Here’s a common misconception: Eating healthy is hard. It can be—that is if you’re easily swayed by fad diets featuring the most exotic ingredients (err, lingonberries or limequat, anyone?). While these trendy eats do have great nutritional value, they’re not exactly the types you can easily grab from the grocery shelf, sitting pretty next to your everyday lettuce.
The good news: There are diet superstars, a.k.a. superfoods, that are more readily available, some of which you may probably already have in your pantry. What makes them special? Known as nutrient powerhouses, these “super” eats are brimming with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants—often without the unnecessary calories—to help protect from a slew of diseases and keep you slim. Here are five easy-to-find picks to add to your plate now.
This creamy fruit gets a bad rap for being rich in fat, but it’s actually the good kind of fat: Avocados are loaded with oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that helps lower your cholesterol, protect against cancer, and reduce inflammation (this is particularly helpful in shrinking your waistline). It’s also packed with fiber, which is great for your digestive system; contains Vitamin E to promote healthy skin and hair; and tops the charts as a source of potassium and magnesium.
Get your fix: Serve on toast for breakfast, blend into a smoothie, or mix with onions and lemon juice to make yummy guacamole.
Aside from adding a pop of colour to your salad plate, fresh, juicy tomatoes offer a bounty of nutritional benefits. The most notable: It’s an excellent source of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that protects your body from certain cancers, improves heart health, keeps your eyes healthy, promotes stronger bones, and delays brain deterioration—so you stay sharp longer! They’re also rich in Vitamins A, C, and E—all of which protect from cell-damaging free radicals.
Get your fix: Pile them in your sandwiches, mash and boil into a tangy soup, or eat ‘em fresh and whole.
Treat yourself to some guilt-free sweetness: Though small in size, these berries are big in antioxidants, particularly anthocyanins, which have thrice the stress-fighting power of Vitamin C. Also worth knowing: The anti-inflammatory properties in blueberries can significantly lessen your chances of getting chronic diseases, since inflammation is a top driver of most illnesses.
Get your fix: Sprinkle them on your a.m. yogurt, use to top a killer pie, or cook into a sauce that you can drizzle on your proteins.
Aside from being loaded with fiber, cancer-fighting antioxidants, and Vitamin C (which aids in iron absorption), broccoli packs a punch in terms of delivering calcium to help boost bone health and combat or slow down aging problems such as osteoarthritis. Its omega-3 fatty acids make it a natural anti-inflammatory, while the sulforaphane (a natural compound) is known to improve cardiovascular and even kidney health.
Get your fix: Steam and serve as a side dish, or use to add colour—and nutrients—to your favorite stir-fry.
Fish are friends, and this lean, pinkish meat ought to be your BFF: Eating salmon at least twice a week can do wonders for your heart, since it’s loaded with omega-3 fatty acids that improve cardiac function by reducing inflammation and lowering your blood pressure. These omega-3s have also been linked to improved immunity, eyesight, and brain function. Bonus: Salmon’s selenium content offers protective benefits against cell damage.
Get your fix: Serve it smoked, grilled, or sashimi-style–the possibilities are endless.
Bottom line, there’s no need to keep waiting for the next wonder food on the Dr. Oz Show to give your diet a boost. Check out our FREE healthy eating plan here if you need help in getting started!