12 Foods That Are Part of a Healthy Lifestyle

Some of your favorite foods can help you stay young and healthy. Preventive nutrients in the following ingredients can lower your blood pressure and decrease your risk of heart attack and diabetes. Ellie Krieger, registered dietician and host of Food Network’s Healthy Appetite, shares two full-flavored, rejuvenating recipes.

1. Monounsaturated fats in olive oil are associated with lower rates of heart disease and colon cancer, and reduced risk of diabetes and osteoporosis.

2. Quercetin in onions is one of the most powerful flavonoids (natural plant antioxidants). Studies show it helps prevent cancer.

3. Rich in carotenoids, carrots may help lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar levels, and protect against coronary heart disease and certain cancers.

4. An excellent source of potassium and manganese, zucchini provides your body with vitamins C, B1, and B6.

5. Several population studies associate an increased intake of garlic with a reduced risk of cancers, including stomach, colon, esophagus, pancreas, and breast.

6. Processing makes the cancer-fighting compounds in tomato paste more available to your body because heat breaks down the plant’s cell walls.

7. The type of soluble, cholesterol-lowering fiber found in chickpeas is not only heart-healthy, but helps stabilize blood sugars—particularly important for people living with diabetes.

8. Fresh basil boasts a healthy dose of blood-clotting vitamin K, and its oils and extracts are said to possess antibacterial and antioxidant properties.

9. Omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon promote heart, skin, and joint health. A study in the British Journal of Ophthalmology suggests omega-3s could also protect against age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

10. Data from a study published in Diabetes Care reported that a dietary pattern incorporating more low-fat dairy products may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes in middle-aged or older women.

11. According to a USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging in Boston report, blueberries may improve motor skills and reverse the short-term memory loss that comes with aging.

12. A limited study at the University of Memphis Exercise and Sports Nutrition Laboratory found honey to be one of the most effective forms of carbohydrate gels to ingest prior to exercise, also functioning well in post-workout recuperation.

Salmon with Chickpea Ragu

Salmon with Chickpea Ragu

(Makes 4 servings)

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add carrot, zucchini, and garlic and cook, stirring, until carrots are firm-tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir. Add chicken broth and chickpeas and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, until liquid thickens, about 10 minutes. Remove skillet from heat, add 1 cup basil and ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Stir and cover to keep warm.

To cook salmon: preheat broiler. Season with remaining salt and pepper. Broil fillets for 8 to 10 minutes per inch thickness, turning once. Serve with 1 ½ cups chickpea ragu in shallow bowl. Garnish with basil.

Per serving: 1 salmon fillet and 1 1/2 cups chickpea ragu

calories: 460

fat: 17 g (saturated: 2.5 g; monounsaturated: 7 g; polyunsaturated: 5 g)

protein: 46 g

carbohydrate: 30 g

fiber: 6 g

cholesterol: 95 mg

sodium: 550 mg

Ellie’s Blueberry Blast Smoothie

Blueberry Blast Smoothie

(Makes 1 smoothie)

Put all ingredients into blender and process until smooth.

Per serving: 1 smoothie
calories: 195
fat: 1 g (saturated: 0 g; monounsaturated: 0 g; polyunsaturated: 0 g)
protein: 10g
carbohydrate: 40 g
fiber: 4 g
cholesterol: 5 mg
sodium: 134 mg

Spice Things Up!

Krieger says spices such as turmeric (found in curry) and ginger provide anti-inflammatory effects—an observation especially important for anyone suffering from rheumatoid arthritis or inflammation-related ailments.

Foods to Reduce Inflammation

In a campaign to raise awareness and educate women about rheumatoid arthritis (RA), Ellie Krieger, registered dietitian and host of Food Network’s hit show Healthy Appetite, offers simple diet tips to promote and support healthy joints.

Not to be confused with osteoarthritis, which is caused by wear and tear on aging joints, RA is an autoimmune disease that may also affect the eyes, skin, or lungs. Here, Krieger shares with the Post some foods that may reduce inflammation in the body and help relieve the painful swelling and stiffness that is often associated with RA.

“Inflammation is the main thing. And there are foods I find so interesting, particularly spices like turmeric, which is one of the main ingredients in curry. Try curry on cauliflower or use ginger in an Asian-flavored stir-fry. These spices have been linked with having an anti-inflammatory effect,” says Krieger.

Although mainly developed for patients of RA, Krieger’s campaign recipes are beneficial to anyone trying to eat a healthier diet. “It’s about spicing up your life with wonderful flavors. I have a recipe for a Blueberry Blast Smoothie, which is milk blended with a little honey and some fresh (or frozen) blueberries. You’re getting antioxidants, and you’re getting your Vitamin D in essentially what I think tastes like a milkshake.” Additionally, Krieger shares her Chickpea and Spinach Salad with Cumin Dressing, an excellent source of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, and a good source of iron and vitamin A.

Blueberry Blast Smoothie

Blueberry Blast Smoothie
Blueberry Blast Smoothie

(Makes 1 smoothie)

Put all ingredients into a blender and process until smooth.

Nutrition Information
Per serving:

Chickpea and Spinach Salad with Cumin Dressing

Chickpea Spinach Salad with Cumin Dressing
Chickpea Spinach Salad with Cumin Dressing. Photo courtesy of Ellie Krieger.

(Makes 4 servings)

In medium bowl, combine chickpeas, parsley, and onion. In small bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice and zest, cumin, cayenne, salt, and black pepper. Pour dressing over the chickpea mixture and toss to coat evenly. In small bowl, stir together yogurt, orange juice and zest, and honey. Serve chickpea salad over bed of spinach leaves. Top with yogurt sauce and garnish with mint.

Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1/2 cup chickpea salad, 1/2 cup spinach, and 1 tablespoon yogurt sauce
Per serving:

Courtesy of Elle Krieger
Ellie Krieger

Krieger recently teamed up with Emmy winner Deborah Norville and a panel of experts to discuss and share information important to people with RA. Proper nutrition, fitness, relationships, career management—it’s all part of an online talk show to educate the public on a disease affecting more than 1.3 million Americans, most of which are women. For more information, visit newwayra.com/newwayra/home.html.

Recipes courtesy of Ellie Krieger.