25 Must Add Foods for a Diet Upgrade
Apples contain antioxidants that help protect “good” HDL cholesterol levels in the blood.
Avocados are densely packed with anti-inflammatory, healthy fats. Well-known for its vitamin E content, an important antioxidant.
Beets are potent antioxidants with liver-protective properties.
Blueberries (and blackberries) are rich in anthocyanins—these phytonutrients have power. They can reduce inflammation, increase detoxifying enzymes in the liver, and stop cancers from creating their own lifeline-blood supply.
Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable that promotes natural detoxification in the liver. It is high in sulfur and iodine.
Carrots are the richest plant source of vitamin A, good source of potassium.
Celery is high in organic sodium, magnesium, and iron. Magnesium is important for the breakdown of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into energy; for muscle relaxation and the prevention of cramps; and for nerve conduction and preventing tooth decay.
Cilantro provides a rich source of carotenoids.
Cinnamon has been shown to help keep blood sugar in check.
Cocoa (See previous article on Cocoa Benefits)
Cucumbers contain potassium and phytosterols, which help lower blood cholesterol levels.
Fennel’s active ingredient, anethole, blocks inflammation in the body and can stop cancer cells from multiplying.
Ginger root reduces nausea, pain and inflammation, and provides heartburn relief. It also aids digestion.
Grapefruits provide a rich source of vitamin C, and are a good source of lycopene (a carotene with prostate cancer-protective properties).
Kale is an especially nutrient-dense vegetable with many potent micronutrients. Rich and abundant in calcium, lutein, iron, and vitamins A, C, and K, kale has seven times the beta-carotene of broccoli and ten times more lutein, another potent carotene. Kale is part of the cruciferous vegetable family, making it a good source of the phytonutrient indole-3-carbinol. Research shows I3C has many anti-cancer actions, such as promoting estrogen ratios in the blood that are weak, but needed to discourage breast cancer tumor growth. Crucifers are also potent detoxifiers.
Kiwis offer twice the vitamin C of an orange per serving. They are a good source of vitamin E (a potent antioxidant) and potassium.
Lemons contain natural anti-nausea and overall digestive-aid properties.
Mint is rich in plant-based omega-3 fats – an important nutrient for healthy hair, skin, and nails that has powerful anti-inflammatory activity. Omega-3s may also protect against the development of heart disease and certain types of cancers.
Parsley is a good source of folic acid, which may help lower the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancers. It also promotes fresh breath.
Pineapples are high in the enzyme bromelain, an anti-inflammatory.
Spinach is high in iron, vitamin C, and beta-carotene. The vitamin C and beta-carotene in spinach are antioxidants, and may help to protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals. Most dark green leafy veggies are rich in lutein – a phytonutrient shown to help delay age-related macular degeneration of the eyes.
Sweet potatoes (and carrots for that matter) are rich in – a phytonutrient responsible for giving these veggies their rich orange color. Zeaxanthin has anti-cancer activity: it helps encourage cancer cells to commit suicide (apoptosis), and helps prevent tumors from being able to create their own blood supply (anti-angiogenesis).
Swiss chard tastes sweeter in juices than spinach. It is rich in vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium. Foods rich in potassium have been shown to lower blood pressure and heart disease risk.
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene – a member of the carotene family famous for its potential to prevent prostate cancer.
Instead of thinking of the things you need to cut out, start thinking of the things you want to add into your diet and start replacing or planning new recipes with these foods. Then you don't feel like you are being denied everything, but you are embarking on some new experiences. All of these would be great additions to a healthier diet for everyone. Of course, if you have special dietary needs, check with your doctor before you make changes. Enjoy!