Try these quick-grab prepared foods that pump up your health:
- Smoothies – Those made with whole fruits, vegetables and yogurt are full of antioxidants, fiber, and calcium.
- Mini Yogurt Packs – Yogurt has 100 more milligrams of calcium per serving than milk. Go for those with no added sugar.
- Trail Mix – Dried fruits are full of antioxidants. And nuts offer vitamin E, protein and healthy fats. Both are high in calories, so a small handful will do.
- Frozen Fruits and Vegetables – They’re processed at the peak of freshness.
- Instant Oatmeal – High in fiber and iron, this whole grain beats back heart disease. Skip the flavored, sugary packs.
- Whole Grain Cereals and Frozen Waffles – Fiber-rich whole grains offer lots of nutrients like cancer-fighting selenium and heart-healthy potassium and magnesium.
- Low-Sodium, Low-Fat Soups – Try vegetable, bean, or chicken noodle for about 90-170 calories per cup, 2 grams of fat, and 90-470 milligrams of sodium (your daily limit should hover at 2,300 milligrams of sodium).
- Nut Butters – Add cashew or almond butter to your peanut butter routine. They’re full of healthy unsaturated oils and protein – but watch the calories.
CoQ10 helps the heart pump blood
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a nutrient that occurs naturally in every cell in the body, improved blood-vessel function and increased peak exercise capacity in those with heart disease, in two new studies.
In a coronary artery disease (CAD) study, researchers recruited 33 men and five women, average age 55, who had CAD and whose hearts pumped blood normally, to take 300 mg of CoQ10 in three 100 mg does per day or a placebo for one month. Doctors measured the activity of an important antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase or SOD on blood vessel walls, which declines in CAD. Those who had taken CoQ10 had a 29% increase in SOD activity compared to 4% for placebo. Scientists also measured the arteries’ ability to relax (dilate), the heart’s ability to deliver oxygen and the cells’ capacity to absorb oxygen and found that, in all three measures, those who had taken CoQ10 had significantly greater improvement compared to placebo. Participants who began with the lowest SOD activity improved remarkably.
In chronic heart failure (CHF), the heart is damaged and may not fill with or pump enough blood. Researchers recruited 20 men and three women with CHF, average age 59, to participate in four, four-week double-blind phases taking: 1) 300 mg of CoQ10 in three 100 mg doses per day without exercise training, 3) a placebo without exercise, or 4) a placebo with supervised exercise training. Doctors measured the capacity of the cells to absorb oxygen and the ability of the arteries to dilate. Compared to placebo, the CoQ10 group increased by 9% and 38% respectively. Scientists also tracked an index that measures the ability of the left ventricle of the heart to pump blood, which improved by 12%.
There are lots of foods that are good for you. But these 10 superfoods go beyond a simple vitamin dose here or a nutrient-drenched nibble there. These are research-backed, expert-beloved disease fighters and energy boosters. Making them your go-to eats is easy-we’ve got a month’s worth of recipes and a menu planner, so you don’t even have to think about what’s for dinner tonight. Dig in!
- Just one lemon has more than 100 percent of your daily intake of vitamin C, which may help increase “good” HDL cholesterol levels and strengthen bones.
- Citrus flavonoids found in lemons may help inhibit the growth of cancer cells and act as an anti-inflammatory.
- Quick Tip – Add a slice of lemon to your green tea. One study found that citrus increases your body’s ability to absorb the antioxidants in the tea by about 80 percent.
- One medium stalk of broccoli contains more than 100 percent of your daily vitamin K requirement and almost 100 percent of your recommended daily dose of vitamin C-two essential bone-building nutrients.
- The same serving also helps stave off numerous cancers.
- Quick Tip – Zap it! Preserve up to 90 percent of broccoli’s vitamin C by microwaving. (Steaming or boiling holds on to just 66 percent of the nutrient.)
- Just one-fourth of an ounce daily can reduce blood pressure in otherwise healthy individuals.
- Cocoa powder is rich in flavonoids, antioxidants shown to reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol and increase “good” HDL levels.
- Quick Tip – A dark chocolate bar contains about 53.5 milligrams of flavonoids; a milk-chocolate bar has fewer than 14.
- One red potato contains 66 micrograms of cell-building folate-about the same amount found in one cup of spinach or broccoli.
- One sweet potato has almost eight times the amount of cancer-fighting and immune-boosting vitamin A you need daily.
- Quick Tip – Let your potato cool before eating. Research shows that doing so can help burn close to 25 percent more fat after a meal, thanks to a fat-resistant starch.
- A great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to a reduced risk of depression, heart disease and cancer.
- A three-ounce serving contains almost 50 percent of your daily dose of niacin, which may protect against Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss.
- Quick Tip – Opt for wild over farm-raised, which contains 16 times as much toxic polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) as wild salmon.
- Contain the most omega-3 fatty acids, which may help reduce cholesterol, of all nuts.
- Omega-3s have been shown to improve mood and fight cancer; they may protect against sun damage, too (but don’t skip the SPF!).
- Quick Tip – Eat a few for dessert : The antioxidant melatonin, found in walnuts, helps to regulate sleep.
- Rich in healthy, satisfying fats proven in one study to lower cholesterol by about 22 percent.
- One has more than half the fiber and 40 percent of the folate you need daily, which may reduce your risk of heart disease.