TIME Diet/Nutrition

The 50 Healthiest Foods of All Time (With Recipes)

These are the foods you should be eating now.

Eating healthy shouldn’t be complicated. To make it simple, TIME has curated a list of the 50 healthiest foods you should be eating now.

We asked registered dietitian Tina Ruggiero, author of the The Truly Healthy Family Cookbook, to break down why each of these foods is a powerhouse. We also pulled in the nutritional information and asked our friends at Cooking Light to hook us up with some creative recipes to make sure eating these on a regular basis is no-excuses easy.

Bon appetit!

  • 1. Bananas

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, bananas, fruits
    Photograph by Danny Kim for TIME; Gif by Mia Tramz for TIME

    Why they’re good for you: While this tropical fruit is an American favorite, bananas are actually classified as an herb, and the correct name of a “bunch” of bananas is a “hand.” Technicalities aside, bananas are an excellent source of cardioprotective potassium. They’re an effective prebiotic, enhancing the body’s ability to absorb calcium, and they increase dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin – brain chemicals that counter depression.

    Serving size: one medium banana

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 105
    Fat: 0.4 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 1 mg
    Carbohydrates: 27 g
    Dietary fiber: 3 g
    Sugars: 14 g
    Protein: 1.3 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Citrusy Banana-Oat Smoothie
    Ingredients
    2/3 cup fresh orange juice
    1/2 cup prepared quick-cooking oats
    1/2 cup plain
    2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
    1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
    1 tablespoon honey
    1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind
    1 large banana, sliced and frozen
    1 cup ice cubes

    Preparation
    Combine first 7 ingredients in a blender; pulse to combine. Add ice; process until smooth.

  • 2. Raspberries

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, raspberries, raspberry, fruits
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why they’re good for you: Raspberries come in gold, black and purple varieties, but red are the most common. Research suggests eating raspberries may help prevent illness by inhibiting abnormal division of cells, and promoting normal healthy cell death. Raspberries are also a rich source of the flavonoids quercetin and gallic acid, which have been shown to boost heart health and prevent obesity and age-related decline.

    Serving size: one cup of raspberries

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 64
    Fat: 0.8 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 1 mg
    Carbohydrates: 14.7 g
    Dietary fiber: 8 g
    Sugars: 5.4 g
    Protein: 1.5 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Raspberry and Blue Cheese Salad
    Ingredients
    1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
    1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon pepper
    5 cups mixed baby greens
    1/2 cup raspberries
    1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans
    1 ounce blue cheese

    Preparation
    Combine olive oil, vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Add mixed baby greens; toss. Top with raspberries, pecans, and blue cheese.

  • 3. Oranges

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, oranges, citrus
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why they’re good for you: Oranges are one of the most potent vitamin C sources and are essential for disarming free-radicals, protecting cells, and sustaining a healthy immune system. Oranges contain a powerful flavonoid molecule called herperidin found in the white pith and peel. In animal studies, herperidin has been shown to lower cholesterol and high blood pressure. So don’t peel all the pith from your orange. Consider adding zest from the skin into your oatmeal for a dose of flavor and health.

    Serving size: one large orange

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 86
    Fat: 0.2 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 0 mg
    Carbohydrates: 21.6 g
    Dietary fiber: 4.4 g
    Sugars: 17.2 g
    Protein: 1.7 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Avocado and Orange Salad
    Ingredients
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    1 teaspoon olive oil
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    1 orange
    1/2 cup halved grape tomatoes
    1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
    1 cup sliced avocado

    Preparation
    Combine garlic, olive oil, black pepper, and kosher salt in a medium bowl. Peel and section orange; squeeze membranes to extract juice into bowl. Stir garlic mixture with a whisk. Add orange sections, grape tomatoes, onion, and avocado to garlic mixture; toss gently.

  • 4. Kiwi

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, kiwi, fruit
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why they’re good for you: Ounce for ounce, this fuzzy fruit—technically a berry—has more vitamin C than an orange. It also contains vitamin E and an array of polyphenols, offering a high amount of antioxidant protection. Fiber, potassium, magnesium and zinc—partly responsible for healthy hair, skin and nails—are also wrapped up in this nutritious fruit.

    Serving size: one kiwi

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 42
    Fat: 0.4 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 2 mg
    Carbohydrates: 10 g
    Dietary fiber: 2 g
    Sugars: 6 g
    Protein: 0.8 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Shrimp and Kiwi Salad
    Ingredients
    1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
    12 peeled and deveined large shrimp (about 3/4 pound)
    1 tablespoon chopped green onions
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
    1 tablespoon rice vinegar
    1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
    1 teaspoon grated lime rind
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
    1/8 teaspoon black pepper
    2 cups torn red leaf lettuce leaves
    1 cup cubed peeled kiwifruit (about 3 kiwifruit)

    Preparation
    Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp; sauté 4 minutes or until done. Remove from heat.

    Combine 2 teaspoons oil, onions, and next 7 ingredients (onions through black pepper) in a bowl. Add shrimp; toss to coat. Spoon mixture over lettuce; top with kiwi.

  • 5. Pomegranates

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, pomegranates, fruits
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why they’re good for you: Pomegranates tend to have more vitamin C and potassium and fewer calories than other fruits. A serving provides nearly 50% of a day’s worth of vitamin C and powerful polyphenols, which may help reduce cancer risk.

    Serving size: one cup of pomegranate seeds

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 144
    Fat: 2 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 5 mg
    Carbohydrates: g
    Dietary fiber: 7 g
    Sugars: 23.8 g
    Protein: 3 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Pomegranate and Pear Jam
    Ingredients
    2 cups sugar
    2 cups chopped, peeled Seckel (or other) pear
    2/3 cup strained fresh pomegranate juice (about 2 pomegranates)
    1/4 cup rose wine
    1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
    1/2 teaspoon butter
    2 tablespoons fruit pectin for less- or no-sugar recipes (such as Sure-Jell in pink box)
    1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
    1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary

    Preparation
    Combine sugar, pear, pomegranate juice, and wine in a large saucepan over medium heat; stir until sugar melts. Bring to a simmer; simmer 25 minutes or until pear is tender. Remove from heat; mash with a potato masher. Add pomegranate seeds and butter; bring to a boil. Stir in fruit pectin. Return mixture to a boil; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in lemon rind and rosemary. Cool to room temperature. Cover and chill overnight.

  • 6. Blueberries

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, blueberries, blueberry, fruits
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why they’re good for you: Blueberries are rich in a natural plant chemical called anthocyanin which gives these berries their namesake color. Blueberries may help protect vision, lower blood sugar levels and keep the mind sharp by improving memory and cognition.

    Serving size: one cup of blueberries

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 84
    Fat: 0.5 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 1 mg
    Carbohydrates: 21.5 g
    Dietary fiber: 3.6 g
    Sugars: 14.7 g
    Protein: 1 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Lemon-Blueberry with Mascarpone Oatmeal
    Ingredients
    3/4 cup water
    1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
    Dash of salt
    1 teaspoon sugar
    1 tablespoon prepared lemon curd
    3 tablespoons fresh blueberries
    1 teaspoon mascarpone cheese
    2 teaspoons sliced toasted almonds

    Preparation
    Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in oats and dash of salt. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar and lemon curd. Top oatmeal with blueberries, mascarpone cheese, and almonds.

  • 7. Grapefruit

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, grapefruit, fruit, citrus
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why it’s good for you: Grapefruit may not be heralded as a “superfruit,” but it should be. Available in white, pink, yellow and red varieties, grapefruit is low in calories and loaded with nutrients, supporting weight loss, clear skin, digestive balance, increased energy and heart and cancer prevention.

    Serving size: one large grapefruit

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 53
    Fat: 0.2 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 0 mg
    Carbohydrates: 13.4 g
    Dietary fiber: 1.8 g
    Sugars: 11.6 g
    Protein: 1 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Grilled Mahimahi with Peach and Pink Grapefruit Relish
    Ingredients
    1/3 cup rice vinegar
    2 tablespoons brown sugar
    1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
    2 1/2 cups diced peeled ripe peaches (about 1 1/2 pounds)
    1 1/2 cups pink grapefruit sections (about 2 large grapefruit)
    1/2 cup small mint leaves
    3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
    6 (6-ounce) mahimahi or other firm whitefish fillets (about 3/4 inch thick)

    Preparation
    Prepare grill.

    Place vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Place onion in a large bowl. Pour vinegar mixture over onion, tossing to coat; cool. Add peaches, grapefruit, mint, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to onion; toss gently.

    Sprinkle fish with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place fish on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 5 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

  • 8. Tangerines

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, tangerines, citrus
    Photograph by Danny Kim for TIME; Gif by Mia Tramz for TIME

    Why they’re good for you: A tangerine has more antioxidants than an orange, and this powerful little fruit is full of soluble and insoluble fiber that play a role in reducing disease risk and supporting weight management. Tangerines are a good source of lutein and zeaxanthin, which help lower the risk of chronic eye diseases like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Animal studies have suggested that flavonoids found in tangerines may be protective against type 2 diabetes and heart disease, so use the zest on fruit and vegetables to reap the benefits of the fruit’s natural oils.

    Serving size: one small tangerine

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 40
    Fat: 0.2 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 2 mg
    Carbohydrates: 10 g
    Dietary fiber: 1.4 g
    Sugars: 8 g
    Protein: 0.6 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Tangerine and Avocado Salad with Pumpkin Seeds
    Ingredients
    2 tangerines, peeled
    1 small avocado, peeled and sliced
    1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
    1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
    3 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds
    1/4 teaspoon chili powder
    Dash of kosher salt

    Preparation
    Cut tangerines into rounds. Combine tangerines, avocado, lime juice, and olive oil; toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds, chili powder, and a dash of kosher salt.

  • 9. Avocado

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, avocados, fruit
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why it’s good for you: Avocados contain nearly 20 vitamins and minerals, many of which are “bioavailable” to humans. Simply substituting one avocado for a source of saturated fat (such as butter or full fat cheese) may reduce your risk of heart disease, even without weight loss.

    Serving size: one avocado

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 322
    Fat: 29.5 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 14 mg
    Carbohydrates: 17 g
    Dietary fiber: 13.5 g
    Sugars: 1 g
    Protein: 4 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Chipotle Pork and Avocado Wrap
    Ingredients
    1/2 cup mashed peeled avocado
    1 1/2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
    1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
    2 teaspoons chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
    1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
    4 (8-inch) fat-free flour tortillas
    1 1/2 cups (1/4-inch-thick) slices cut Simply Roasted Pork (about 8 ounces)
    1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
    1/4 cup bottled salsa

    Preparation
    Combine the first 7 ingredients, stirring well.

    Warm tortillas according to package directions. Spread about 2 tablespoons avocado mixture over each tortilla, leaving a 1-inch border. Arrange Simply Roasted Pork slices down center of tortillas. Top each tortilla with 1/4 cup shredded lettuce and 1 tablespoon salsa, and roll up.

  • 10. Tomatoes

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, tomatoes, fruits
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why they’re good for you: Tomatoes are a nutritional powerhouse. They’re rich in lycopene, a potent weapon against cancer. As one of the carotenoid phytochemicals (related to beta-carotene), lycopene appears to protect our cells’ DNA with its strong antioxidant power. Lycopene has also shown the ability to stimulate enzymes that deactivate carcinogens.

    Serving size: one medium tomato

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 22
    Fat: 0.25 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 6 mg
    Carbohydrates: 4.8 g
    Dietary fiber: 1.5 g
    Sugars: 3.2 g
    Protein: 1.1 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Tomato-Basil Soup
    Ingredients
    2 teaspoons olive oil
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    3 (14.5-ounce) cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
    2 cups fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
    Basil leaves (optional)

    Preparation
    Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in the broth, salt, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 20 minutes. Stir in basil.

    Place half of the soup in a blender; process until smooth. Pour pureed soup into a bowl, and repeat procedure with remaining soup. Garnish with basil leaves, if desired.

  • 11. Eggplant

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, eggplant, vegetables
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why it’s good for you: Deep-purple eggplant is classified as a nightshade vegetable, kin to the tomato and bell pepper. Purple foods can be a powerful weapon in fighting heart disease since they’re a rich source of phytonutrients—naturally occurring plant chemicals that have disease-protecting capabilities. One in particular, chlorogenic acid, is one of the most potent free radical scavengers found in plant tissues.

    Serving size: one cup cooked eggplant

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 35
    Fat: 0.2 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 1 mg
    Carbohydrates: 8.6 g
    Dietary fiber: 2.5 g
    Sugars: 3 g
    Protein: 0.8 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Barley Risotto with Eggplant and Tomatoes
    Ingredients
    6 cups (1/2-inch) diced eggplant
    1 pint cherry tomatoes
    3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
    5 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
    2 cups water
    1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
    1 cup uncooked pearl barley
    2 teaspoons minced garlic
    1/2 cup dry white wine
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled soft goat cheese
    1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
    1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

    Preparations
    Preheat oven to 400°.

    Combine eggplant, tomatoes, 2 tablespoons oil, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl; toss to coat. Arrange mixture in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until tomatoes begin to collapse and eggplant is tender.

    Combine broth and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.

    Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until onion begins to brown. Stir in barley and garlic; cook 1 minute. Add wine; cook 1 minute or until liquid almost evaporates, stirring constantly. Add 1 cup broth mixture to pan; bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook 5 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining broth mixture, 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth mixture is absorbed before adding the next (about 40 minutes total). Gently stir in eggplant mixture, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and salt. Top with cheese, basil, and nuts.

  • 12. Swiss chard

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, swiss chard, greens, vegetables
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why it’s good for you: When it comes to nutrition, this is no lightweight. Swiss chard contains betalains (also found in beets), vitamins A, C , E and K, magnesium, potassium, fiber, calcium, choline, a host of B vitamins, zinc and selenium.

    Serving size: one cup of raw swiss chard

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 7
    Fat: 0.07 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 77 mg
    Carbohydrates: 1.4 g
    Dietary fiber: 0.6 g
    Sugars: 0.4 g
    Protein: 0.7 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Swiss Chard with Onions
    Ingredients
    2 teaspoons olive oil
    2 cups thinly sliced onion
    8 cups torn Swiss chard (about 12 ounces)
    1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon black pepper

    Preparation
    Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add chard; stir-fry 10 minutes or until wilted. Stir in Worcestershire, salt, and pepper.

  • 13. Mushrooms

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, mushrooms, vegetables
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why they’re good for you: Mushrooms are a rich source of ergothioneine, an antioxidant that may help fight cancer. Mushrooms are also a source of riboflavin, a vitamin that supports the body’s natural detoxification mechanisms. They are the highest vegan source of vitamin D.

    Serving size: one cup of raw mushrooms

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 15
    Fat: 0.2 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 4 mg
    Carbohydrates: 2.3 g
    Dietary fiber: 0.7 g
    Sugars: 1.4 g
    Protein: 2 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Penne with Sage and Mushrooms
    Ingredients
    1 whole garlic head
    2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
    2 1/2 cups boiling water, divided
    1/2 ounce dried wild mushroom blend (about 3/4 cup)
    8 ounces uncooked 100 percent whole-grain penne pasta
    1/4 cup fresh sage leaves
    2 1/2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms (about 6 ounces)
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
    2 ounces fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided

    Preparation
    Preheat oven to 400°.

    Cut top off garlic head. Place in a small baking dish, and drizzle with 1 teaspoon oil; cover with foil, and bake at 400° for 45 minutes. Remove dish from oven. Add 1/2 cup boiling water to dish; cover and let stand 30 minutes. Separate cloves; squeeze to extract garlic pulp into water. Discard skins. Mash garlic pulp mixture with a fork, and set aside.

    Combine remaining 2 cups boiling water and dried mushrooms in a bowl; cover and let stand 30 minutes. Rinse mushrooms; drain well, and roughly chop. Set aside.

    Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.

    Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sage to pan; sauté 1 minute or until crisp and browned. Remove from pan using a slotted spoon; set aside. Add cremini mushrooms, salt, and pepper to pan; sauté 4 minutes. Add garlic mixture, chopped mushrooms, and broth to pan; cook 5 minutes or until liquid is reduced by about half. Grate 1 1/2 ounces cheese. Stir pasta and grated cheese into pan; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Thinly shave remaining 1/2 ounce cheese; top each serving evenly with cheese shavings and sage leaves.

  • 14. Kale

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, kale, greens, vegetables
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why it’s good for you: This dark green leafy vegetable is akin to Mother Nature’s sunglasses. Rich in the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, kale delivers these pigments to the retina which absorb the sun’s damaging rays. Nutrients in kale have also been shown to lower cancer risk, support bone health and aid in natural detoxification.

    Serving size: one cup of raw kale

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 8
    Fat: 0.2 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 6 mg
    Carbohydrates: 1 g
    Dietary fiber: 0.6 g
    Sugars: 0.4 g
    Protein: 0.7 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Wilted Kale with Golden Shallots
    Ingredients
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    2 sliced shallots
    8 cups lacinato kale, stemmed and chopped
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    2/3 cup unsalted chicken stock

    Preparation
    Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add olive oil; swirl to coat. Add sliced shallots; cook 5 minutes or until golden, stirring frequently. Add kale, salt, and pepper to pan; cook 2 minutes. Add chicken stock; cover and cook 4 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.

  • 15. Broccoli Sprouts

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, broccoli sprouts, vegetables, greens
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why they’re good for you: Our skin, lungs, kidneys and liver are constantly detoxifying, but it’s nice to lend a helping hand. Eating broccoli sprouts, which look similar to alfalfa, may do just that. Rich in natural plant chemicals, broccoli sprouts may have cancer-fighting and antioxidant capabilities that help our cells protect us from disease.

    Serving size: ½ cup

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 10
    Fat: 0 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 0 mg
    Carbohydrates: 1 g
    Dietary fiber: 1 g
    Sugars: 0 g
    Protein: 1 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Seared Tofu with Gingered Vegetables and Broccoli Sprouts
    Ingredients
    1 cup broccoli sprouts
    1 pound reduced-fat extra firm tofu
    1 (3 1/2-ounce) bag boil-in-bag long-grain rice
    3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
    1 tablespoon dark sesame oil, divided
    1 tablespoon bottled minced garlic
    1 tablespoon bottled ground fresh ginger (such as Spice World)
    1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
    1 cup sliced green onions, divided
    2 tablespoons rice vinegar
    1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
    Cooking spray
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

    Preparation
    Place tofu on several layers of paper towels; let stand 10 minutes. Cut tofu into 1-inch cubes.

    Prepare rice according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt to rice; fluff with a fork.

    Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, ginger, and bell pepper to pan; sauté for 3 minutes. Stir in 3/4 cup onions, vinegar, and soy sauce; cook for 30 seconds. Remove from pan. Wipe skillet with paper towels; recoat pan with cooking spray.

    Place pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle tofu with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Add tofu to pan; cook 8 minutes or until golden, turning to brown on all sides. Return bell pepper mixture to pan, and cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Drizzle tofu mixture with remaining 1 teaspoon oil; top with sesame seeds. Serve tofu mixture with rice; top with sprouts and remaining 1/4 cup onions.

  • 16. Fennel

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, fennel, vegetables
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why it’s good for you: Fennel is a vitamin cocktail, providing antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber, and a unique mix of phytonutrients. One such phytonutrient is called anethole which, in animal studies, has been shown to reduce inflammation and fend off chronic disease.

    Serving size: one bulb of fennel

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 73
    Fat: 0.5 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 122 mg
    Carbohydrates: 17 g
    Dietary fiber: g
    Sugars: 9 g
    Protein: 3 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Fennel Slaw with Orange Vinaigrette
    Ingredients
    1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
    1 teaspoon grated orange rind
    1 1/2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
    3 medium fennel bulbs with stalks (about 4 pounds)
    2 cups orange sections (about 2 large oranges)
    1/2 cup coarsely chopped pitted green olives

    Preparations
    Combine the first 7 ingredients in a large bowl.

    Trim tough outer leaves from fennel; mince feathery fronds to measure 1 cup. Remove and discard stalks. Cut fennel bulb in half lengthwise; discard core. Thinly slice bulbs. Add fronds, fennel slices, and orange sections to bowl; toss gently to combine. Sprinkle with olives.

  • 17. Garlic

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, garlic
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why it’s good for you: This pungent little allium has serious health merits, packing both flavonoids and sulfur-containing nutrients that bolster immunity and support healthy joints. It’s well-known for its cardioprotective benefits, and garlic is also an effective antiviral.

    Serving size: one clove

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 4
    Fat: 0.02 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 1 mg
    Carbohydrates: 1 g
    Dietary fiber: 0.1 g
    Sugars: 0.03 g
    Protein: 0.2 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Garlic-and-Herb Oven-Fried Halibut
    Ingredients
    1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
    1/2 teaspoon onion powder
    1 large garlic clove, minced
    2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
    1 large egg, lightly beaten
    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    6 (6-ounce) halibut fillets
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
    Cooking spray

    Preparation
    Preheat oven to 450°.

    Combine first 5 ingredients in a shallow dish. Place egg whites and egg in a shallow dish. Place flour in a shallow dish. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper. Dredge fish in flour. Dip in egg mixture; dredge in panko mixture.

    Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3 fish fillets; cook 2 1/2 minutes on each side or until browned. Place fish on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and remaining fish. Bake at 450° for 6 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness.

  • 18. Sweet potatoes

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, sweet potato, root vegetables
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why they’re good for you: Even though sweet potatoes have a bit more natural sugar than white potatoes, they are a mighty orange package of nutrients. A large sweet potato contains more than a day’s worth of vitamin A, essential for eyesight and reproductive health. It also has B vitamins, fiber and potassium and an antioxidant called glutathione, which may enhance immunity and supports metabolism.

    Serving size: one medium cooked sweet potato

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 103
    Fat: 0.2 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 41 mg
    Carbohydrates: 23.7 g
    Dietary fiber: 3.8 g
    Sugars: 7.4 g
    Protein: 2.3 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Spicy Grilled Sweet Potatoes
    Ingredients
    3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
    1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 pound peeled sweet potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
    Cooking spray
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

    Preparation
    Combine the first 4 ingredients in a small bowl.

    Combine oil and sweet potatoes in a medium bowl; toss to coat. Heat a large grill pan coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add potatoes, and cook for 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Place potatoes in a large bowl; sprinkle with cumin mixture and cilantro. Toss gently.

  • 19. Beets

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, beets, vegetables
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why they’re good for you: It’s hard to beat beets. Research shows they’re a good source of antioxidants and have compounds that can help lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol. They also look lovely on your plate thanks to betalains—the pigment that gives them their color. Betalains are destroyed by heat, so steam beets or roast them for less than an hour to derive maximum nutrition benefits.

