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Foods that Pack a Nutritional Punch

WFL Week 9

-- By SparkPeople

Yes, it's possible to eat certain foods and boost your longevity. Often labeled "super foods," these foods have the ability to not only strengthen the immune system, but to also fight disease, and lower body fat and cholesterol.

All of these health benefits can help you live a longer, healthier, and happier life.

Some super foods contain substances called antioxidants and phytochemicals, which work together to fight disease and promote a long life.

A majority of these foods work best when they're combined with a well-balanced diet.

Common Super Foods For Boosting Longevity

Certain types of fish, particularly fatty cuts of fish, contain healthy fats that help lower cholesterol and prevent heart attacks. These foods may also reduce depression. Salmon, trout, and mackerel are among the top choices. These fish contain valuable omega-3 fatty acids.

Tomatoes are valuable because they contain lycopene, which helps fight free radicals. Free radicals can damage the skin and vital organs. Lycopene also helps stimulate the immune system; some studies show it might prevent the progression of certain degenerative diseases, and protect against prostate cancer.

When it comes to broccoli, your mother had it right. Broccoli could be considered the number one super food; many experts agree that if you can eat just one vegetable, these green guys are your best bet. Broccoli contains large amounts of vitamin C, calcium, and fiber, and can help prevent bone loss, fight disease, reduce your risk of heart disease, and even boost your immune system.

Garlic is a wonderful supplement that acts as a powerful anti-viral which can reduce your chances for catching colds and common infections. Garlic also has many natural anti-oxidant properties. Fresh garlic contains the most nutrients, although it's also available in capsule form. Spice up your favorite dish with some dried garlic for an extra boost.

Oats, like many other types of grain, are high in soluble and insoluble fiber, which help protect the body from colon cancer. This high-fiber cereal keeps you fuller longer, aiding in your weight loss efforts. Oats also help build strong bones.

Green tea helps stimulate your metabolism (a bonus for anyone trying to lose weight) but also helps prevent the oxidation of cells in the body. Green tea is also thought to be an immune system booster. It's rich in antioxidants and certain vitamins, including A, C and E. Replace your after-dinner coffee with this brew, and your body will thank you.

Yogurt contains "friendly" bacteria, which help maintain the intestines and keep the bowels regulated. It can also suppress yeast overgrowth in both men and women. High in calcium, yogurt is also believed to act as a natural appetite suppressant. Soy yogurts contain these same live cultures, so don’t let a dairy-free diet stop you from getting these essential nutrients.
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