This delicious dairy product is vitamin-rich and nutritious. According to a University of Tennessee study, yogurt may help people lose weight while maintaining muscle. Other studies have found yogurt may bolster your immune system, prevent yeast infections and stop bad breath. Substitute frozen yogurt for ice cream as your dessert of choice.
2. Olive Oil
Ample medical research has shown that the benefits of olive oil may go way beyond its wonderful taste. A study by Greek scientists at the University of Athens in 2004 found that this monounsaturated oil, which is rich in antioxidants, may be the key to the healthy Mediterranean diet-meaning a lower risk of heart attacks, diabetes and colon cancers.
Whether you toss them in a salad or add them to a burrito, beans are a low-calorie, high-fiber ingredient. Packed with antioxidants, protein and iron, beans may be the ultimate healthy food. A USDA report in 2005 said that they may even reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. Because beans are a complex carbohydrate, they provide plenty of energy while regulating blood-sugar levels.
When life gets busy, it's too easy to skip meals or cut corners. Grabbing a handful of nuts is a convenient way to make sure that you get enough protein. Like olive oil, nuts are a great source of heart-healthy monounsaturated oil and antioxidant-rich, bone-strengthening magnesium. Add chopped walnuts to a salad or cashews to a stir fry.
This leafy green is one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat. Spinach is uncommonly rich in a variety of nutrients including calcium, iron, potassium, vitamins A, K, and C. A study published in 2004 by the Journal of Nutrition found that spinach combats prostate cancer, while other studies have shown spinach may protect vision and bolster cardiovascular health.
In addition to being a hearty soup staple, barley is a cholesterol-lowering grain high in fiber and niacin. Barley also produces butyric acid, a fatty acid that fights colon cancer. Try mixing barley flakes into your morning cereal for a wholesome breakfast.
Used for centuries to ward off everything from vampires to evil spirits, garlic is high in vitamins C and B6, and it contains powerful anti-bacterial and anti-viral agents that help fight common colds and flu. Regular consumption of garlic is also believed to protect against cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Studies have shown that fish is one of the world's healthiest foods. Fatty fish such as salmon is packed with protein, niacin and Omega-3, an essential fatty acid that promotes healthy cardiovascular activity. Omega-3 may also protect against a host of health concerns from obesity to sunburns. A 2005 study published by the Archives of Neurology claims that eating fish once a week may even slow the rate of cognitive decline.
Fiber-rich tomatoes are low in calories and high in vitamin C, vitamin A, and cancer-preventing lycopene. Like olive oil, tomatoes are an important part of the touted Mediterranean diet. Several studies have found tomatoes are also beneficial in fighting various forms of cancer. Fact: although often classified as vegetables, tomatoes are, technically, fruit.
The nutrients in this creamy, sinfully rich-tasting vegetable read like a list of essentials for a healthy diet: cholesterol-lowering monounsaturated fat, fiber, copper, potassium and vitamins C, K, and B6. Add chopped avocado to a salad, or mash avocados to make fresh guacamole.