Top Foods for Your Health
Cure a headache, fight fatigue, lose weight and prevent type 2 diabetes! These MVP foods will help you feel better in justoneday.
FORTIFIED WHOLE-GRAIN CEREALIron helps your red blood cells deliver oxygen to your brain. Nearly one bowl (such as bran flakes or Cheerios) gives you at least 45% of your day's worth for only 100 calories.
GREEN TEAGreen tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid that's been shown to help maintain alertness.
UNSWEETENED COCOA POWDERThe ancient Aztecs used cocoa to fight fatigue, and they may have been on to something: Cocoa is a rich source of flavanols, compounds that naturally increase blood flow to the brain—all for just 12 calories per Tbsp.
LENTILSThese little legumes contain the perfect mix of protein, complex carbs and fiber to prevent post-meal blood sugar dips that can cause your energy to crash.
SIRLOIN STEAKLike iron, vitamin B12keeps you energized by keeping your red blood cells healthy—4 oz lean sirloin steak provides 82% of your daily B12. Bonus: You also get 12% of your day's iron.
BREAKFAST Trail mix and yogurt
Toss ¾ cup Cheerios + 1 Tbsp pumpkin seeds+ 1 Tbsp slivered almonds + 1 Tbsp dried blueberries. Serve with 6 oz lowfat yogurtand 8 oz green tea.
LUNCH Spinach saladToss 3 cups baby spinach + 1 hard-boiled egg + 2 hard-boiled egg whites with 2 Tbsp Italian vinaigrette. Serve with 1 cup lentil soup, 1 medium (2½") whole-wheat roll and 8 oz iced green tea sweetened with 2 oz orange juice.
SNACK 1 small banana + 1 Tbsp Nutella.
DINNER Cocoa-rubbed steakRub 4 oz lean sirloin steak with ½ tsp unsweetened cocoa powder + ¼ tsp chili powder + ¼ tsp brown sugar; broil or grill. Serve with 2 medium new potatoes, diced and roasted in 2 tsp olive oil + 1 cup green beans tossed with 1 tsp olive oil.
DAILY TOTAL1,660 CAL, 55 G FAT (15 SAT FAT), 1,923 MG SOD, 71 G PRO, 34 G FIBER
BROWN RICEIf you suffer from frequent migraines, you could have low magnesium levels. This grain offers 27% of your daily dose per cooked cup.
ROMAINE LETTUCEWater-rich foods like romaine (it's 95% H2O) can help combat the dehydration that often leads to head pain. Other picks include spinach, melons, cucumbers and papayas.
GINGERThis ancient root may help you find headache relief because it's a potent anti-inflammatory and also contains a small amount of antihistamine.
HALIBUTLow vitamin D is another possible cause of chronic headaches, according to new research. A 5-oz halibut steak delivers nearly half your entire daily requirement of D along with ample omega-3 fats, which are believed to lessen pain because of their calming effects on your body.
EGGSOne egg delivers 21% of your day's worth of riboflavin, an important B vitamin that may reduce the number and length of migraines—and helps keep cells strong by protecting them from free radical damage.
BREAKFAST Savory waffle sandwich
Layer 1 egg scrambled in 1 tsp butter + 2 slices tomato + ¼ sliced avocado between 2 whole-grain waffles.
LUNCH Mexican chicken saladToss 2 cups shredded romaine lettuce + 4 oz skinless diced rotisserie chicken breast + ¾ cup no-salt-added black beans + ¾ cup thawed frozen corn kernels + 2 Tbsp chopped onion. Top with ¼ cup chunky salsa mixed with 1 Tbsp olive oil and 10 crumbled tortilla chips.
SNACK 6 oz nonfat plain Greek yogurt + 1 cup cubed cantaloupe + 1 tsp honey.
DINNER Halibut with spinach and brown riceSauté 2 cups baby spinach in 2 tsp canola oil with ¼ tsp chopped fresh ginger. Serve with a 5-oz grilled halibut steak + ¼ cup brown rice*.
SWEET FIX!Butterscotch s'moresTop a graham cracker square with 1 marshmallow + 2 tsp butterscotch morsels. Top with another graham cracker square and microwave 15 to 20 seconds.
