Tired of eating ordinary, everyday foods? While they may not tempt your taste buds, don't be too quick to toss them aside. Some of the most boring food choices contain powerful nutrients that offer big benefits to health, including disease prevention. Not only that, boring foods can be a budget-friendly way to keep your body looking and feeling its best. Plus, there's plenty you can do to flavor up everyday foods and turn them from ordinary to extraordinary. Here are ten you can count on to prevent disease, boost your well-being, and make boring something you embrace daily.
Think a plain banana is just plain uninteresting? Actually, this long-time staple has a nutritional profile that rivals some of the most exotic fruits. Not only are bananas a good source of immunity-boosting potassium and vitamin C; they contain a potent prebiotic compound called fructooligosaccharide, which helps keep the digestive tract healthy and free of disease. For a tasty twist on the ordinary banana, try it baked or grilled and sprinkled with your favorite topping.
Broccoli gets a bad rap for being boring and unappealing, but it boasts a host of disease preventative nutrients that make it worthy of a second look; from vitamins C and K to folate to sulforaphane, an anti-inflammatory and cancer fighter. Munching on broccoli can also improve bone, heart, eye, and digestive health. To get the most flavor and nutritional bang out of broccoli, eat it steamed, sautéed, or stir-fried with zesty herbs and spices.
Move over shitakes and porcinis, the ordinary white button mushroom has plenty to tout when it comes to nutrition. In fact, white mushrooms can be the ideal choice since they provide disease-fighting properties at a lower price than the fancier mushroom varieties. White mushrooms contain high levels of antioxidants and vitamin D, known to inhibit cancer cell growth. Microwave mushrooms to preserve the most nutrients, then toss with olive oil or soy sauce and your favorite seasonings.
Eating chicken can get old, but it never loses its power to prevent disease. A lean, low-fat protein, chicken packs a punch with phosphorous to detoxify the liver and kidneys and niacin, which guards against DNA damage. For variety, switch to dark meat--it has more nutrients than white meat and the addition of taurine, a powerhouse compound known to fend off heart disease. If possible, choose organic chicken that's pasture-raised on local farms.
Sipping on broth isn't just something to do on a cold, raining day, especially given all the disease-fighting benefits it provides when consumed regularly. Try bone broth, a nutrient-dense broth that boosts immunity, protects joints from damage and disease, and heals stomach ailments. You can purchase bone broth at most grocery stores or prepare it yourself using a combination of beef, fish, or poultry bones and nutrient-rich veggies.
While an ordinary egg doesn't look like much, it's loaded with nutrients that help keep you healthy. In addition to selenium, which lowers oxidative stress in the body, eggs are rich in choline, known to reduce the risk of cancer, fatty liver disease, and cognitive decline. Eggs also have eye-protective lutein and zeaxanthin, which help prevent macular degeneration. With so many ways to prepare and season this budget-friendly food, eggs are nothing to yawn about.
Bell peppers can be found in a variety of colors, but it's the everyday, ordinary green pepper that may be the most practical disease fighter. Besides a hefty dose of vitamin C, which strengthens the immune system and reduces chronic illnesses, green peppers contain carotenoids that help prevent heart attacks, eye ailments, and cancer--at half the price of red, orange, and yellow peppers. Jazz up ordinary peppers by stuffing them with eggs, shrimp, quinoa, you name it.
Eating oatmeal for breakfast every morning can be one of the best things you do for your health. Oats contain beta-glucan, which supports healthy cholesterol, along with polyphenols to reduce inflammation, and disease-preventing fiber. And you can enhance a boring bowl of oatmeal in a flash. Add a spoonful of juicy raspberries or blueberries along with a sprinkle of cinnamon, a drizzle of honey, or a dollop of yogurt for a supercharged way to start your day.
Few foods are as common as the walnut, but don't let this everyday nut fool you--it can do wonders for your well-being. Of all the nuts out there, walnuts have the most omega 3 fatty acids for preventing heart disease. They also contain antioxidants that fight diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease. Keep in mind that like any nut, walnuts are high in calories. A handful a day is all you need, whether chopped on a salad or roasted lightly for snacking.
Chockfull of essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, K, and folate, celery does everything from lower cholesterol to ward off bacterial infections. What's more, celery has cancer-fighting compounds known as polyacetylenes, along with diuretic properties that help the liver and kidneys flush toxins from the body and keep it free of disease. Add a dab of heart-healthy peanut butter or hummus to spruce up these bland, crunchy stalks.
Don't get bored eating the ordinary. With a little creativity and a mindset for preventing disease, you can turn everyday edibles into tasty, powerhouse foods that satisfy your palate and improve your health--and life span.
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