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.