    Serving size: one cup of cooked beets

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 37
    Fat: 0.2 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 65 mg
    Carbohydrates: 8.5 g
    Dietary fiber: 2 g
    Sugars: 7 g
    Protein: 1.4 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Roasted Beet and Shallot Salad over Wilted Beet Greens and Arugula
    Ingredients
    1 1/2 pounds beets
    8 shallots, peeled and halved
    Cooking spray
    1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
    1 teaspoon grated orange rind
    2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
    1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
    1 teaspoon sugar
    2 teaspoons cider vinegar
    5 cups trimmed arugula (about 5 ounces)
    2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted

    Preparation
    Preheat oven to 425°.

    Trim beets, reserving greens. Wrap beets in foil. Place beets and shallots on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Coat shallots with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 25 minutes or until shallots are lightly browned. Remove shallots from pan. Return beets to oven; bake an additional 35 minutes or until beets are tender. Cool. Peel beets; cut into 1/2-inch wedges. Place beets, shallots, vinegar, rind, 1 teaspoon oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl; toss well.

    Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add reserved beet greens to pan; sauté 1 minute or until greens begin to wilt. Stir in sugar, cider, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove pan from heat. Add arugula; stir just until wilted. Place about 1 cup greens mixture on each of 4 plates. Sprinkle each serving with 1 1/2 teaspoons walnuts; top each serving with 3/4 cup beet mixture.

  • 20. Spinach

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, spinach, greens, vegetables, salad
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why it’s good for you: Spinach is among the top greens for folate, and contains high amounts of vitamin A, iron, potassium, calcium, zinc and selenium which offers antioxidant protection and supports thyroid function.

    Serving size: one cup of raw spinach

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 7
    Fat: 0.4 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 24 mg
    Carbohydrates: 1 g
    Dietary fiber: 0.7 g
    Sugars: 0.1 g
    Protein: 1 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Spinach-and-Grapefruit Salad
    Ingredients
    2 tablespoons chopped pecans
    8 cups torn spinach
    2 cups red grapefruit sections (about 3 medium grapefruit)
    2 cups sliced mushrooms (about 8 ounces)
    1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled blue cheese
    1/2 cup raspberry fat-free vinaigrette (such as Girard’s)

    Preparation
    Place the pecans in a large skillet, and cook over medium heat 3 minutes or until lightly browned, shaking skillet frequently. Set aside.

    Place 2 cups spinach on each of 4 serving plates. Arrange 1/2 cup grapefruit and 1/2 cup mushrooms over spinach. Sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon cheese and 1 1/2 teaspoons pecans; drizzle each with 2 tablespoons vinaigrette.

  • 21. Cauliflower

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, cauliflower, vegetables
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why it’s good for you: Cauliflower, which is found in white, purple, green and orange varieties, is a cancer-fighting powerhouse and supports our body’s natural detoxification process. It’s rich in an assortment of phytonutrients that reduce oxidative stress in our cells. Interestingly, research has shown that cauliflower combined with turmeric have have potential in preventing and treating prostate cancer.

    Serving size: one cup of chopped raw cauliflower

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 27
    Fat: 0.3 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 32 mg
    Carbohydrates: g
    Dietary fiber: 2 g
    Sugars: 2 g
    Protein: 2 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Roasted Cauliflower
    Ingredients
    2 teaspoons olive oil
    2 medium onions, quartered
    5 garlic cloves, halved
    4 cups cauliflower florets (about 1 1/2 pounds)
    Cooking spray
    1 tablespoon water
    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

    Preparation
    Preheat oven to 500°.

    Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.

    Place onion mixture and cauliflower in a roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Combine water and mustard; pour over vegetable mixture. Toss to coat; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 500° for 20 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with parsley.

  • 22. Collard greens

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, collard greens, vegetables, greens
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why they’re good for you: A sister to broccoli and Brussels sprouts, collards are considered a cruciferous vegetable. Cooked collards are effective at lowering cholesterol—more so than even kale—as well as fighting cancer. Just one-half cup of collard greens contains two-days’ worth of vitamin A, essential for healthy vision, teeth and skin.

    Serving size: one cup cooked collard greens

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 63
    Fat: 1.4 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 28 mg
    Carbohydrates: 10.7 g
    Dietary fiber: 7.6 g
    Sugars: 0.8 g
    Protein: 5.2 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Stewed Collards
    Ingredients
    Cooking spray
    1 cup vertically sliced onion
    8 cups chopped collard greens
    2 cups unsalted chicken stock
    1 teaspoon sugar
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons cider vinegar

    Preparation
    Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes. Add collard greens, chicken stock, sugar, and salt. Cover; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 20 minutes or until very tender. Stir in vinegar.

  • 23. Onions

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, onions, red onions, vegetables
    Photograph by Danny Kim for TIME; Gif by Mia Tramz for TIME

    Why they’re good for you: Alliums like onions are rich in healthy, sulfur-containing compounds which are also responsible for their pungent smell. Onions are good sources of vitamins C and B6, manganese, potassium and fiber. They’re also a superb source of the antioxidant quercetin. While research is inconclusive, quercetin is suspected of supporting heart health, combating inflammation and reducing allergy symptoms.

    Serving size: one cup of cooked onions

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 92
    Fat: 0.4 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 3 mg
    Carbohydrates: 21 g
    Dietary fiber: 3 g
    Sugars: 10 g
    Protein: 3 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Patty Melts with Grilled Onions
    Ingredients
    8 (1/8-inch-thick) slices Vidalia or other sweet onion
    1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
    Cooking spray
    1 pound extra-lean ground beef
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    3 tablespoons creamy mustard blend (such as Dijonnaise)
    8 (1-ounce) slices rye bread
    1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Jarlsberg cheese

    Preparation
    Arrange onion slices on a plate. Drizzle vinegar over onion slices. Heat a large grill pan over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion to pan; cover and cook 3 minutes on each side. Remove from pan; cover and keep warm.

    Heat pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Divide beef into 4 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Sprinkle patties evenly with salt and pepper. Add patties to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done.

    Spread about 1 teaspoon mustard blend over 4 bread slices; layer each slice with 2 tablespoons cheese, 1 patty, 2 onion slices, and 2 tablespoons cheese. Spread about 1 teaspoon mustard blend over remaining bread slices; place, mustard side down, on top of sandwiches.

    Heat pan over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add sandwiches to pan. Place a cast-iron or other heavy skillet on top of sandwiches; press gently to flatten. Cook 3 minutes on each side or until bread is toasted (leave cast-iron skillet on sandwiches while they cook).

  • 24. Winter Squash

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, winter squash, gourds, vegetables
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why it’s good for you: Winter squash is an inexpensive vegetable that’s as healthy as it is versatile. It’s one of the richest sources of plant-based anti-inflammatory beta-carotene, which can support healthy vision and cell development. Its yellow-orange flesh is also infection protective, and may even reduce age-associated illnesses.

    Serving size: one cup of cooked winter squash

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 180
    Fat: 0.2 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 8 mg
    Carbohydrates: g
    Dietary fiber: 6.6 g
    Sugars: 4 g
    Protein: 1.8 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Pasta with Winter Squash and Pine Nuts
    Ingredients
    2 tablespoons butter
    2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
    1 teaspoon olive oil
    1 garlic clove, minced
    2 1/2 cups water, divided
    1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and shredded
    1 teaspoon sugar
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    12 ounces uncooked penne (tube-shaped pasta)
    1 cup (4 ounces) finely shredded Parmesan cheese, divided

    Preparation
    Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until lightly browned. Add pine nuts and sage; remove from heat. Remove from pan, and set aside.

    Heat olive oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic to pan, and sauté 30 seconds. Reduce heat to medium. Add 1 cup water and squash to pan. Cook for 12 minutes or until water is absorbed, stirring occasionally. Add remaining water, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring occasionally until each portion of water is absorbed before adding the next (about 15 minutes). Stir in sugar, salt, and pepper.

    Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Combine pasta and squash mixture in a large bowl. Add reserved 1/2 cup pasta water, butter mixture, and 3/4 cup cheese; toss well. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Serve immediately.

  • 25. Tuna

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, tuna, fish, protein
    Photograph by Danny Kim for TIME; Gif by Mia Tramz for TIME

    Why it’s good for you: Experts recommend the general population, as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women, eat 8 to 12 ounces of seafood weekly to boost brain health and avoid the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Choosing fish rich in essential Omega-3 fatty acids like tuna–and even canned tuna–can promote immunity, heart health and may even lessen postpartum depression. Don’t go overboard, though—tuna can be high in mercury.

    Serving size: 3 oz.

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 93
    Fat: 0.4 g
    Cholesterol: 33 mg
    Sodium: 38 mg
    Carbohydrates: 0 g
    Dietary fiber: 0 g
    Sugars: 0 g
    Protein: 20.7 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Arugula, Italian Tuna, and White Bean Salad
    Ingredients
    3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
    1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
    1 cup thinly vertically sliced red onion
    2 (6-ounce) cans Italian tuna packed in olive oil, drained and broken into chunks$
    1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
    1 (5-ounce) package fresh baby arugula
    2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved

    Preparation
    Whisk together first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Add tomatoes and next 4 ingredients (through arugula); toss. Top with cheese.

  • 26. Sardines

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, sardines, fish, protein
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why they’re good for you: Sardines are tiny but mighty, rivaling salmon when it comes to omega-3 fatty acid content. These fatty acids go to work immediately (as opposed to plant-based omega 3s), improving blood flow, feeding our brain, stabilizing heart rhythms and keeping inflammation in check. Sardines are also a source of calcium. Look for the varieties packed in olive oil for an added heart-health benefit.

    Serving size: one can

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 191
    Fat: 10.5 g
    Cholesterol: 131 mg
    Sodium: 282 mg
    Carbohydrates: 0 g
    Dietary fiber: 0 g
    Sugars: 0 g
    Protein: 22.7 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Fennel-Sardine Spaghetti
    Ingredients
    8 ounces uncooked spaghetti
    1 medium fennel bulb (about 8 ounces)
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 cup prechopped onion
    3 garlic cloves, chopped
    1 cup tomato sauce
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
    1 (15-ounce) can sardines in tomato sauce, undrained

    Preparation
    Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.

    Trim outer leaves from fennel. Chop fronds to measure 1/2 cup. Discard stalks. Cut bulb in half lengthwise; discard core. Thinly slice bulb.

    Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced fennel and onion; sauté 4 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 20 seconds. Stir in tomato sauce, oregano, red pepper, and sauce from sardines. Cover and reduce heat.

    Discard backbones from fish. Add fish to pan; gently break fish into chunks. Cover and cook 6 minutes. Toss pasta with sauce; sprinkle with fronds.

  • 27. Anchovies

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, anchovies, fish
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why they’re good for you: This bite-sized fish shows up in many signature dishes from Italy, Thailand, Spain and Korea. Just three ounces of Anchovies offer 19 grams of protein, as well as B vitamins, calcium, iron and omega-three fatty acids. They’re also low in mercury.

    Serving size: five anchovies from a can

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 42
    Fat: 2 g
    Cholesterol: 38 mg
    Sodium: 734 mg
    Carbohydrates: 0 g
    Dietary fiber: 0 g
    Sugars: 0 g
    Protein: 5.8 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Spicy Anchovy Broccoli
    Ingredients
    2 tablespoons canola oil
    2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
    2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
    3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
    1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    2 drained and minced anchovy fillets
    4 cups broccoli florets, steamed

    Preparation
    Heat canola oil, thyme, lemon rind, crushed red pepper, kosher salt, minced garlic, and minced anchovy fillets in a small skillet over medium heat; cook 2 minutes or until garlic begins to sizzle. Add steamed broccoli florets; toss to coat.

