A List of Healthy Power Foods to Include in Your Diet

Let's Start with the Fruits Category

Fruits come in various varieties, colors, and textures.  Notably, fruits are much easier to incorporate into an already existing diet since most fruits naturally taste sweet and make for an easy sugar-laden dessert replacement.

Apricots include the power of beta-carotene.  Beta-carotene is known for preventing free-radical damage and protecting the eyes.  Your body will naturally turn beta-carotene into vitamin A, which may help you to ward off some cancers.  Apricots are naturally calorie-friendly if you are watching those numbers: one apricot is around 17 calories.  Apricots are also available as a dried fruit (which is much more fun to snack on), or you can choose to eat them fresh from your grocer's market.  If you prefer to eat your apricots fresh, just be sure to eat them while they are still firm in order to get all of the nutrient value.

Avocados (yes, avocados are a fruit) are known to lower overall cholesterol levels as well as raise levels of HDL (the "good" cholesterol).  They pack a healthy dose of fiber as well, and you can easily incorporate this fruit as a replacement for mayonnaise.

The next trio of fruits that you can easily incorporate into your diet are raspberries, blueberries, and bananas.  Not only do these fruits taste great, but they also make for easy toppings on yogurt, oatmeal, ice cream, or your favorite cereal.  They are low in calories (approximately 60 to 100 calories per cup), and they are nutritious and delicious!

Tomatoes contain lycopene, and preliminary research has shown that people who consume tomatoes have a lower cancer risk.  They are easy to incorporate in many common foods: salads, tacos, pizza, burgers, and sandwiches.  You can also eat them sliced up on their own, drizzled with fresh olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar.

Fresh TomatoesCredit: http://morguefile.com

Lemons and limes contain limonene, furocoumarins, and vitamin C, which are all known to help prevent cancer.  They are very low in calories, and they make for an all-natural alternative to salad dressing.  Squeeze lemon and lime over your salad along with a little olive oil and vinegar for a great, healthy, and fresh taste.

And Now for the Veggies...

A healthy food list wouldn't be complete without mentioning the best vegetables that are available to easily include into your existing diet. 

ArtichokesCredit: http://morguefile.com

At the top of this list are onions, artichokes, and spinach.  All three are known to protect against cancer, and they can be added to many foods and recipes that you already have for your existing diet.  Add some roasted onions drizzled with olive oil along with other vegetables, or put them in your spaghetti sauce for a lycopene and flavonoid one-two punch!  Spinach can be eaten raw (add some raw leaves to your favorite salad) or cook the spinach with some olive oil and garlic as a fantastic and healthy side dish.

And speaking of garlic, the sulfur compounds that give garlic its unique flavor can also lower LDL cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol).  It can also lower blood pressure and may reduce your risk of colon cancer.  One clove of fresh garlic contains 4 calories.  If you are concerned about the effects of garlic on your breath, rinse with Dr. Katz TheraBreath Oral Rinse.

We Can't Forget About These Power Foods!

Quinoa has tons of protein (more than any other grain), plus it also includes iron, riboflavin, and magnesium.  Add quinoa to your soup for a flavorful, fiber-infused, protein boost.  Adding wheat germ is just as simple; sprinkle it over your yogurt, fruit, or cereal.  One tablespoon of wheat germ will provide you with approximately 7 percent of your daily magnesium needs (based on a 2,000 calorie diet).

This is my personal favorite: peanuts.  This perfect, stand-alone snack gives you a protein-packed alternative to greasy potato chips to hold you over until dinner, plus it contains mostly unsaturated "good" fats in each serving.  I like to eat them plain or add them to my favorite ice cream dessert.

Yogurt is another one of my favorite snacks.  I sometimes include this as part of my breakfast.  You could also mix in some wheat germ, blueberries, or honey for a truly tasteful, yet still healthy, dessert choice.

In Conclusion...

Hopefully, all of these individual power food options will be relatively easy for you to incorporate into your already existing diet.  The thing to keep in mind as far as diets go is that you will want to choose a diet plan that gives you plenty of opportunities to switch around food choices from time to time.  Restrictive diets (such as low-carb, no-carb, low-fat, etc.) will eventually pigeon-hole you into a limited menu.  Over time, you will become bored and will likely set yourself up for failure when you eventually drift away from sticking to your plan. 

The best thing to do is to choose a diet that gives you almost all food choices as available options.  The only diet that I have ever experienced that does this right is Weight Watchers, and their cookbooks and guides give you plenty of opportunities to utilize the foods mentioned here in this article.  The one cookbook in particular that stands out from the rest is the Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook.