TIME Food & Drink

Coke’s PR Strategy Is to Market Soda as a Healthy Snack

An American Icon at 100 exhibition at the High Museum of Art on February 26, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Paras Griffin—2015 Getty Images An American Icon at 100 exhibition at the High Museum of Art on February 26, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Coke works with nutrition experts who suggest its cola as a healthy treat

(NEW YORK) — If a column in honor of heart health suggests a can of Coke as a snack, you might want to read the fine print.

The world’s biggest beverage maker is working with fitness and nutrition experts who suggest its cola as a healthy treat. In February, for instance, several wrote online pieces for American Heart Month, with each including a mini-can of Coke or small soda as a snack idea.

The mentions — which appeared on nutrition blogs and other sites including those of major newspapers — show the many ways food companies work behind the scenes to cast their products in a positive light, often with the help of third parties who are seen as trusted authorities.

Ben Sheidler, a Coca-Cola spokesman, compared the February posts to product placement deals a company might have with TV shows.

“We have a network of dietitians we work with,” said Sheidler, who declined to say how much the company pays experts. “Every big brand works with bloggers or has paid talent.”

Other companies including Kellogg and General Mills have used strategies like providing continuing education classes for dietitians, funding studies that burnish the nutritional images of their products and offering newsletters for health experts. PepsiCo Inc. has also worked with dietitians who suggest its Frito-Lay and Tostito chips in local TV segments on healthy eating. Others use nutrition experts in sponsored content; the American Pistachio Growers has quoted a dietitian for the New England Patriots in a piece on healthy snacks and recipes and Nestle has quoted its own executive in a post about infant nutrition.

For Coca-Cola Co., the public relations strategy with health experts in February focused on the theme of “Heart Health & Black History Month.” The effort yielded a radio segment and multiple online pieces.

One post refers to a “refreshing beverage option such as a mini can of Coca-Cola.” Another suggests “portion-controlled versions of your favorites, like Coca-Cola mini cans, packs of almonds or pre-portioned desserts for a meal.”

The focus on the smaller cans isn’t surprising. Sugary drinks have come under fire for fueling obesity rates and related ills, and the last time Coke’s annual U.S. soda volume rose was in 2002, according to the industry tracker Beverage Digest. More recently, the company is pushing its mini-cans as a guilt-free way to enjoy cola. The cans also fetch higher prices on a per ounce basis, so even if people are drinking less soda, Coke says it can grow sales.

In a statement, Coca-Cola said it wants to “help people make decisions that are right for them” and that like others in the industry, it works with health experts “to help bring context to the latest facts and science around our products and ingredients.” It said any communications by the experts it works with contain the appropriate disclosures.

Most of the pieces suggesting mini-Cokes say in the bios that the author is a “consultant” for food companies, including Coca-Cola. Some add that the ideas expressed are their own. One column is marked at the bottom as a “sponsored article,” which is an ad designed to look like a regular story. It ran on more than 1,000 sites, including those of major news outlets around the country. The other posts were not marked as sponsored content, but follow a similar format.

Kelly McBride, who teaches media ethics at The Poynter Institute, said the phrasing of the disclosure that the author is a “consultant” for food companies, including Coca-Cola, doesn’t make it clear the author was specifically paid by Coke for the column.

“This is an example of opaque sponsored content,” McBride said.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a professional group for dietitians, says in its code of ethics that practitioners promote and endorse products “only in a manner that is not false and misleading.” A spokesman for the academy did not respond when asked if the posts on mini-Cokes meet those guidelines.

Meanwhile, a group called Dietitians for Professional Integrity has called for sharper lines to be drawn between dietitians and companies. Andy Bellatti, one of its founders, said companies court dietitians because they help validate corporate messages.

The message that Coke can be a healthy snack is debatable. Alice Lichtenstein, a professor of nutrition science and policy at Tufts University and a member of the nutrition committee at the American Heart Association, said a smaller can of soda might be a “move in the right direction” for someone who regularly drinks soda. Still, she wouldn’t recommend soda as a snack.

The health experts who wrote the pieces mentioning Coke stand by their recommendations.

Robyn Flipse, the dietitian who wrote the sponsored article for Coke, said she would suggest mini-cans of Coke even if she wasn’t being paid. Although she doesn’t drink soda herself, she said the smaller cans are a way for people who like soda to enjoy it sensibly.

“I absolutely think that I provided valuable information,” she said.

Flipse said the idea to mention mini-cans of Coke in the post was hers and came about after a public relations agency for Coke suggested a piece on heart health and asked what she might “work in.”

Flipse has worked with Coca-Cola and the American Beverage Association for years; her roles have included sending out messages on social media refuting the idea that sugary drinks are to blame for obesity and making herself available as an expert for news outlets. If a story says something negative about artificial sweeteners, Flipse said she might contact the PR agency and ask, “Do you want me to do something about that?”

Sylvia Melendez-Klinger, a dietitian who wrote another piece mentioning mini- cans of soda, said it’s important that health professionals share their expertise with companies and that her work reflects her own views.

She said she could not recall if she was paid for her article mentioning mini-sodas.