  • 28. Salmon

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, salmon, fish, protein
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why it’s good for you: As we age, both intrinsic (our DNA) and extrinsic factors (the sun) take their toll. Skin can become dull, patchy, spotted and wrinkled, and while you might be tempted to go for a fancy face cream, what you eat may bring more potent results. How? Omega-3s in foods like salmon may help reduce dryness (from atopic dermatitis and psoriasis) and may even reduce the risk of skin cancer.

    Serving size: 3 oz, cooked

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 175
    Fat: 10.5 g
    Cholesterol: 54 mg
    Sodium: 52 mg
    Carbohydrates: 0 g
    Dietary fiber: 0 g
    Sugars: 0 g
    Protein: 18.8 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Margarita Salmon
    Ingredients
    1 teaspoon grated lime rind
    3 tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice
    1 tablespoon tequila
    2 teaspoons sugar
    2 teaspoons vegetable oil
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind
    1 garlic clove, crushed
    4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets (about 1 inch thick)
    8 ounces uncooked angel hair pasta
    Cooking spray
    Lime slices (optional)

    Preparation
    Combine first 8 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag; add fish to bag. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 20 minutes.

    While fish is marinating, cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and keep warm. Remove fish from bag, reserving marinade.

    Preheat broiler.

    Place fish on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray; broil 7 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, basting occasionally with reserved marinade. Serve over pasta. Garnish with lime slices, if desired.

  • 29. Poultry (Dark Meat)

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, dark meat, poultry, chicken
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why it’s good for you: Light meat is a fine choice, but there’s no reason to be afraid of the dark. The fat in dark meat contains a hormone called cholecystokinin, or CCK, which is partly responsible for satiety, so a little bit of dark meat can go a long way, especially if you’re watching your weight. Further, dark meat contains myoglobin, a protein which delivers oxygen to muscle cells. Dark meat also has more B vitamins than white meat, making it a nutrient-rich protein source that’s tasty and satisfying, and meat from the leg and thigh are rich in taurine. Studies have shown that taurine can lower the risk of coronary heart disease in women and it may also help protect against diabetes and high blood pressure.

    Serving size: chicken, dark meat, cooked thigh (one example)

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 184
    Fat: 8.7 g
    Cholesterol: 137 mg
    Sodium: 198 mg
    Carbohydrates: 0 g
    Dietary fiber: 0 g
    Sugars: 0 g
    Protein: 27 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Roasted Chicken Thighs Provençal
    Ingredients
    3 pounds small red potatoes, quartered
    4 plum tomatoes, seeded and cut into 6 wedges
    3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
    Cooking spray
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, divided
    2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
    1 teaspoon salt, divided $
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
    6 (6-ounce) skinless chicken thighs
    24 niçoise olives
    Rosemary sprigs (optional)

    Preparation
    Preheat oven to 425°.

    Place potatoes, tomatoes, and carrots on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Drizzle vegetable mixture with olive oil; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary, 1 teaspoon thyme, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss gently, and spread into a single layer on pan. Bake at 425° for 30 minutes. Remove vegetable mixture from pan, and keep warm.

    Sprinkle chicken with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped rosemary, remaining 1 teaspoon thyme, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken and olives to pan. Bake at 425° for 35 minutes or until chicken is done. Garnish with rosemary sprigs, if desired.

  • 30. Whole Wheat Bread

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, whole wheat bread, grains, toast, breakfast
    Photograph by Danny Kim for TIME; Gif by Mia Tramz for TIME

    Why it’s good for you: Fiber from whole grains can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer by nearly 40%, protecting gastrointestinal health. Foods labeled “high fiber” have 5 grams of fiber or more per serving, and the U.S. Dietary guidelines recommend making one-half of your daily grain servings whole. Just remember that the descriptors “whole grain” and “multi-grain” don’t necessarily mean the product is whole wheat.

    Serving size: one slice

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 81
    Fat: 1 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 146 mg
    Carbohydrates: 13.7 g
    Dietary fiber: 2 g
    Sugars: 1 g
    Protein: 4 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Whole-Wheat Orange Juice Muffins
    Ingredients
    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
    1/2 cup sugar
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 cup orange juice
    1/4 cup vegetable oil
    1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
    1 large egg, lightly beaten
    1/2 cup golden raisins
    Cooking spray

    Preparation
    Preheat oven to 400°.

    Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine all-purpose flour and next 5 ingredients (all-purpose flour through cinnamon) in a medium bowl; stir well with a whisk. Make a well in center of mixture. Combine juice, oil, rind, and egg; add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Stir in raisins. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Remove from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.

  • 31. Quinoa

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, quinoa, grains
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why it’s good for you: Quinoa is actually a seed, rich in amino acids. Just one serving provides all 9 essential amino acids, making it a good protein source for vegetarians. It also supplies anti-inflammatory phytonutrients and heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, as well as vitamin E, zinc, folate and phosphorus.

    Serving size: one cup, cooked

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 222
    Fat: 3.6 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 13 mg
    Carbohydrates: 39.4 g
    Dietary fiber: 5 g
    Sugars: 1.6 g
    Protein: 8 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Nutty Almond-Sesame Red Quinoa
    Ingredients
    1 2/3 cups water
    1 cup red quinoa
    1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    2 teaspoons olive oil
    2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
    1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    3 green onions, thinly sliced

    Preparation
    Bring 1 2/3 cups water and quinoa to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 12 minutes or until quinoa is tender; drain. Stir in almonds, juice, oils, salt, and onions.

  • 32. Hemp Seeds

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, hemp seeds
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why they’re good for you: Hemp seed won’t get you high, but it can make you healthier. A seed from the cannabis sativa plant, this food contains easily digestible protein, all nine essential amino acids (just like flax), plus fatty acids, vitamin E and trace minerals. The seeds taste a bit like pine nuts.

    Serving size: three tablespoons

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 170
    Fat: 13 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: mg
    Carbohydrates: g
    Dietary fiber: g
    Sugars: g
    Protein: g

    Recipe: Add a handful to smoothies, salads or oatmeal

  • 33. Rolled Oats

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, rolled oats, grains
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why they’re good for you: This hearty cereal grain is rich in a type of fiber called beta-glucan which has powerful, antimicrobial capabilities that boost immunity and lower cholesterol. The antioxidants in oats make this grain cardioprotective, plus they have the ability to stabilize blood sugar levels, lower diabetes risk and reduce the risk of certain cancers.

    Serving size: ¼ cup dry

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 160
    Fat: 2.5 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: mg
    Carbohydrates: 27 g
    Dietary fiber: 4 g
    Sugars: 1 g
    Protein: 5 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Cherry-Hazelnut Oatmeal
    Ingredients
    6 cups water
    2 cups steel-cut oats (such as McCann’s)
    2/3 cup dried Bing or other sweet cherries, coarsely chopped
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    5 tablespoons brown sugar, divided
    1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted and divided
    1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    2 tablespoons toasted hazelnut oil

    Preparation
    Combine the first 4 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until desired consistency, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon nuts, and cinnamon. Place 1 cup oatmeal in each of 6 bowls; sprinkle each serving with 1 teaspoon sugar. Top each serving with 1 1/2 teaspoon nuts; drizzle with 1 teaspoon oil.

  • 34. Kamut

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, kamut, grains
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why it’s good for you: Kamut is an ancient grain whose true origin isn’t clear. It looks like brown Basmati rice, but it has a more buttery, nutty and sweeter flavor. Kamut has 40% more protein than durum (traditional) wheat, and contains an array of polyphenols and vitamin E, selenium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus and thiamin.

    Serving size: one cup, cooked

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 227
    Fat: 1.4 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 14 mg
    Carbohydrates: 47.5 g
    Dietary fiber: 7 g
    Sugars: 5.3 g
    Protein: 10 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Kamut, Lentil, and Chickpea Soup
    Ingredients
    3/4 cup kamut berries, rinsed
    2 cups boiling water
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    2 cups finely chopped onion
    1 cup finely chopped carrot
    3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
    1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
    2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    4 (14 1/2-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
    2 bay leaves
    1/3 cup dried lentils
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
    2 teaspoons chopped celery leaves (optional)

    Preparation
    Place kamut in a small bowl. Carefully pour boiling water over kamut. Let stand 30 minutes; drain.

    Heat oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add onion, parsley, celery, tarragon, and thyme; cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes, stirring often.

    Add kamut, broth, and bay leaves to onion mixture; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Add lentils and pepper; cook 20 minutes or until lentils are tender. Discard bay leaves. Add chickpeas; simmer 2 minutes. Garnish with celery leaves, if desired.

  • 35. Lentils

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, lentils, beans
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why they’re good for you: Lentils should be part of everyone’s diet, packing 18 grams of protein, 16 grams of fiber, and less than 1 gram of fat per cup. They contain nearly 30 percent more folate than spinach and they’re a source of zinc and B vitamins. Enjoying lentils can help guard against heart disease and stabilize blood sugar. Thanks to its iron content, lentils can support and maintain metabolism.

    Serving size: one cup, cooked

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 230
    Fat: 0.75 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 4 mg
    Carbohydrates: 40 g
    Dietary fiber: 1 g
    Sugars: 0 g
    Protein: 1 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Lentils with Wine-Glazed Winter Vegetables
    Ingredients
    3 cups water
    1 1/2 cups dried lentils
    1 teaspoon salt, divided
    1 bay leaf
    1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
    2 cups chopped onion
    1 1/2 cups chopped peeled celeriac (celery root)
    1 cup diced parsnip
    1 cup diced carrot
    1 tablespoon minced fresh or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon, divided
    1 tablespoon tomato paste
    1 garlic clove, minced
    2/3 cup dry red wine
    2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
    1 tablespoon butter
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper

    Preparation
    Combine water, lentils, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and bay leaf in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes. Remove lentils from heat, and set aside.

    Heat olive oil in a medium cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celeriac, parsnip, carrot, and 1 1/2 teaspoons tarragon, and sauté 10 minutes or until browned. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt, tomato paste, and garlic; cook mixture 1 minute. Stir in wine, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in mustard. Add lentil mixture, and cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat; discard bay leaf, and stir in butter, 1 1/2 teaspoons tarragon, and pepper.

  • 36. Farro

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, farro, grains
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why it’s good for you: Farro is an ancient ancestor of wheat. The whole grain variety requires overnight soaking and 30 to 40 minutes on the stovetop to yield a tender grain. Farro is lower in calories and higher in muscle-building protein and cancer-fighting fiber than other whole grains, and it’s rich in B vitamins and zinc.

    Serving size: ¼ cup

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 200
    Fat: 1.5 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 0 mg
    Carbohydrates: 37 g
    Dietary fiber: 7 g
    Sugars: 0 g
    Protein: 7 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Farro Salad with Roasted Beets, Watercress, and Poppy Seed Dressing
    Ingredients
    2 bunches small beets, trimmed
    2/3 cup uncooked farro
    3 cups water
    3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
    3 cups trimmed watercress
    1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
    1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese
    2 tablespoons cider vinegar
    2 tablespoons toasted walnut oil
    2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
    1 1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds
    2 teaspoons honey
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    2 garlic cloves, crushed

    Preparation
    Preheat oven to 375°.

    Wrap beets in foil. Bake at 375° for 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Cool; peel and thinly slice.

    Place farro and 3 cups water in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until farro is tender. Drain and cool. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt.

    Arrange 1 1/2 cups watercress on a serving platter; top with half of farro, 1/4 cup onion, and half of sliced beets. Repeat layers with remaining 1 1/2 cups watercress, remaining farro, remaining 1/4 cup onion, and remaining beets. Sprinkle top with cheese.

    Combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, vinegar, and remaining ingredients; stir well with a whisk. Drizzle vinegar mixture evenly over salad.

  • 37. Walnuts

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, walnuts
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why they’re good for you: Walnuts are a tasty source of plant-based fatty acids and boasts more polyphenols than red wine. Having 4 grams of protein per ounce, walnuts also have the ability to keep your heart healthy. They contain cancer-fighting properties, support weight control and, in some studies, have been shown to be neuroprotective.

    Serving size: half a cup

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 327
    Fat: 33 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 1 mg
    Carbohydrates: 7 g
    Dietary fiber: 3.4 g
    Sugars: 1 g
    Protein: 8 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Wild Rice and Walnut Pilaf
    Ingredients
    1 teaspoon butter
    1/4 cup finely chopped onion
    2 1/2 cups water
    3/4 cup long-grain brown and wild rice blend (such as Lundberg’s)
    1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    1 teaspoon olive oil
    2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted

    Preparation
    Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in water, rice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 40 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt, parsley, chives, juice, and oil. Sprinkle each serving with walnuts.

  • 38. Almonds

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, almonds, nuts
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why they’re good for you: Rich in monounsaturated fats, almonds have been shown to be helpful in keeping cholesterol levels within a healthy range. They’re also effective prebiotics, feeding the probiotics in our gut, and they help support a robust immune system. Almonds, like all nuts, are good sources of the antioxidant vitamin E, which may play a role in slowing cognitive decline with age.

    Serving size: five almonds

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 35
    Fat: 3 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 0 mg
    Carbohydrates: 1.3 g
    Dietary fiber: 0.8 g
    Sugars: 0.3 g
    Protein: 1.3 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Almond Green Beans
    Ingredients
    1 tablespoon butter
    1/4 cup slivered almonds
    2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
    12 ounces trimmed green beans
    3 tablespoons water
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    Preparation
    Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add almonds; cook 2 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring constantly. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon. Add garlic to pan; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add green beans, water, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook 4 minutes or until beans are tender and liquid evaporates. Sprinkle with almonds.

  • 39. Chia Seeds

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, chia seeds
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why they’re good for you: Despite their tiny size, chia seeds deliver an incredible amount of nutrition. In a two-tablespoon serving, you’ll find 11 grams of fiber, four grams of protein, five grams of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, nearly 20 percent of a day’s worth of calcium, plus potassium and antioxidants.

    Serving size: 1 oz.

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 138
    Fat: 8.7 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 5 mg
    Carbohydrates: 12 g
    Dietary fiber: 10 g
    Sugars: 0 g
    Protein: 4.7 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Five-Seed Bread
    Ingredients
    1/4 cup unsalted, roasted sunflower seeds kernels
    1 tablespoon chia seeds
    1 tablespoon caraway seeds
    1 tablespoon sesame seeds
    1 teaspoon poppy seeds
    2 tablespoons honey
    1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
    1 1/2 cups warm water (100° to 110°)
    4.2 ounces sweet white sorghum flour (about 1 cup)
    3.9 ounces potato starch (about 3/4 cup)
    2.3 ounces cornstarch (about 1/2 cup)
    1 tablespoon xanthan gum
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon sea salt
    1/4 cup canola oil
    1 teaspoon white vinegar
    2 large eggs, lightly beaten

    Preparation
    Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring to combine. Set aside.

    Dissolve honey and yeast in 1 1/2 cups warm water in a medium bowl; let stand 5 minutes.

    Weigh or lightly spoon flour, potato starch, and cornstarch into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Place flour, potato starch, cornstarch, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until blended. Add seed mixture, yeast mixture, oil, vinegar, and eggs; beat at low speed until blended.

    Spoon batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap coated with cooking spray, and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 45 minutes or until dough reaches top of pan.

    Preheat oven to 375°.

    Bake at 375° for 45 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

  • 40. Flaxseeds

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, flax seeds
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why they’re good for you: This tiny seed has more than 100 times the amount of phytonutrients as oats, wheat bran, millet and buckwheat. Flaxseed is a source of plant-based fatty acids, fiber, B vitamins, potassium and minerals like calcium and iron. Research suggests that flaxseed may lower cholesterol, help fight cancer, and lower the risk of osteoporosis.

    Serving size: 1 tbsp.

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 55
    Fat: 4 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 3 mg
    Carbohydrates: 3 g
    Dietary fiber: 3 g
    Sugars: 0.2 g
    Protein: 2 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Confetti Rice Pilaf with Toasted Flaxseed

    Ingredients
    1/4 cup flaxseed
    2 teaspoons olive oil
    1 cup chopped onion
    1 cup uncooked basmati or long-grain rice
    1 (16-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
    1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
    2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper

    Preparation
    Place flaxseed in a small nonstick skillet; cook over low heat 5 minutes or until toasted, stirring constantly. Place flaxseed in a blender; process just until chopped.

    Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat until hot. Add onion; cook over medium heat 3 minutes or until tender. Add rice. Cook 1 minute; stir constantly. Stir in broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Remove from heat; fluff with fork. Stir in flaxseed and remaining ingredients.
    Note: Flaxseed keeps best when stored in the refrigerator.

  • 41. Eggs

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, eggs, breakfast, dairy
    Photograph by Danny Kim for TIME; Gif by Mia Tramz for TIME

    Why they’re good for you: Eggs deliver essential vitamins and minerals in a very small package. Plus, they’re a low-calorie, low-fat source of extremely digestible protein. The egg yolk, in particular, is a source of choline, important for proper cell and nerve function. Experts say you can eat up to two eggs daily—because cholesterol in the diet does not appear to have an impact on cholesterol in the blood.

    Serving size: one large egg

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 72
    Fat: 5 g
    Cholesterol: 186 mg
    Sodium: 71 mg
    Carbohydrates: 0.36 g
    Dietary fiber: 0 g
    Sugars: 0.2 g
    Protein: 6.3 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Marinara Poached Eggs

    Ingredients
    3 cups Slow Cooker Marinara
    1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
    4 eggs
    Toast

    Preparation
    Bring marinara and crushed red pepper to a simmer in a skillet. Make 4 wells in marinara; crack 1 egg into each. Cook, covered, 6 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Serve with toast.

  • 42. Kefir

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, kefir, yogurt, drinkable yogurt, dairy
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why it’s good for you: This fermented milk drink is a cocktail of good-for-you microbia. It’s been shown to support immunity, improve lactose intolerance (despite that sounding counterintuitive), build bone density and fight cavities by minimizing oral bacteria. As with other dairy products, Kefir is rich in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and protein.

    Serving size: one cup

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 210
    Fat: 14 g
    Cholesterol: 55 mg
    Sodium: 120 mg
    Carbohydrates: 12 g
    Dietary fiber: 0 g
    Sugars: 12 g
    Protein: 8 g

    Recipe: Add it to smoothies instead of milk or yogurt

  • 43. 2% Greek Yogurt

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, greek yogurt, dairy, fage, chobani
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why it’s good for you: Conventional yogurt is an excellent source of calcium, potassium and protein, but the Greek varieties have double the protein, half the sodium and half the carbohydrates of regular yogurt. Probiotics such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus casei are often added to yogurt, increasing healthy gut bacteria and bolstering immunity. While fat-free Greek yogurt has fewer calories than one percent Greek yogurt, the later has the ability to make fat-soluble vitamins (such as A,D,E and K) more bioavailable to the body and helps with satiety.

    Serving size: 7 ounces

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 150
    Fat: 4 g
    Cholesterol: 13 mg
    Sodium: 66 mg
    Carbohydrates: 8 g
    Dietary fiber: 0 g
    Sugars: 8 g
    Protein: 20 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Creamy Spinach and Feta Dip

    Ingredients
    6 ounces nonfat Greek yogurt
    3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
    2 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
    1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
    1 garlic clove, crushed
    1 1/2 cups finely chopped fresh spinach
    1 tablespoon fresh dill
    1/8 teaspoon black pepper

    Preparation
    Place yogurt, feta cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, and crushed garlic clove in a food processor; process until smooth. Spoon yogurt mixture into a medium bowl; stir in spinach, fresh dill, and black pepper. Cover and chill.

  • 44. Coconut Oil

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, coconut oil, fats
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why it’s good for you: Despite being high in saturated fat, coconut oil may good for your heart, weight and energy levels. Coconut oil is comprised of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) which are easily digested and have been shown to help the body burn fat and increase “good” cholesterol levels. More than 50% of coconut oil is comprised of lauric acid, and while lauric acid increases bad cholesterol, it raises your good cholesterol that much more. Some studies suggest improved exercise performance related to MCT consumption, but the data is not yet convincing.

    Serving size: one tbsp

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 117
    Fat: 13.6 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 0 mg
    Carbohydrates: 0 g
    Dietary fiber: 0 g
    Sugars: 0 g
    Protein: 0 g

    Recipe from Tina Ruggiero: Coconut & Sesame Crusted Salmon
    Ingredients
    2 tablespoon panko
    2 teaspoon toasted black & white sesame seeds
    2 tablespoon unsweetened coconut
    1 teaspoon sesame oil
    4 (4 oz.) salmon fillets
    2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    2 teaspoon coconut oil

    Preparation
    In a small bowl, combine the panko, sesame seeds, coconut and sesame oil. Reserve.

    Sprinkle the salmon with salt and pepper to taste. Spread ½ tsp. Dijon on one side of each fillet. Divide the coconut mixture between the salmon fillets, pressing it onto the Dijon.

    Heat a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the coconut oil and when it shimmers, add the salmon, coconut-side down, and cook for about 2 minutes or until golden. Turn the salmon and brown the other side, another 2 minutes. Turn heat down and continue to cook to desired doneness.

  • 45. Olive Oil

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, olive oil, fats
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why it’s good for you: Due to its phenolic compounds, olive oil is enjoyed for its anti-inflammatory benefits in addition to its taste. It’s also recognized for contributing to lower rates of heart disease and obesity. The extra virgin variety retains the most number of antioxidants, since the oil comes from the first pressing of olives. No matter what variety is enjoyed, experts agree that olive oil has anti-cancer, cognitive, bone, cardiovascular and digestive health benefits.

    Serving size: 1 tbsp

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 119
    Fat: 13.5 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 0 mg
    Carbohydrates: 0 g
    Dietary fiber: 0 g
    Sugars: 0 g
    Protein: 0 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Seared Scallops with Roasted Tomatoes

    Ingredients
    3 cups grape tomatoes
    Cooking spray
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 1/2 pounds sea scallops
    2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil

    Preparation
    Preheat broiler.

    Arrange tomatoes in a single layer in a shallow roasting pan; lightly coat tomatoes with cooking spray. Sprinkle tomatoes with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; toss well to coat. Broil 10 minutes or until tomatoes begin to brown, stirring occasionally.

    While tomatoes cook, heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Pat scallops dry; sprinkle both sides of scallops with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add scallops to skillet; cook 2 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Serve scallops with tomatoes; sprinkle with basil.

  • 46. Cumin

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, cumin, spices
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why it’s good for you: Cumin may be a common kitchen spice, but its health benefits are more than ordinary. Ground cumin may support heart health, fight infection, and combat inflammation; just one-half teaspoon of ground cumin has twice as many antioxidants as a carrot.

    Serving size: one tsp.

