Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries — they are all loaded with antioxidants that can help counteract the oxidative stress caused by free radicals, which can trigger diseases. “Stick with food forms of antioxidants and stay away from the supplements as high doses can be harmful and some interact with certain medications,” advises Kayla Fitzgerald, a registered dietitian and nutritionist at Nutrition Rites, a nutrition counseling center in Charleston, South Carolina. Plus, she adds, berries are much tastier than a supplement and you’ll get the added bonus of fiber. “One cup of blackberries provides 8g of fiber.” That’s about a third of the recommended amount of fiber for the day.
2. Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt has a winning combination of carbohydrates and protein that will help keep you full until your next meal, according to Fitzgerald. “The yogurt aisle can be overwhelming so remember these tips next time you’re at the store: Look for more than 10 grams of protein and less than 20 grams of total carbohydrates (this will help to make sure there’s not a ton of added sugar).” Avoid fruit-flavored as well as low- or non-fat yogurts because they have much more sugar.
3. Leafy greens
“Leafy greens are a great source of vitamin A and vitamin C,” Fitzgerald says. Many of them are also a good source of calcium, which is important for anyone avoiding dairy products. Calcium is crucial for healthy bones, teeth, heart health, and blood clotting. “Don’t get stuck on thinking you have to eat a salad to get your daily dose of greens,” she said. “If you’re not a big fan of raw greens, try throwing them in a smoothie, soup, or scrambled eggs.”
4. Fatty fish
Fatty fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which is a common deficiency, according to Fitzgerald. “If you’re looking to make some realistic changes to your eating habits in the new year, try setting a goal of eating fish at least two times each week.” Herring and salmon, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids, can benefit everything from your brain health to your heart health, says Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in the New York City area.
Tomatoes are rich in the antioxidant lycopene, which is what gives them their red color, Gorin explains. Lycopene may help protect against certain types of cancer — although studies have been inconsistent — and it may help prevent wrinkles by helping to protect your skin from UV damage. The non-starchy vegetable is also a good source of Vitamin C.
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