Monday, November 21, 2011

The Best Foods for Good Looks and Good Health


You need more than just lotions and potions (as my husband likes to call all the things I slather on my body) to keep yourself looking your best. It's not enough to fight aging from the outside. Good nutrition is the pillar of every kind of healthy lifestyle and what you put inside your body has a big impact.

With so many studies being reported it can be hard to keep track of what we should be eating. To simplify things, here's a can't-go-wrong shopping list of beneficial foods to ensure a healthy and youthful you.

  1. Tomatoes. Organic tomatoes are loaded with lycopene, a powerful antioxidant shown to help fight illnesses of all stripes. They're also loaded with vitamins C and A, and if you believe Dr. Oz, they could be as good or better than a├žai and goji, those trendy, expensive antioxidants you couldn’t stop hearing about for a few years.
  2. Green tea. In a nutshell, people who drink green tea have about a dozen health advantages over people who do not—from cancer prevention to longevity to gentler skin aging—thanks to its antioxidant polyphenols.
  3. Broccoli. This is the item on the list you'd be best off learning to love if you don't already, because its nutrition profile beats out all other veggies according to a Harvard University study. It has well-documented anti-inflammatory effects, which can help with everything from eye health and arthritis to heart disease and sun damage. Eat it a couple of nights a week if you can.
  4. Salmon. You obviously want to be careful about sourcing when it comes to any fish choice, but the short version is, wild Alaskan is a good bet. Salmon is loaded with anti-inflammatory omega 3s, healthy fats, and vitamin B12. Bonus side effect: Glowing skin.
  5. Extra virgin olive oil. It’s gotta be EV: Eat it for heart-disease prevention, cancer prevention, its cholesterol-lowering good fats, its antioxidants, and because it’s completely and utterly delicious and frankly, a good olive oil tastes better than butter.
  6. Dark leafy greens.Yes, they can be bitter and less than exciting at first, but they are loaded with vitamins and iron and can be snuck into meals easily (omelets, pasta, salads, etc.). Prepared the same way as the broccoli suggestion takes five minutes and is super tasty with eggs for breakfast.
  7. Walnuts. These are packed with good fats (the monounsaturated kind), which is great for heart health, lowering cholesterol, boosting brain function, and reducing inflammation. You don't need many of these to reap the benefits, though.
  8. Blueberries. What gives these guys a leg up on other fruit is the fact that they're super low in calories and very high in vitamin C, fiber, vitamin E, and other brain-boosting nutrients. A Tufts University study found that when they evaluated 60 other fruits and veggies for their antioxidant capability, the blues came out on top.
  9. Dark chocolate. You should eat this because it’s delicious, and because a recent study also showed its capacity to protect skin from UV damage.
  10. Avocados. It's encouraging to know that in addition to being nature's unadulterated butter, they're also loaded with cholesterol-lowering power, potassium, folate, carotenoids, vitamin E, and happiness-inducing monounsaturated fats. (guacamole counts!)


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