Health & Wellness

The 10 Healthiest Foods, Ever

06.19.12 Cowberry Cotton Candy Magazine

Health experts have been staunch in their recommendations of five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables each day.  With that caveat in mind, many of us have managed to avoid the office junk food drawer – at least most of the time – and fit regular exercise into our daily regimen. But although we know we should eat our fruits and veggies, the question remains which foods to choose.  Cotton Candy Magazine® solicited the help of Registered Dietitian and director of NYC’s Nutrition Energy Lauren Antonucci.  She gives us ten essential foods everyone should include in their diets.

Avocado is high in fat, but this tasty and versatile fruit is full of fiber and heart healthy omega-3 fats.  Eat ¼ of an avocado daily for healthy skin and heart. Add it to your salad, steamed veggies or sandwich in place of mayonnaise, butter or other oils.

Beans are versatile, filling and cost-effective. High in protein and fiber, beans and lentils can be quickly combined to a tasty and balanced meal in minutes.  Try tossing low-sodium beans with cooked quinoa. Then just add your favorite vegetable.

Low-fat yogurt (not fat-free) can help you absorb more calcium and vitamin D, which are essential to bone health.  Research shows that women are at highest risk for calcium deficiency and also have decreased intake of dietary calcium.  Pair a low-fat vanilla yogurt with fruit and nuts for a balanced breakfast or afternoon snack.

Sweet potatoes satisfy your sweet tooth without the guilt. These spuds are packed with fiber, vitamin A and C.  Perhaps best of all, they are easy to portion control. Trade your usual rice or pasta for a sweet potato and enjoy a more satisfying and filling meal. You can even eat one, topped with cinnamon, for a mid-afternoon snack.

Nuts are delectable, but many people shy away from nuts because of their high calorie content.  But a serving of nuts can keep us full and satisfied longer than lower fat or refined foods generally eaten as snacks.  A well chosen handful of nuts can give us an energized and productive afternoon.  Sprinkle sliced almonds on oatmeal in the morning or add to salads for a yummy crunch.

Berries are a seasonal group of superfoods, rich in a variety of nutrients.  With such a plethora of berries to choose from (blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, etc.), you won’t easily get bored.  Enjoy them fresh and in cereal or yogurt.  Trying them frozen for a late night sweet snack.

Leafy green veggies are super low in calories but pack a big nutritional punch with more 40 flavonoids (antioxidants), Vitamin K, A and C.  Kale and spinach are popular choices.  Leafy greens can be eaten raw in a salad, cooked as a side dish or baked as a crunchy veggie chip.

Citrus fruits are refreshing and loaded with antioxidants, Vitamin C and soluble fiber which help aid digestion. Grapefruit, oranges, tangerines, clementines, limes are all longtimes faves but also try less popular fruits such ugli fruit and pomelos.

Wheatberries are the whole unprocessed wheat kernels (the germ, bran and endosperm).  It’s nutty, earthy flavor is the perfect additions to any summer salad, as they taste great either hot or cold.  High in protein and fiber, wheatberries are great addition to a healthy weight loss plan.  One warning:  wheatberries take about 50 minutes to cook but are worth the wait.

Fish is packed with protein, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids that can lower blood pressure and help reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke.  The American Heart Association recommends consuming a variety of fish, preferably fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel at least twice a week.

Cotton Candy Magazine®