Photo: dodotone/Shutterstock

24 Super Healthy Eats and Drinks for 2009

by Juliane Huang Dec 15, 2008
Make this 2009 the year you start eating better, leaving behind processed foods and beverages for these healthy alternatives.
1. Acai

HAILING FROM THE AMAZON RAINFOREST, Acai berries are so rich in antioxidants you’d need to drink 20 times as much wine to match a single serving. They contain high levels of Omega fatty acids and amino acids.

2. Green Tea

Green tea is rich in an anti-oxidant known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Studies show that EGCG inhibits cancer cell growth cells, and can be effective in lowering LDL cholesterol levels, as well as inhibiting the abnormal formation of blood clots. Other types of teas, while still providing health benefits, do not contain EGCG.

3. Beans

From green beans to kidney beans, there is no bean that is not a superstar in your diet. I know, it’s kind of cheating to encompass all beans as number three on the list, but what’s a health nut to do when all beans are good for the body?

An amazing source of fiber, beans are high in iron, manganese, and protein. Combine kidney beans, black beans, and white beans to make a three bean salad! Add lima beans to your soup! Use pinto beans in your chili!

4. Tuna

An extremely nutritious food, tuna is chock full of protein, Vitamin B, and Omega-3 fatty acids. Whether canned or fresh, tuna makes a solid contribution to your personal health.

When buying fresh tuna, be sure to use a trusted grocer or one that has a strong reputation for having a frequent supply of fresh fish.

5. Quinoa

This South American grains is sacred to the native peoples of the Andean mountains. Quinoa is high in protein, essential amino acids, and dietary fiber. Include them in your salad or as a gluten-free alternative to your meal. It cooks up quickly and is easy to digest.

6. Olive oil

Want shinier hair? Healthier skin? Consuming olive oil may be just the thing you need. From protecting people from heart disease to helping them regulate their cholesterol, olive oil is a must to include in your diet.

Be sure to purchase extra virgin olive oil as it is the safest to consume and contains the highest amounts of polyphenol antioxidants.

7. Oatmeal

Did you know that oats contain soluble fiber, a cholesterol blasting ninja? And lower cholesterol levels mean lower risks of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Start the day off with a yummy, hot bowl of oatmeal. Just chill on the sugar. Try maple syrup, molasses, or agave nectar instead.

8. Blueberries

Rich in vitamins, blueberries help lower cholesterol as well as help fight against cognitive decline.

Like the skins on grapes, blueberry skins contain flavonols that are not only great for your health, but also inhibit the development of cancer cells.

9. Mushrooms

Nature’s little umbrellas, mushrooms are high in fiber and vitamins like riboflavin and ascorbic acid. Bake ’em, sautee ’em, grill ’em: mushrooms make an excellent and delicious addition to your meals!

10. Soy

As a complete source of protein, soy is the foundation of vegetarian food and beverages. But did you know that the soybean also contains loads of Omega-3 fatty acids?

11. Alfalfa sprouts

Though it tastes like grass, this superfood is loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and other essential nutrients. Worried about your cholesterol? Want to fight osteoporosis? Have high blood pressure? Incorporating alfalfa sprouts into your diet is like injecting a huge does of life force into your body.

12. Ginger

More a medicinal aid than a superfood, ginger is nevertheless an ingredient you want to incorporate into your diet. This root helps digestion, reduces nausea, and even stimulates blood circulation, which helps remove toxins from the body.

In addition to all that, ginger is a direct anti-inflammatory. Throw it in a dish when you’re feeling under the weather. It’s a great, natural way to relieve symptoms and boost the immune system.

13. Salmon

Salmon tops the list of fish that is good for you. High in protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin D, and good cholesterol, salmon helps prevent strokes and heart attacks. Just remember to stick to the wild Alaskan salmon.

14. Yogurt

With frozen yogurt making a huge comeback, this product is fast becoming near and dear to people’s hearts. It’s no surprise, as yogurt contains large amounts of friendly bacteria that do everything from help your digestion to protect you from infection.

It’s good for your bones, good for your immune system, and good for your body’s fat burning ability. But watch out: most yogurt products also have tons of sugar and unfortunately, sugar is not good for you.

15. Bananas

Ever wonder why people claim a sports drink and a banana as the ultimate hangover cure? That’s because bananas are the best source of potassium.

Potassium is an important electrolyte your body needs, especially after going big at the bars. In addition to adding potassium to the body, bananas increase the body’s absorption of calcium and help protect against stomach ulcers.

16. Bell peppers

High in Vitamins C and A, bell peppers are a fantastic, crispy treat for your body. Whether green, yellow, red, or orange, bell peppers are all rich in antioxidants which offer a wide array of health benefits. Dice ’em to put in a salad! Slice ’em to add to your curry!

17. Barley

In addition to its fantastic fiber content, barley contains niacin, which protects your cardiovascular system. Like other whole grains that are low in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol, barley helps reduce the incidence of heart disease, certain cancers, and even Type 2 Diabetes.

18. Papaya

This tasty fruit is brimming with Vitamin C and a great source of folate and potassium. It helps you maintain cardiovascular health and fight colon cancer. Some of the antioxidant nutrients in papaya also have anti-inflammatory effects.

I remember as a kid, I would always have papaya-milk smoothies in the summers. They are refreshing and nutritious!

19. Tomatoes

The premier source of lycopene, tomatoes, and all tomato products, are protective against a growing list of cancers. Included in that list are colon, prostate, pancreatic, and breast cancers. Tomatoes are also high in antioxidants.

20. Walnuts

Like many other superfoods, walnuts are an important source of Omega-3 fatty acids as well as other monounsaturated fats. Eating just four walnuts a day significantly increases your Omega-3 levels. Plus, walnuts make a great, crunchy addition to any dish or desert!

21. Avocado

In addition to being a good source of monounsaturated fats, avocados are high in folate, a nutrient that plays an important role in protecting you from cardiovascular disease or stroke. Just one cup contains 23% of the daily value for folate. So get the chips and make some guac!

22. Spinach

The classic superfood, spinach is filled to the brim with antioxidants, cancer-fighting agents, Iron, and Vitamin K. From protecting you from cancer to keeping your bones in tip-top shape, spinach does it all. Popeye was on to something.

23. Kale

A leafy, green vegetable that contains enormous amounts of Vitamins A, C, and K, kale has more nutritional value for fewer calories than almost all other foods. It’s inexpensive and because it’s easy to grow, you can find it at your local grocer’s all year round. It’s also a great source of fiber and calcium.

24. Chocolate

Nature’s aphrodisiac, chocolate is full of flavonoids, which are the antioxidants that protect the body from damage done by free radicals. Lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and heart disease prevention are just some of the benefits of antioxidants.

Chocolate also contains the anti-depressant serotonin. No wonder eating chocolate always makes you feel better! Try and shoot for dark chocolate though, as it contains lesser amounts of sugar and milk fat and higher amounts of antioxidants. Don’t even ask about white chocolate.

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2009!

Discover Matador