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 8
    Fat: 0.5 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 4 mg
    Carbohydrates: 0.9 g
    Dietary fiber: 0.2 g
    Sugars: 0.05 g
    Protein: 0.4 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Cumin-Dusted Salmon Fillets

    Ingredients
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    1 teaspoon paprika
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets (about 1 inch thick), skinned
    Cooking spray

    Preparation
    Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of fish with spice mixture.
    Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat, and add fish. Cook 6 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

  • 47. Turmeric

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, turmeric, spices
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why it’s good for you: Turmeric is a spice that comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant, and its vibrant, orange color comes from curcumin. This pigment has been shown to be a potent anti-viral and anti-inflammatory agent. Some research has shown turmeric to be helpful in preventing Alzheimer’s and cancer.

    Serving size: one tsp

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 9
    Fat: 0.1 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 1 mg
    Carbohydrates: 2 g
    Dietary fiber: 0.7 g
    Sugars: 0.1 g
    Protein: 0.3 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Omelet with Turmeric, Tomato, and Onions

    Ingredients
    4 large eggs
    3/8 teaspoon kosher salt
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1/4 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
    1/8 teaspoon turmeric
    2 green onions, finely chopped
    1/4 cup diced plum tomato
    Dash of black pepper

    Preparation
    Whisk together eggs and salt.

    Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds and turmeric; cook 30 seconds or until seeds pop, stirring frequently. Add onions; cook 30 seconds or until soft, stirring frequently. Add tomato; cook 1 minute or until very soft, stirring frequently.

    Pour egg mixture into pan; spread evenly. Cook until edges begin to set (about 2 minutes). Slide front edge of spatula between edge of omelet and pan. Gently lift edge of omelet, tilting pan to allow some uncooked egg mixture to come in contact with pan. Repeat procedure on the opposite edge. Continue cooking until center is just set (about 2 minutes). Loosen omelet with a spatula, and fold in half. Carefully slide omelet onto a platter. Cut omelet in half, and sprinkle with black pepper.

  • 48. Cinnamon

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, cinnamon, spices
    Photograph by Danny Kim for TIME; Gif by Mia Tramz for TIME

    Why it’s good for you: Cinnamon’s health benefits come from the oil found in in its bark. These essential oils are suspected to have anti-clotting and antimicrobial power along with possessing the ability to reduce inflammation. Research shows that cinnamon may have the ability to improve insulin response as well as boost brain and colon health.

    Serving size: one tsp.

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 6
    Fat: 0 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 0 mg
    Carbohydrates: 2 g
    Dietary fiber: 1 g
    Sugars: 0 g
    Protein: 0.1 g

    Recipe from Cooking Light: Cinnamon-Soy Braised Pork

    Ingredients
    1 1/4 cups water
    1/3 cup canola oil
    3 tablespoons sugar
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    2 cups matzo meal
    4 large eggs
    1/2 cup sugar
    2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

    Preparation
    Preheat oven to 375°.

    Cover a large, heavy baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

    Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; add matzo meal to pan, stirring well with a wooden spoon until mixture pulls away from sides of pan (about 30 seconds). Remove from heat; place dough in bowl of a stand mixer. Cool slightly. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating at low speed with paddle attachment until dough is smooth, scraping sides and bottom of bowl after each egg.

    Combine 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl.

    With moistened fingers, shape 1/4 cupfuls of dough into mounds; roll in sugar mixture to coat, and place 2 inches apart onto prepared pan. Bake at 375° for 50 minutes or until browned and crisp. Remove from oven; cool on wire rack.

  • 49. Rooibos Tea

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, rooibos tea
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Why it’s good for you: Rooibos (roy-bus) tea, a red tea packed with antioxidants that guard us from chronic and degenerative diseases alike, is rich in minerals like calcium and iron.

    Serving size: one tea bag

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 0
    Fat: 0 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 0 mg
    Carbohydrates: 0 g
    Dietary fiber: 0 g
    Sugars: 0 g
    Protein: 0 g

    Recipe: Add to hot water, enjoy.

  • 50. Red Wine

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, red wine, alcohol
    Photograph by Danny Kim for TIME; Gif by Mia Tramz for TIME

    Why it’s good for you: Resveratrol, a polyphenol found in the skin of red grapes and in red wine, has been recognized for its antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. Scientists believe the flavonoids found in red wine lower the risk of coronary artery disease by reducing clotting, bad cholesterol and by boosting good cholesterol levels. The sweeter the wine, the fewer the flavonoids it contains. Cabernet, Petit Syrah and Pinot Noir have the most.

    Serving size: one glass

    Nutrition per serving:
    Calories: 125
    Fat: 0 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Sodium: 6 mg
    Carbohydrates: 4 g
    Dietary fiber: 0 g
    Sugars: 1 g
    Protein: 0.1 g

    Recipe: Pour yourself a glass and enjoy.

TIME Research

A New Treatment for Migraines Is Showing Promising Results

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Researchers say the procedure can drastically reduce pain and sensitivity to migraine triggers

Treating migraines effectively might have gotten a lot easier, according to a new study published this month.

Researchers at the Albany Medical Center claim that a new innovative treatment offers chronic migraine sufferers prolonged relief from the debilitating headaches.

During the procedure, clinicians insert a spaghetti-size catheter through the patient’s nasal passages and administer lidocaine to the sphenopalatine ganglion — a nerve bundle behind the nose that is associated with migraines. It should be noted that no needles actually touch the patient during the process.

“When the initial numbing of the lidocaine wears off, the migraine trigger seems to no longer have the maximum effect that it once did,” said Dr. Kenneth Mandato, the study’s lead researcher at Albany Medical Center.

Following the procedure, 88% of patients reported that they required less or no migraine medication to provide additional pain relief.

[Science Daily]

TIME ebola

American Ebola Nurse Sues Texas Hospital Where She Contracted Virus

Nina Pham contracted Ebola while treating the first U.S. Ebola patient

The nurse who was the first known person to contract Ebola on American soil will sue the hospital where she contracted the virus.

Nina Pham, 26, told the Dallas Morning News that the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas and its parent company, Texas Health Resources, failed to provide her and her colleagues adequate training and protection while she cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, who was the first patient diagnosed in the U.S. during the outbreak.

As a result, Pham said, she was made into “a symbol of corporate neglect—a casualty of a hospital system’s failure to prepare for a known and impending medical crisis.”

Read more at the Morning News

MORE: Read the Ebola Nurses’ Stories

TIME Obesity

Your Definitive Guide to Losing Body Fat

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The trick is understanding the difference between the kinds of fat and keeping them in balance with diet and exercise

We curse the dimpled cellulite that has settled on our thighs and survey the pudge around our belly with a quick poke and a disapproving eye. But here’s the thing: Fat isn’t just a place where your body dumps extra calories. It’s an organ that can help—or harm—your health. (One type, brown fat, can actually turn your body into a calorie-burning machine!) “Everyone has fat—even Olympic marathon runners,” says Osama Hamdy, MD, medical director of the Obesity Clinical Program at Harvard University’s Joslin Diabetes Center. “Simply put, we need it to survive.” The trick is understanding the difference between the kinds of fat and keeping them in balance with diet, exercise and some plain old common sense. Get ready to go deep.

Fat type No. 1: Subcutaneous fat

Where it is: Directly underneath your skin. Subcutaneous fat can be anywhere: not just in your belly and tush but your arms, legs—even your face.

What it does: In addition to storing energy and providing essential padding for your body, it has another important job: It generates the hormone adiponectin, which helps regulate insulin production. “Paradoxically, the fatter you are, the less adiponectin you produce, which means that your body has trouble regulating insulin, increasing the risk of heart disease and diabetes,” Dr. Hamdy says.

How to blast it off: Cutting calories is crucial for overall weight loss, but getting moving counts, too: Women who walked, cycled or took public transportation to work had about 1.5 percent less body fat than those who drove, according to a U.K. study published this past August. “It’s proof that those little bursts of activity count when it comes to burning fat,” notes Pamela Peeke, MD, author of Body for Life for Women. “Even just walking from the train station or bus to your office can burn on average an extra hundred calories.”

Read more: 11 Reasons Why You’re Not Losing Belly Fat

Already active? Ramp it up. “When you take your workout up a notch, you reach VO2 max—that’s the level of exertion where you have the optimal breakdown of body fat,” Dr. Peeke explains. “It also fools your body into thinking that you’re working out minutes after you’ve stopped, so you’re still burning calories.”

Fat type No. 2: Visceral fat

Where it is: Nestled deep within your belly, where it pads the spaces around your abdominal organs. You can’t feel or grab it.

What it does: Visceral fat has been dubbed “toxic” fat, and for good reason: “It secretes inflammatory proteins called cytokines that affect insulin production and increase inflammation throughout the body, which raises the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease,” Dr. Hamdy says. You can’t directly measure visceral fat unless you undergo an MRI or a CT scan. The next best thing? Grab a tape measure and wind it around your waist; if your midsection is more than 35 inches, you most likely have too much visceral fat, Dr. Hamdy says. A Mayo Clinic study published last March found that Caucasian women with waist sizes above 37 inches were more likely to die from heart or respiratory disease. Another sign of trouble: Your numbers are off, meaning you’ve got low HDL (good) cholesterol and elevated blood glucose and triglyceride levels. “When a woman who has been lean most of her life gains 10 to 20 pounds at age 40 or so, she may not even be technically overweight, but it’s usually visceral fat that’s adding the extra weight,” explains Caroline Cederquist, MD, a bariatric physician based in Naples, Fla., and author of The MD Factor Diet.

Read more: Fat-Burning Recipe: Blueberry Oat Pancakes With Maple Yogurt

How to blast it off: “To mobilize visceral fat, a balanced diet is essential,” Dr. Cederquist says. “Eat lean protein throughout the day, while controlling your carb and fat intake.” For keeping visceral fat off, cardio is the way to go: A 2011 Duke University study found that regular aerobic exercise—the equivalent of jogging about 12 miles a week at 80 percent max heart rate—was the best workout for losing visceral fat in particular.

Fat type No. 3: Brown fat

Where it is: Mainly around your neck, collarbone and chest. For years, researchers assumed that it was present primarily in infants, helping to keep them warm, and that it gradually disappeared during childhood. But in 2009, studies revealed that some adults still have brown cells.

What it does: This buzzed-about “good” fat becomes metabolically active when we’re exposed to cold temperatures, burning up energy. “Since brown fat is used to generate heat, it burns more calories at rest,” says Ruth Loos, MD, professor of preventive medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Fifty grams (about 4 tablespoons) of brown fat, if maximally stimulated, could torch about 300 calories a day.

How to beef it up: Since brown fat is activated by cold, prepare to shiver. According to a study in Cell Metabolism, folks who spent 10 to 15 minutes in temperatures below 60 degrees produced a hormone called irisin, which appears to make white fat cells act like brown fat; they got a similar boost from an hour of moderate exercise at warmer temps. And keep your thermostat low: An Australian study showed that men who lived in homes set to 66 degrees generated 40 percent more brown fat than when they lived in higher temps.

Read more: 20 Snacks That Burn Fat

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

TIME Heart Disease

9 Subtle Signs You Could Have a Heart Problem

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These signs can also be caused by a bunch of other things

Thanks to more education about healthy eating and advancements in treatment, fewer people die of heart disease than in the past. That said, clogged heart arteries are still the number-one cause of death in the United States. Although heart attack symptoms can be a scary first sign of trouble (and keep in mind women have different symptoms than men), sometimes the body offers up more subtle clues that something is amiss with your ticker. The following is a list of symptoms that might be worth a chat with your doctor. But they may also be caused by a bunch of other things, so don’t freak out. (Many of these are also symptoms of anemia, so check out 15 Signs You May Have an Iron Deficiency.) Only your real doctor—not Dr. Google—can really tell you if these symptoms mean anything at all.

