The "Sweet 16" of Healthy Foods
- GREEN LEAFY VEGETABLE
For every serving (1 cup) of green leafy vegetables you add to your diet, you cut your risk of cardiovascular event by 25 percent. Two cups daily.
- LEAN, NOT MEAN, PROTEIN
Seafood, chicken, and turkey breast, beans and soy, and non-fat dairy products are excellent lean protein sources. While these foods may not contain many anti-aging compounds, eating more of them does suppress hunger and makes it easier to feel satisfied on fewer calories. One serving per meal.
Studies show that seafood consumption can improve blood sugar regulation and brain function, and decrease inflammation in people with arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease or rheurnatoid arthritis. Two to three servings per week.
- BEANS AND LEGUMES
Beans can lower bad cholesterol (LDL) by 5 percent while raising your healthy cholesterol (HDL) 2 to 3 percent. Beans also suppress hunger and help to stabilize blood sugar levels. One-half to one cup regularly.
Most grocery stores carry soy-based veggie burgers, hot dogs and sausage, and calcium-fortified soymilk. These products lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels and are packed with cancer-fighting compounds, fiber, antioxidants, calcium and many anti-aging nutrients. One serving daily.
- WHOLE GRAINS
Whole grains such as barley, buckwheat, wild rice, quinoa and oats are actually tastier than refined, processed grains. They're more natural, and they help prevent weight gain and diabetes. Three-quarters cup whole grains 2 to 3 times per day.
- CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES
Fiber-rich cruciferous vegetables - cabbage, bokchoy, broccoli, kale, cauliflower and Brussels spouts - are high in chemicals that detoxify and are great sources of Vitamin C and calcium. One cup daily - raw, steamed or lightly sautÃ©ed so they retain their valuable properties.
Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, etc., are among the brightly colored fruits and vegetable that are packed with antioxidant benefits. They're also full of fiber. One-half to one cup daily.
Nuts are packed with protein, nutrients, anti-aging compounds and fiber, too. They'll help you feel full, and while they do contain fats, they are mostly healthy fats that will lower your cholesterol. A handful daily.
- FLAX SEED
Ground flax seed is an excellent source of omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fats are good for everyone, but ground flax seed is especially important for women with per menopausal and menopausal symptoms. Women with hormonal issues should enjoy 1 to 2 tablespoons daily.
- FRESH GARLIC
Fresh garlic lowers your total cholesterol about 7 to 9 percent, raises HDL slightly, decreases clotting, lowers blood pressure, and boosts your immune function. One clove daily.
- FRESH HERBS AND SPICES
By weight, they're the most densely packed anti-aging foods you can find. One teaspoon dried or one to two tablespoons fresh herbs daily.
- GREEN TEA
Green tea, a staple in the Asian diet, is loaded with anti-oxidants. Black tea, though good for you, doesn't quite measure up to its green cousin. One to two cups of unsweetened green tea daily.
- NON-FAT YOGURT
Non-fat yogurt is the healthiest dairy food - it's loaded with lactobacilli, which are healthy bacteria that normally live within your intestinal track. One-half to one cup daily.
- RED WINE
One 5-ounce serving of red wine a day helps raise your good HDL, decreases your risk of clotting, lowers oxidation, cuts your risk for dementia (memory loss), and improves insulin sensitivity - helping with blood sugar regulation. One serving daily.
Cocoa helps dilate your arteries - improving their function, while lowering your blood pressure and their risk of clotting. Cocoa is rich in magnesium and packed with anti-aging and stress-relieving compounds. One cup daily.