When it comes to healthy eating, I find it’s easier to add in good-for-you foods, rather than focus on deprivation. Here are my top picks for super foods that can help us have more energy, look and feel better.
Eggs: One of nature’s perfect proteins in one small package that can be eaten hot or cold. They are an excellent source of a dozen vitamins and minerals and are so incredibly versatile. I grew up with the teaching that eggs had too much cholesterol, but most otherwise healthy people should be able to eat 5-7 eggs per week.
Avocados: These green gems are packed with fiber, protein and more than 20 nutrients, including vitamins A, B and C, and minerals such as magnesium, iron and potassium. You can try using a bit of mashed avocado instead of mayo or butter for a sandwich.
Kiwis: You thought oranges had the most vitamin C, but kiwi is up there on the leaderboard too. Vitamin E, potassium and fiber also make this a power-packed health food. I like mine peeled, cut into wedges and served with strawberries.
Lemons: Like kiwi, lemons are a great source of vitamin C. Plus they can help keep your bones strong and work as an anti-inflammatory. In fact, you can get over 100% of your daily dose of vitamin C when you eat one. They can also help reduce the appearance of age or dark spots on your face, hands or elbows. Splashes of lemon can also add dashes of lightness to your hair.
Berries: You’ve probably heard that blueberries especially have great amounts of antioxidants, and they can also have an anti-aging effect, as can raspberries, strawberries and blackberries. A great source of fiber and low in calories, they can also help control low blood sugar.
Green Juice or Smoothies: Avid juicers claim that a daily glass of green juice or adding greens to a morning smoothie has been life-changing for them. Foods like kale, spinach, celery, and herbs can be juiced or blended, sometimes along with pear, apple or yellow beets for a bit of sweetness. The combination is a powerhouse of nutrition.
Salmon: One of the best sources of protein, iron and omega-3 fatty acids the oceans offer up. Studies have shown over and over again that these fats help protect the heart. Adding salmon once or twice a week to your diet is not only healthy for your most important organ, but it’s great for your skin (acne in particular) as the fats can reduce inflammation that causes pimples.
Tomatoes: The lycopene in tomatoes provides another great source of antioxidants, as well as vitamin A and fiber. Once again, such versatility. Enjoy cooked or raw, and eat plenty of them for extra protection against the sun’s harmful ultra-violet rays. Got dry skin? Eat more tomatoes!
Green tea: Good for hydration and your metabolism, and loaded with antioxidants, green tea is good for every part of your body, even your mind. So if you’re a tad forgetful, adding this source can help with your memory. Green tea extract is also a popular ingredient in skin care products.
Chocolate: Dark chocolate is good for you, full of disease-fighting antioxidants. It can help lower blood pressure, too. Look for a cacao source of 65% or greater. For those of us raised on Hershey’s milk chocolate, it can be a challenge to get used to less sweetness. Let a tiny piece melt on your tongue and savor the flavor. Some people approach chocolate like fine wine, and appreciate the subtle differences in flavor of cacao beans from different parts of the world. A small piece or two per day is enough for health benefits.
Water: Water is not something you can ignore if you want to feel good inside and out. Shoot for drinking 64 oz. of filtered water per day. I use a Brita filter in a big pitcher in my fridge. Look for a reusable water bottle in glass, steel or a non-BPA synthetic. Avoiding plastic water bottles is good for you and for the planet.