You’re extremely tired

This isn’t just lack of sleep tired; it is extreme fatigue. Think of how you feel when you get the flu, except this doesn’t go away. “A lot of women kind of blow this off assuming it’s nothing and that they will feel better, but in reality it could be a sign of your heart,” says Suzanne Steinbaum, DO, Director of Women’s Heart Health at the Heart and Vascular Institute at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. The reason why you feel that way: It comes down to a lack of oxygen. “The heart is struggling and straining to deliver the oxygen to your body.” That said, plenty of people feel tired for lots of reasons. If this is your only symptom, you can talk to your doctor, but don’t conclude you have heart trouble based on this alone.

Read more: 15 Signs You May Have an Iron Deficiency

Your feet swell

Feet swelling can occur for a bunch of garden-variety reasons, such as pregnancy, varicose veins (which are unsightly but not dangerous), or when you travel and have limited ability to move around. It can also be a sign of heart failure, a chronic condition in which the heart pumps blood inefficiently. “Swelling can also occur when the heart valve doesn’t close normally,” says Michael Miller, MD, professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Some medications for blood pressure and diabetes could also cause swelling, says Dr. Miller. “Heart-related foot swelling is usually accompanied by other symptoms that include shortness of breath and/or fatigue,” he says. If you recently developed foot swelling, see your doctor to determine the cause and how best to treat it.

You have extreme pain when you walk

If your hip and leg muscles cramp when you climb, walk, or move, then feel better when you rest, don’t shrug it off as due to old age or a lack of exercise (though those things certainly could be the culprits). It could be a sign of peripheral arterial disease, also known as PAD. PAD is a buildup of fatty plaque in leg arteries that is linked to a higher risk of heart disease. If you have PAD there’s a 50% chance you also have a blockage in one of the heart arteries, says Dr. Miller. The good news? PAD (and heart disease for that matter) is a very treatable condition.

Read more: 14 Reasons You’re Tired All the Time

You get dizzy or light-headed

Again, this is one of those symptoms that can have many non-heart related causes. If you have ever been to a gym, you may have seen warning signs to stop walking, running, cycling or elliptical stepping if you feel dizzy or light-headed. This symptom could be caused by dehydration or because you “got up too quick,” but if it occurs on a regular basis then talk to your doctor to see if medication side effects, inner ear problems, anemia, or, less commonly, heart issues are to blame. This spinning state could be caused by blockages in arteries that lessen blood pressure or by faulty valves that cannot maintain blood pressure, says Dr. Miller.

You get short of breath, even though you’re fit

Despite your thrice-weekly cycling classes, you get winded walking up a flight of stairs or you’re coughing a lot. What gives? It could be asthma, anemia, an infection, or rarely a problem with the heart’s valves or its ability to pump blood. “Fluid buildup affecting the left side of the heart can produce wheezing that simulates bronchial asthma,” Dr. Miller says. “Once the valve is fixed, fluid no longer builds up in the lungs and the patient breathes easier.” Since exercise can strengthen the heart, get this symptom checked out so it doesn’t interfere with your ability to get a good workout.

Read more: 12 Worst Habits for Your Mental Health

You’re depressed

Depression is one of the most common problems in the world, and it affects 19 million Americans each year. Depression is probably not a sign that you have heart trouble (as if you need something else to worry about.) But mental wellbeing is linked to physical wellbeing; many studies suggest that people who are depressed are at greater risk of heart trouble. “People who have multiple risk factors for heart disease or who do have heart disease have a tendency to be depressed,” says Dr. Steinbaum. Either way you look at it, it’s another reason to seek help if you are depressed.

You get migraines

Sometimes a headache is just a headache. But in some cases, regular migraines suggest that something is amiss with your ticker. Migraines occur in 12% of the general population, but that stat rises to around 40% in patients with cardiovascular disease. And while there isn’t a clear-cut connection, the occurrence of migraines with auras has been related to some heart abnormalities, so it is possible that these attacks might have a connection to dysfunction of the heart. One theory is that they could both are the result of autonomic nervous system imbalances.

Read more: 10 Signs You Should See a Doctor for Depression

You can hear your heart beat when you fall asleep at night

“Some patients with a loud faulty valve can even hear the sound of their valve at night when they are trying to fall asleep,” Dr. Miller says. And while some patients adjust to the sound and often just change their sleeping position so as not to hear it, doesn’t mean you should ignore it. If you’re being lulled to sleep by the thump-thump of your heart, tell your doctor so he or she can find out why. A pounding heartbeat can also be a sign of low blood pressure, low blood sugar, anemia, medication, dehydration, and other causes.

Anxiety, sweating, and nausea attack you all at once

You’re suddenly anxious, sweating, and nauseous. These are classic symptoms of a panic attack, but they are also heart attack symptoms. If these early heart symptoms are followed up with shortness of breath (though you haven’t moved a muscle), extreme fatigue, or accompanied by pain, fullness, or aching in the your chest that may (or may not) radiate to the back, shoulders, arm, neck, or throat, then get to an emergency room immediately. Waiting more than five minutes to take action could change your chances of survival. In fact, those who arrive at the hospital within an hour of heart attack symptoms starting have better survival rate than those who wait.

Read more: 25 Surprising Ways Stress Affects Your Health

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

TIME Healthcare

Chilean 14-Year-Old With Cystic Fibrosis Asks To Be Allowed To Die

'I am tired of living with this disease'

A video of a 14-year-old Chilean girl with cystic fibrosis asking to be allowed to die has captured attention across the Spanish-speaking world and launched a debate about the right-to-die movement in a region with strong Catholic influence.

“I am asking to speak urgently to the president because I am tired of living with this disease, and she can authorize the injection to put me to sleep forever,” said a teary-eyed Valentina Maureira, addressing Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.

The video, which Spanish media outlets said had been posted to Facebook Sunday evening, shows Maureira sitting on a hospital bed speaking directly to the camera. She explained later that she was “tired of continuing to fight,” according to a translation of a BBC interview. Cystic fibrosis—a genetic disorder that causes problems in the respiratory, digestive and reproductive systems—is a terminal illness that typically results in death in a person’s 30s. In Chile, one in 8,000 newborns has been diagnosed with the disease in recent years, the BBC reported.

Fredy Maureira, Valentina’s father, told radio station Bío Bío Chile that the video had come as a surprise to him, though he said he knew that his daughter had been unhappy in recent months.

“I told her: ‘Daughter, if you want to fight, we will fight. You know how your disease is,'” he told the BBC.

It seems unlikely that Bachelet could authorize the procedure. Presidential spokesperson Alvaro Elizalde said that euthanasia violates Chilean law. Instead, he said, the government would provide Maureira with medical and mental health resources.

“We have to be completely clear, the current norm, the current law in Chile does not allow the government to agree to a request of this nature,” he said, according to Reuters.

The story had spread throughout the Spanish-speaking world by Thursday, with major Spanish language outlets on three continents covering the news, and inspired thousands of Facebook likes.

“I did not think it would get so high,” she told the BBC. “I liked it because [it] motivates people. And this [disease] is a reality.”

TIME Diet/Nutrition

13 Ways to Stop Drinking Soda for Good

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Try giving up the sweet taste for two weeks

You know soda’s not exactly good for you—but at the same time, it can be hard to resist. Its sweet taste, pleasant fizz, and energizing jolt often seems like just what you need to wash down your dinner, get you through an afternoon slump, or quench your thirst at the movies.

But the more soda you consume (regular or diet), the more hazardous your habit can become. And whether you’re a six-pack-a-day drinker or an occasional soft-drink sipper, cutting back can likely have benefits for your weight and your overall health. Here’s why you should be drinking less, plus tips on how to make the transition easier.

Why you should quit

The biggest risk for regular soda drinkers is the excess calories, says Lona Sandon, RD, assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. “The calories in regular soda are coming entirely from added sugar, and you’re not getting any value in terms of vitamins or minerals, or even good quality carbohydrates,” she says.

But soda may also be causing other types of harm. Studies have shown that its consumption is linked with tooth decay and diabetes, and it also seems to be bad for your bones. “It may have something to do with the phosphorus in soda, or it could be that people are drinking soda instead of other beverages—like milk—that have nutrients necessary for healthy bones,” Sandon says.

But what about diet soda?

Sugar-free sodas may not have any calories, but that doesn’t mean they’re any good for you. In fact, they may not even help you lose weight. (Research on this topic has been mixed, at best, but several studies have shown that diet soda drinkers are more likely to be overweight or obese than regular soda drinkers.)

Plus, diet drinks have many of the same health risks as regular soft drinks, including tooth decay and bone thinning, and they’ve also been linked to heart disease and depression in women. Switching to diet sodas may be a smart first step if you’re trying to eliminate excess calories, says Sandon, but your best bet is to eventually give them up, too.

Wean yourself off slowly

That news may be enough to convince you that you should stop drinking soda, but it could still be easier said than done. “People really can become addicted to soda, so you have to be a realist and not an idealist,” says nutritionist Stefanie Sacks, author of the forthcoming book What the Fork Are You Eating?. “I don’t recommend going cold turkey; you need to wean yourself off, just like you would anything you’ve become dependent on.”

If you typically drink multiple servings of soda a day, Sacks suggests first cutting back to one a day. Give that two weeks, then switch to three sodas a week. “It gives you a chance to adjust gradually, which should lead to real, sustainable change,” says Sacks.

Read more: 27 Mistakes Healthy People Make

Mix it with water

Sandon also recommends weaning yourself slowly off soda, and sometimes suggests that her clients start drinking half-soda, half-water. “You’re automatically drinking less and hydrating and filling up with water, which is a good thing,” she says.

But there’s an added advantage, as well: “It cuts back on the sweetness you get from soda, which is one of the things people get really used to. If you’re drinking less sugar, your taste buds will change and soon you won’t need that sweetness anymore.”

Start tracking your calories

If you’re blindly throwing back colas without stopping to think of their impact on your waistline, you could be in for a rude awakening: Each 12-ounce can of Coke, for example, contains 140 calories, while a 20-ounce bottle has 240. (In comparison, here are some smarter snacks for just 200 calories—with filling protein and fiber, to boot.)

Downloading a calorie-tracking app may help you realize just how much those beverages can affect your daily calorie consumption—as long as you actually log in and record each serving. Instead of pouring yourself refill after refill, start paying attention to how much you’re actually drinking; once you do, you may be more willing to cut back.

Do the exercise math

Another way to quantify the calories you’re drinking is by thinking about how much exercise it would take to burn them off. In a 2014 Johns Hopkins University study, researchers placed signs in corner stores stating that a 20-ounce bottle of soda would take 5 miles of walking or 50 minutes of jogging to burn off.

These “advertisements” worked: When teenager customers saw these signs, they were more likely to buy a smaller soda, a water, or no drink at all. “When you explain calories in an easily understandable way such as how many miles of walking needed to burn them off, you can encourage behavior change,” said the study authors.

Read more: 10 Reasons to Give Up Diet Soda

Switch to unsweetened tea

Need that jolt of caffeine to wake up in the morning? If you’re not a coffee drinker, Sandon suggests sipping on unsweetened iced tea instead. “It can be just as refreshing, and there are real health benefits to drinking the phytochemicals in tea,” she says.

If you don’t like the taste of plain tea, mix in some lemon, mint, or a small amount of sugar or artificial sweetener—at least during your transition-from-soda phase. The important thing is that you’re aware of, and in charge of, exactly what’s going into your drink and how much is added.

