We’ve all heard the famous motto: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Apples contain soluble and insoluble fiber–one makes apples super filling, and the other helps to reduce cholesterol. These tasty treats reduce your risk of heart disease, and the saliva you produce while chewing an apple actually helps to clean your teeth.
But what do you do if you just finished off your last Granny Smith or aren’t in the mood for a crunchy Red Delicious? Here are five other delicious foods you should eat every day.
SPINACH – Before you say “Ew, no way,” listen to this. Spinach is full of plant-based omega 3 acid and folate–both of which help to protect you from heart disease and build stronger bones. Vitamin A and vitamin C, which are also in spinach, keep you healthy during the winter. No colds, no sick days lying in bed and you can make it to every class. Scientists have also found that people who eat spinach every day have greater learning abilities and motor skills. Great, right?
YOGURT – Let’s call yogurt a healthy bacteria. When yogurt ferments, it creates millions of probiotic organisms that boost your immune system. In simpler terms, yogurt contains good bacteria that fight off bad bacteria in your body. Just like any hero vs. villain saga, there are some yogurt imposters floating around. When you buy yogurt, look for the label that says “live and active cultures;” we’ll call those heroes. Avoid the villains: yogurts with high fructose corn syrup. Just one cup of yogurt gives your body almost half of the daily-recommended calcium. Eat up!
How to Eat: Mix yogurt with granola, blueberries or honey, or drizzle low-fat yogurt over a salad.
BLUEBERRIES – Are you wondering how you’re going to memorize those 150 note cards piled high on your desk? Eat some blueberries. These delicious berries are chock-full of antioxidants that are proven to sharpen your memory. Antioxidants also prevent ulcers, decrease the risk of heart disease and lower your cholesterol–but hopefully you won’t have to worry about these health risks any time soon. If you want to plan ahead for a healthy future, blueberries have a higher concentration of antioxidants than any other North American fruit.
How to Eat: Mix into a smoothie, add to a salad, make blueberry jam or jelly.
WALNUTS – All nuts are not created equal. Walnut is the only type of nut that contains omega-3 acids that help your heart and improve your mood, polyphenols to keep inflammation low and a ton of protein for all types of healthy bodily functions. All nuts are rich in heart-healthy unsaturated fats, but only walnuts contain all of the above mentioned health benefits. A recent study shows that people who regularly eat nuts live two years longer than non-nut-eating peers. Walnuts are great at any time, and the recommended serving is one ounce, or about seven nuts a day.
How to Eat: Sprinkle on a salad, chop up and add them to a peanut butter mix, or eat them straight out of a jar.
ORANGES – They’re apples’ rivals, but are just as healthy. Oranges are dripping with vitamin C–just one orange will give you the full daily-recommended dose. Like blueberries, oranges contain powerful antioxidants that help to fight infections and prevent diseases. Be careful not to confuse whole oranges with orange juice, though–orange peels contain a molecule that helps to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol. These health benefits are removed when orange centers are squeezed into juice.
How to Eat: Slice oranges, squeeze orange juice or zest an orange over a salad.