While you should exercise to take care of your health, what you put into your body can have a great impact on how you feel and your overall general health.
And as part of your efforts to stay healthy, you’re also trying to stave off diseases, like heart disease, cancer and other issues that unhealthy foods can help usher in.
WebMD recommends that you incorporate these foods into your diet for their many health benefits.
Berries – These delicious little numbers contain antioxidants that help neutralize “free radicals” (cell-damaging molecules) that can lead to chronic diseases, including cancer and heart disease and urinary tract infections.
Dairy – Milk, cheese and yogurts are the best source of calcium and are loaded with vitamins and minerals, which help fight osteoporosis and keep your bones strong.
Fatty fish – Omega-3 fatty acids are abundant in fish like salmon and tuna, disease-fighting foods that can help lower blood fats and prevent blood clots associated with heart disease.
Dark, leafy greens – This is all that stuff your mom told you to eat: spinach, kale and dark lettuces. They’re chock full of vitamins and magnesium, which help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Whole grains – Oatmeal is a great way to start the day. It takes a long time to break down so you feel full longer, and it helps reduce blood cholesterol levels, not to mention is great for your digestions. Also consider whole grain pasta, wild rice, quinoa and whole wheat breads.
Sweet potatoes – Sweet potatoes are loaded with antioxidants, beta-carotine, calcium and more goodies that promote good digestion and prevent heart disease and cancer.
Tomatoes – This fruit contains lycopene — an antioxidant that can protect against some cancers. Tomatoes also deliver an abundance of vitamins A and C, potassium and phytochemicals.
Beans and legumes – These non-animal sources of protein also contain loads of folic acid, fiber, iron and magnesium. Eating beans and legumes regularly can help reduce the risk of certain cancers; lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels; and stabilize blood sugar.
Nuts – While nuts are fatty, they contain “good” mono- and polyunsaturated fat. These types of fat can reduce cholesterol levels and help prevent heart disease. In addition, nuts are a good source of protein, fiber, selenium, vitamin E and vitamin A. The other benefit is that they are a great source of energy and a small amount can fill you up fast.
Eggs – Eggs are packed with economical, high-quality protein, and are an excellent source of the carotenoids lutein, choline and xeanthin.
In fact, eggs are one of the best sources of dietary choline, an essential nutrient – especially for pregnant women. Nutrients in eggs can promote eye health and help prevent age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in older people.