Drink a glass of water first

Whenever the urge to drink a soda hits, fill up a big glass of ice water and finish that first. “A lot of times, people drink soda just because they’re bored, or they’re thirsty, and that’s what’s available or that’s what they’re used to,” says Sacks.

If you’re still craving a soda after you’ve downed your H2O, then you can reconsider whether it’s really worth it—but chances are your thirst will be quenched and you’ll feel satisfied from just the water. (You can make this work while you’re out and about, too, by always carrying a bottle of water with you.)

Treat yourself to natural brands

When Sacks has successfully weaned her clients down to just a few sodas a week, she often recommends they switch to a brand with fewer artificial ingredients. “They’re more expensive, but you’ll be drinking them less often,” she says. Sacks likes Grown Up Soda, Santa Cruz Organics, and Blue Sky because they don’t contain high-fructose corn syrup or artificial ingredients, and generally contain less sugar than the big brands. “They’re an overall healthier choice, especially if you’re only drinking them occasionally.”

Read more: 12 Strange-But-True Health Tricks

Give seltzer a try

If it’s carbonation you crave, try drinking plain or flavored seltzer water, suggests Sacks. You can buy seltzer by the bottle, or make your own at home with a SodaStream machine ($69, amazon.com).

“Toss a little fruit juice in there for flavor, and eventually change that juice to fresh-squeezed citrus,” says Sacks. “That way you still get the bubbles that you love in soda, but you’re in control of how much sweetness and sugar is added.”

Class up your water

Even still water (or non-bubbly) can be made more palatable with the addition of some fruit or natural flavors. “People tell me they don’t like water, but often they just need to experiment with new ways to drink it,” says Sandon.

She recommends adding lemon, orange, or cucumber slices to a pitcher of water in your refrigerator, which can serve as a detour when you go hunting for a cold soda. Frozen berries and fresh mint can also be tasty additions to a cold glass of H2O.

Buy caffeine-free

If you drink a lot of soda and you’re not quite ready to give it up, try buying caffeine-free versions instead. You may start drinking less without even realizing it, suggests a 2015 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition. In the study, participants were split into two groups and all told to drink as much soda as they’d like for the next 28 days. (One group got regular, one group got caffeine-free.) Even though there was no noticeable taste difference between the two, the caffeinated group drank 53% more over the next month—about 5 ounces a day. When our bodies get used to regular caffeine, we crave more of it, say the study authors, prompting us to drink more.

Read more: 7 Easy Ways to Drink More Water

Steer clear of soda triggers

You may notice that you only drink soda in certain places or situations: In the afternoon at the office, for example, or when you eat at a certain restaurant. You may not be able to completely avoid these scenarios—you’ve still got to go to work and should still enjoy eating out—but you may be able to change those bad habits.

If it’s the office vending machine that tempts you to buy a soda every day, try to stay away from it in the afternoon—and pack your own healthy beverage or a refillable water bottle so you have an alternative. Or if you tend to crave soda with a certain type of food, try restaurants that offer other options instead.

Try it for two weeks

Weaning yourself off something gradually works best for most people, says Sacks, but some may want to try the cold turkey approach. If you plan to go that route, think of it as a temporary change: Giving soda up for two weeks or a month may be easier and more manageable than ditching it forever.

The best part about this trick? Once your time is up, you may not even want to go back to soda—at least not at the frequency you drank it before. “We acquire a taste for sugar depending on how much we have on a daily basis,” says Sandon. “If you cut out soda for a while, you may be surprised at how sweet it tastes ones you go back.” (Want extra help with the cold-turkey method? Enlist friends to take the challenge with you.)

Save it for special occasions

Once you’re able to break your regular soda habit and the drink loses its grip on you, it can be treated just like any other junk food: If you really love the taste, there’s nothing wrong with an occasional indulgence, says Sacks. “If it’s your gotta-have-it food, then by all means splurge on a soda now and then,” she says. In fact, knowing that you can have a soda on your cheat day or during a special night out may help you resist them on a more regular basis. “Just do it from a place of education: If you understand that soda is essentially just sugar and artificial flavorings, then you can be more smart about when or if you’re going to drink it.”

Read more: 14 Surprising Causes of Dehydration

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

TIME Infectious Disease

Deadly Stomach Bug Infects About Half a Million in U.S. Each Year, Study Shows

Clostridium difficile, or C. diff, was linked to 27,000 deaths last year

Nearly half a million Americans are infected by a deadly stomach bug every year, according to a recent report.

A study funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that an estimated 453,000 cases of Clostridium difficile, or C. diff, infection in the United States in 2011, which resulted in 29,000 deaths. That’s almost double prior infection estimates.

C. diff bacteria release toxins that drugs can’t fight; those infected usually contract it from hospitals or health care related settings, though sickness typically occurs after one leaves the hospital. A new, more severe strain of the bacteria was discovered in 2000. Ordinary antibiotics and hand sanitizers are considered no match for the bug, which causes severe diarrhea, inflammation and sepsis.

The CDC says that soap and water are essential to stopping its spread, NBC News reports. The Department of Health and Human Services will begin punishing hospitals that fail to reduce rates of C. diff in their facilities by 2017.

Read next: Measles Outbreak in U.S. Tops 150 Cases

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TIME Heart Disease

Risk for Stroke Is Greater in People Who Oversleep

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Regularly sleeping over eight hours may be a sign of a serious health risk

Oversleeping feels like a treat on the weekend, but regularly sleeping too much is actually a sign that there may be a medical problem at play. According to a new study, people who sleep more than eight hours a day have a higher risk for a stroke compared with people who sleep six to eight hours.

In the new study, published in the journal Neurology, researchers followed nearly 10,000 people ages 42 to 81 for almost 10 years. They recorded both the amount of sleep they typically got each night, as well as whether they had a stroke.

Around 7 out of 10 of the men and women slept six to eight hours, and about 1 in 10 slept more than eight hours a night on average. The people who slept the most had a 46% higher than average risk of stroke when the researchers accounted for other variables that could contribute to risk. Their risk was about double that of people who reported getting a typical amount of shut-eye each night.

The study only shows an association, but it’s fairly surprising since in the past, sleep deprivation has been linked to a greater stroke risk too. The researchers speculate that long nights of sleep may be linked to increased inflammation, which can eventually lead to cardiovascular problems.

“Prolonged sleep might be a useful marker of increased stroke risk in older people, and should be tested further for its utility in clinical practice,” the authors conclude. Stroke isn’t the only risk that’s linked to sleeping too much. Physicians sometimes use sleep duration as an indicator for how well a patient is feeling. Getting too much sleep can often mean something under the hood is off.

“If people are sleeping too much, it’s a bad sign,” says Dr. David Gozal, a pediatric sleep disorders physician at the University of Chicago Medicine. “Very few people can sleep more than what they need. It’s a sign there is an underlying health-related problem, whether it’s depression, cancer or neurological deterioration. It’s usually not a good thing.” Gozal was not involved in the study.

If you like to sleep in on the weekends, don’t fret. Occasionally spending extra time in bed is likely not a bad sign, experts say, but when it becomes a regular habit, it might be worth checking out. For now, the researchers of the new study say their findings need further investigation, and priority should be given to understanding the underlying mechanisms.

TIME Diet/Nutrition

5 Things You Should Know About Cholesterol

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Recent research shows no substantial relationship between the consumption of dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol levels

Cholesterol seems to be one of those words that’s in everyone’s vocabulary, but many of my clients are incredibly confused about what cholesterol is, and how it affects their health. It also happens to be buzzing in the media at the moment, thanks to a new report from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, a group of top nutrition researchers who advise the government about what and how Americans should be eating.

If you’re feeling a little perplexed by all this cholesterol talk, here’s a simple breakdown of what you really need to know.

Cholesterol is only found in animal-based foods

There are two types: dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol. Dietary cholesterol is the cholesterol found in foods, and only foods of animal origin contain it, because animals’ bodies naturally produce this waxy, fat-like substance. So when you eat an animal-based food (think eggs, dairy, meat, seafood) you’re ingesting cholesterol that an animal’s body produced. Plant-based foods do not contain any cholesterol, so if you see a jar of nut butter marked “cholesterol free” know that they didn’t remove the cholesterol—it just wasn’t there to begin with.

Read more: 16 Most Misleading Food Labels

Cholesterol is essential for your health

Even if you ate zero animal foods, you’d still have cholesterol in your body. That’s because your liver produces cholesterol and it’s needed for several key functions, including the making of hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help you digest food. While cholesterol is vital, it isn’t considered to be an essential nutrient, meaning something you must obtain from foods, like vitamin C or potassium. That’s because your body produces all of the cholesterol it needs.

Read more: 27 Mistakes Healthy People Make

There are “good” and “bad” types of cholesterol in your blood

The two types of blood cholesterol you hear about most often are HDL (the “good” kind; think happy cholesterol) and LDL (the “bad” kind; think lousy cholesterol). HDL and LDL are actually carriers of cholesterol called lipoproteins. HDL is good because it carries cholesterol away from arteries and back to the liver, where it can be removed from your body. LDL—the bad type—has the opposite effect. Too much LDL can lead to a build-up, which clogs and narrows arteries, and creates inflammation. This chain of events can lead to a sudden rupture, which sends a clot into the bloodstream, causing a heart attack and/or stroke.

Read more: 9 Subtle Signs You Could Have a Heart Problem

Dietary cholesterol may not impact blood cholesterol as much as previously thought

The old thinking was that consuming dietary cholesterol added to the cholesterol that your body naturally produces, thus raising the amount in your blood. This was perceived to be risky, because too much blood cholesterol has been shown to up the risk of heart disease, the top killer of both men and women. One often-cited statistic is that every 1% increase in total blood cholesterol is tied to a 2% increase in the risk of heart disease.

For many years, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommended that dietary cholesterol should be limited to no more than 300 mg per day. To put that in perspective, one egg yolk contains about 185 mg, three ounces of shrimp contains about 130 mg, two ounces of 85% lean ground beef about 60 mg, and one tablespoon of butter about 30 mg. The brand new report eliminated this cap, however, because the committee believes that the research shows no substantial relationship between the consumption of dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol levels. As such, they concluded, “Cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.”

Read more: 14 Things Heart Doctors Tell Their Friends

The new guidelines aren’t carte blanche to other kinds of animal fat

Nearly every media outlet covered the release of the report from the Dietary Guidelines committee, zeroing in on the omission of cholesterol limits—but that doesn’t mean it’s now healthy to go out and down cheeseburgers and pepperoni pizzas. The committee is still concerned about the relationship between blood cholesterol and saturated fat from foods like cheese.

You may have heard about another recent report, which concluded that a lower intake of saturated fat wasn’t linked to a lower risk of heart disease. That’s true, but it’s not the whole story, because the risk really lies in what you replace the saturated fat-laden foods with. When people curb saturated fat, but eat more carbohydrates, they lower protective levels of “good” HDL cholesterol, and drive up triglycerides (a type of blood fat), a combo that may actually up the risk of heart disease. But numerous studies have shown that replacing foods like butter and cheese with plant-based fats like almond butter, avocado, and olive oil can help lower heart disease risk.

Bottom line: the number one message from the new Dietary Guidelines report is that we all need to be eating less sugar and processed foods, and more plants, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and lentils. So if you have cholesterol from something like eggs, pair them with other whole, nutrient-rich plant foods, like veggies and avocado, combined with some fruit, black beans, sweet potato, or quinoa. That’s good nutrition.

Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, is Health’s contributing nutrition editor, and privately counsels clients in New York, Los Angeles, and long distance. Cynthia is currently the sports nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers NHL team and the Tampa Bay Rays MLB team, and is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics.

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

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