9 Best Foods for Healthy Living

Improving health takes a commitment and dedication. Check out these recipes to incorporate more good-for-you foods and drinks into your lifestyle.

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Healthy Greens

Campanelle with Mushrooms and Kale

Dark greens are full of iron, calcium, and vitamins A, C and K.  And they cook quickly. Here are five ways to integrate them into your next meal. 

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Whole Grains

Wild Mushroom Farro Risotto (Farrotto)

Whole grains offer the complete package. They're easy to prepare, delicious, and nutritious. Try a homemade version of pork fried rice or a new twist on chicken salad. Your family will never guess it's good for them.

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Blueberry-Raspberry Crisp

Nutrition-wise, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries rule—they're high in fiber, packed with antioxidants and vitamins, and have a low glycemic index (dietician-speak for how quickly any given food is likely to raise your blood sugar). For maximum health benefits, aim for one serving a day.

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Olive Oil

Italian Escarole Salad

A little oil a day can keep diabetes away—so long as it's the unsaturated kind. Monounsaturated oils like those pressed from almonds, olives, and avocados help lower total and LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels without negatively impacting your HDL ("good") levels. 

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Tagliatelle with Heirloom Tomatoes, Mushrooms and Chicken

Lycopene gives them their scarlet shade and guards against cancer. It's best absorbed when tomatoes are cooked and served with a little fat.

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Macadamias, pistachios, almonds, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts

Photo by Jason Donnelly

Photo by Jason Donnelly

All nuts may prevent cancer. Peanuts in particular have been linked to a lower rate of endometrial and colorectal cancers in women. The protective benefits of nuts most likely come from antioxidant compounds like folic acid and magnesium, according to a research review in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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Red Grapes

Roasted Grapes with Ricotta

Red and purple grapes contain the same disease-fighting compound found in wine—resveratrol—which has been shown to slow the growth of cancer cells and block tumor formation in the liver, stomach and breast. Lycopene, the pigment that gives grapes their color, also boasts cancer-fighting properties.

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Trout Almondine

Unless you're a fish aficionado, you may not have tried trout. But this oily fish has sweet, flaky flesh that is chock-full of omega-3 fatty acids. "These healthy fats reduce levels of triglycerides, a fat your body produces that is associated with heart-disease risk," explains Joy Bauer, R.D., author of Food Cures: Treat Common Health Concerns, Look Younger & Live Longer. "Omega-3s may also increase high-density lipoprotein [HDL, or 'good' cholesterol]." Salmon gets all the buzz for being the omega-3 superstar, with 0.7-1.8 grams per 3-ounce serving (roughly the size of a deck of cards), but trout is close behind with 0.8-1.0 gram per serving. Bottom line? You'll reel in heart benefits.

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arnold palmer tea lemonade ice pops

Photo by Sidney Bensimon

Photo by Sidney Bensimon

Consider tea your go-to feel-better beverage. Drinking these natural brews—best freshly brewed with no added sugar—can do wonders for your wellness. Studies have revealed that:

- Green tea can give your short-term memory a boost.
- A cup of chamomile eases cold symptoms and menstrual cramps.
- Flavonoids in most tea blends decrease the risk of ovarian cancer.
- You can kick your metabolism into high gear with green brews or matcha.
Black tea helps you fight off illness by supporting your immune system.