are some healthy and tasty choices that might surprise you if youre trying to eat or snack better and smarter.
Blueberries: These tasty little guys are ranked #1 in anitoxidants, compared with 40 other fresh fruits, and are just chock-full of all kinds of a health benefits. A study at Rutger’s University showed that a compound in blueberries promotes a healthy urinary tract system. Blueberries also help prevent diseases like cancer, phytoestrogens, and strokes, due to their high-level of antioxidants. Numerous studies from all over the world, including Europe and Japan have linked blueberries to helping improve memory, eyesight, and slowing the aging process. Why not try them on your next bowl of cereal or make a big batch of blueberry muffins for your family? Whether you believe the studies or not, it sure won’t hurt you one bit to try some. Keep in mind that any fruit has more antioxidants when they are organic.
Almonds: Not only are they delicious, they are rich in Vitamin E, dietary fiber, and monosaturated fat, one of the 2 “good fats,” which can help lower cholesterol. Almonds have almost no carbohydrates, making it a great choice for being made into flour for cakes and biscuits for low carbohydrate diets or for patients suffering from diabetes mellitus or any other form of glycosuria. They can be processed into “almond milk” as a delicious soy or dairy-free alternative for lactose intolerant persons or vegans. Plus, they’re great on so many foods: cereal, salads, light deserts, and more.
Peanut butter is one food most of us enjoyed as children. It is also protein rich, high in monosaturated fat, and contains no cholesterol or trans fat, which is the “bad fat”. It is great if you are on the go, and makes a nutritious quick breakfast on a piece of whole-grain toast. The protein will give you energy and keep you feeling full longer.
Strawberries are low in calories, only 55 calories per cup, and loaded with Vitamin C, which, according to the American Cancer Society may lower the risk of cancers of the gastrointestinal tract. The Romans revered them for their medicincal qualities.
Pomegranates have been used for centuries as a folk medicine to treat ailments like soar throats, and inflammation and rheumatism. They have a sweet, tangy flavor, and it is believed that pomegranates have three times the antioxidants as green tea or red wine. They are also fiber,potassium, and niacin-rich.
Delicious, not to mention fat, sodium, and cholesterol-free, Watermelons make a great snack. They contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, as well as being an excellent source of vitamins A and C; and contributes fiber, iron and potassium to the diet.
While it doesn’t do much for your breath, garlic has been known for its healing properties for centuries. It is believed to play a major role as a natural protection in some forms of cancer as well as helpful in reducing high blood pressure. It is available in many forms like natural cloves, pastes, powders, and supplements for those who wish to avoid the strong odor, yet still get all the healthful benefits.
Everyone has heard the expression “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Maybe that’s because apples are high in fiber, and they are excellent for controlling blood sugar. The pectin in apples, a source of soluble fiber, slows the release of sugar into the bloodstream, which helps control insulin levels. A 1997 study conducted by the American Journal of Epidemiology concluded that people who ate lots of apples may have lower rates of lung cancer. But to get the most health benefits, do not peel your apples, a great part of its nutritional value is found in the skin.
Tuna, even canned varieties are very healthy because it is low in fat and high in protein, vitamins and minerals. Research has uncovered that foods rich in Omega 3-fatty acids like tuna or other types of fish can help lower the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and even ease the pain of arthritis. You’ve heard your mother tell you that fish is “brain food.’ Well, she was right. “The latest research comes from researchers at Utrecht and Maastricht Universities in the Netherlands and was published in the journal Neurology. Tracking more than 1,600 Dutch men and women aged 45 to 70 over a six-year period, the researchers found those who ate fish regularly scored higher on a battery of tests for memory, psychomotor speed, cognitive flexibility, and overall cognition. Moreover, the study concluded that the specific factors contributing to better brain function were fatty fish and the consumption of two essential omega-3 fatty acids found in tuna, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). ” (A2Z of Health, Beauty and Fitness)
Olive oil has been linked to making the heart healthier as well as a cancer fighter. Numerous studies have shown that eating olive oil can improve your cholesterol and lower your risk of heart disease. “Olive oil contains a substance called oleic acid, which blocks the action of the cancer causing oncogene HER-2/neu that is found in one third of all breast cancer sufferers. Oleic acid also boosts the effectiveness of a breast cancer drug called Herceptin, which has helped to prolong the lives of many patients. ” (A2Z of Health, Beauty and Fitness)
While this information on life-saving foods probably won’t make it any easier to resist that piece of chocolate cake, it can help you make better choices that are not only good for you, but satisfying and delicious.