To Your Health: 7 super-foods you probably already have on hand

Seems like we’re always hearing about some new, exotic super-food that’s supposed to cure all that ails us.

But it’s rare that the stuff we actually have in our pantries and refrigerators gets some love.

We’re out to change that. Because you don’t have to go to far-flung places or scour health food stores for super-foods.

Lots of our favorite fruits, veggies, grains and legumes pack a powerful nutritional punch and offer antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. We think they deserve some recognition for all they do, so join us as we give these unassuming super-foods a round of applause.

1. Avocados

avocadoAvocados have something in them that seems like an oxymoron: Healthy fat. But in fact our bodies need fat to digest fat-soluble vitamins, and unsaturated fats have actually been found to lower the risk of heart disease. That’s excuse enough for us to reach for avocados. But if you need a little more prodding: Avocados are great sources of vitamin E and antioxidants. Spread avocado on your toast, add some to your morning omelet or throw a little in your smoothie.

2. Beans

dried beansGot beans in the slow cooker? That’s music to our ears. Beans are high in B vitamins, calcium, potassium and folate; that means eating them helps maintain healthy brain and cell functions and might even reduce blood pressure and stroke risk. Try eating beans as a side dish instead of bread or potatoes. They’ll leave you feeling full longer.

3. Oranges

orangesEverybody knows oranges are high in Vitamin C. But did you know that they’re also good sources of vitamin A, potassium, calcium, magnesium and dietary fiber? Eating oranges might also help lower your risk of developing some cancers, and oranges have been found to help bring down high blood pressure.

4. Peppers

peppersPeppers contain capsaicinoids, or compounds that have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, heart-healthy effects. Hot peppers pack the strongest punch in this regard, so consider adding a little (or a lot) to any savory dish. Chilies are also high in antioxidants and vitamin C. It’s good to be spicy.

5. Bananas

bananasBananas are always on your grocery list. They’re an easy, go-to fruit. Something you can grab when you’re headed out the door. Because they’re so ubiquitous, bananas aren’t commonly seen as a super-food. Oh, but they are. A good source of potassium, fiber and vitamins C and B6, bananas are an excellent healthy snack and help stave off hunger. Did you know potassium can help improve tissue and cell function, and might even help lower high blood pressure?

6. Mangoes

mangoesMangoes seem like they’re too sweet to be healthy. Nature’s candy. But we guarantee they’re good for you, and are chock full of vitamins and fiber. Mangoes can help you boost your immune system, and emerging research shows they might accelerate weight loss and lower blood sugar.

7. Tomatoes

tomatoesWe don’t care how you say tomato, as long as you eat them. They’re an excellent source of vitamins C, A and K, potassium and fiber. They also have lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. Slice them for sandwiches, throw them on salads or dice them for salsa.

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