DAILY TOTAL1,647 CAL, 59 G FAT (13 G SAT FAT), 1,765 MG SOD, 109 G PRO, 24 G FIBER
PEASLegumes like peas are a rich source of fiber and protein—and eating a little over 2 oz a day (about ½ cup) can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by more than a third.
COFFEEDrinking 3 cups of java a day can head off diabetes by 34%, thanks to powerful antioxidants that help your body use insulin.
EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OILIn a recent study, people who followed an EVOO-rich diet were half as likely to develop diabetes as people on a lowfat diet. (The nutrients in olive oil work together to combat the inflammation that can lead to diabetes.)
WALNUTSThese nuts contain a mix of polyunsaturated fats that may help your body use insulin more efficiently. Munching on 2 oz walnuts each week can trim your odds of developing type 2 diabetes by 24%.
QUINOA1 cup cooked quinoa dishes up more than a third of your day's worth of magnesium, a mineral that helps decrease insulin resistance in your body.
BREAKFAST Apricot-walnut oatmealMicrowave ½ cup rolled oats* + 3 Tbsp chopped walnuts + 2 Tbsp chopped dried apricots + ½ cup nonfat or soy milk. Serve with a 12-oz nonfat latte.
LUNCHChicken pitaToss 3 oz diced grilled chicken breast + 1 chopped roasted pepper + ¼ cup arugula. Drizzle with 2 tsp olive oil whisked with 2 tsp balsamic vinegar. Stuff in a 6½" whole-wheat pita.
SNACK Coffee-banana smoothieBlend ½ cup brewed coffee + ½ cup nonfat or soy milk + 1 small banana + 1 pinch cinnamon + ¼ cup ice.
DINNER Roast pork loin with quinoa and peasCook ¼ cup quinoa* in ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth + 2 tsp olive oil + 1 tsp curry powder; toss with ½ cup peas. Top with 4 oz roast pork tenderloin.
SWEET FIX!1 cup sliced strawberries + 2 Tbsp nonfat Greek yogurt.
DAILY TOTAL1,542 CAL, 48 G FAT (7 G SAT FAT), 1,112 MG SOD, 101 G PRO, 25 G FIBER
LOWFAT COTTAGE CHEESEYour body when digesting protein than carbs—and with 14 g protein per ½ cup, cottage cheese enables you to get your fix for only 80 calories.
BARLEYThis power grain could help you eat less. When volunteers ate a bedtime snack of either barley or white bread, the barley eaters had higher levels of satiety hormones and ate 12% less at lunch the next day.
SUNFLOWER SEEDSThese seeds are full of mono- and polyunsaturated fats, which help your body burn 23% more calories than saturated fat. They're also jammed with protein and fiber, so they keep you full for hours.
PEARSThis fruit's combo of water and fiber fills you up and satisfies a sweet tooth. Maybe that's why one study found that eating three pears a day helped participants drop almost 2 pounds in 10 weeks. (Apples do the trick, too.)
MUSTARDThe savory spread is a smart low-cal way to boost your calorie burn. When volunteers in one study ate a brunch that included nearly 1½ Tbsp Dijon mustard, their metabolism jumped 14%.
BREAKFAST Crunchy raspberry sundae
Microwave ¾ cup frozen raspberries + 1 tsp sugar for 30 seconds. Spoon over ¾ cup 1% cottage cheese; top with 3 Tbsp sunflower seeds.
LUNCH Tuna-vegetable wrapToss 3 oz canned water-packed tuna + 2 Tbsp diced celery + ¼ cup grated carrots with 2 tsp Dijon mustard + 2 tsp canola oil mayonnaise. Serve in an 8" whole-wheat wrap with ¼ cup shredded romaine lettuce. Eat with 1 cup grapes.
SNACK 1 pear + two 1" Brie cubes.
DINNER Portobello risottoBring 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth to a boil, add ½ cup barley*, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 to 30 minutes until tender. Top with 1 diced portobello mushroom + 1 Tbsp minced shallots that have been sautéed in 1 tsp olive oil until softened, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp Parmesan.
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