Read next: San Francisco Lawmakers Take on Big Soda Again

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TIME Diet/Nutrition

11 Superfoods That Work Better Together

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These health-boosting food pairings make nutritious foods even better for you

Peanut butter and jelly. Soup and salad. Spaghetti and meatballs. There are a few classic pairings that will never go out of style. But some food duos do more than just excite your taste buds—they could even boost your health. It’s a concept called “food synergy.” While eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods is key for helping your body stay healthy, the idea is that some foods can interact in ways to provide even more value. So stick to eating your favorite superfoods, but know that serving these 11 combos could pack a more powerful punch of nutrition.

Black beans + red bell pepper

Black beans are a good source of iron. Thing is, the iron in plant foods, known as non-heme iron, isn’t as readily absorbed as the iron you’ll find in meat. “Just 2% to 20% of the iron in plant foods makes its way from your digestive tract into your blood, compared to 15% to 35% from heme animal-based iron,” says Cynthia Sass, RD, MPH, Health‘s contributing nutrition editor and author of Slim Down Now: Shed Pounds and Inches with Real Food, Real Fast ($27; amazon.com). That’s where vitamin C-rich foods, like red bell pepper, come in. They can increase the absorption of non-heme iron by six times, Sass says. Her go-to dish: black bean tacos topped with sautéed red bell peppers.

Whole grains + onions + garlic

Like beans, the iron and zinc you find in whole grains have low bioavailability, meaning they get metabolized faster than your body can absorb them. “Whole grains contain natural substances that may bind with minerals, which make them less absorbable,” Sass says. But research shows that sulfur-rich foods, such as garlic and onion, could make whole grains even more nutritious. A 2010 study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that the addition of garlic and onion to cooked or raw food grains enhanced the accessibility of iron and zinc in both cases. Pair the two by baking onions or garlic right into bread, Sass says, or try adding a generous serving of onions to your sandwich.

Read more: 12 Foods With More Vitamin C Than an Orange

Tomatoes + olive oil

You already know that olive oil is a heart-healthy fat shown to boost “good” HDL cholesterol and lower “bad” LDL cholesterol that can clog your arteries. When paired with tomatoes, though, it has even more superpowers. A 2000 study in Free Radical Biology and Medicine had people consume tomato products with extra-virgin olive oil or sunflower oil. Researchers found that olive oil raised the antioxidant activity of the lycopene in tomatoes, while no effect was seen with the sunflower oil. “There are numerous delicious combinations, including bruschetta, roasted red pepper pesto, or simply sautéing tomatoes in olive oil with garlic and herbs to toss with lean protein and a small portion of whole grain pasta,” Sass says.

Salmon + collard greens

To get the most out of your calcium intake, consuming enough vitamin D is key. “Vitamin D helps absorb calcium from the GI tract into the blood and helps maintain a normal calcium level in the blood,” Sass says. The National Institutes of Health recommends adult women get 600 IU of vitamin D daily. Bare skin exposed to sunlight triggers vitamin D production in your body, but you can also get it by eating certain foods, including salmon. Sass suggests grilling the fish over a bed of sautéed collard greens, which just happen to be rich in bone-boosting calcium.

Broccoli + tomatoes

When combined, these two appear to have some impressive cancer-fighting powers. In a 2007 study for Cancer Research, over five months rats were fed varying diets of either broccoli, tomatoes, or both foods. Researchers then tested how effective the different diet combinations were in slowing down the growth of prostate tumor implants. They found that diets containing 10% tomato and 10% broccoli caused a 52% decrease in tumor weights, whereas the diet with just tomatoes saw a 34% decrease and the diet with just broccoli had a 42% decrease. “You could toss steamed broccoli with sundried tomato pesto,” Sass suggests. “Or sauté the florets and tomatoes in olive oil with seasoning.”

Read more: Best Superfoods for Weight Loss

Green tea + black pepper

Forget adding honey to green tea. Research shows you may be better off sprinkling in some black pepper. Green tea already has a special antioxidant called EGCG, which is thought to boost metabolism and protect against cancer. But the key chemical in black pepper, known as piperine, could make EGCG work even more efficiently. In a 2004 study for the Journal of Nutrition, researchers injected mice with either a combination of EGCG and piperine or EGCG alone. They found that piperine increased the absorption of EGCG, so it wasn’t broken down as quickly in the blood stream. Don’t want your tea to have a spicy kick? Use the pair to soak meat or seafood. “Brewed tea with garlic, ginger, and black pepper makes a perfect marinade,” Sass says.

Turmeric + black pepper

The piperine in black pepper works with more than one food. You may have heard turmeric called the healing spice. That’s because it packs a powerful antioxidant, curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antibacterial agents, says Melissa Rifkin, RD, a bariatric dietitian at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. Thing is, curcumin gets metabolized quickly before it can be fully absorbed. “If you pair the turmeric with the piperine, it improves the bioavailability of curcumin by 1000 times,” Rifkin says. Her ideal food pairing: Prepare a chicken dish that’s made with turmeric and add a little black pepper.

Brussels sprouts + olive oil

These mini-cabbages pack several key nutrients, including vitamin K. “It regulates blood clotting in our bodies and it also may be helpful for bone health,” says Keri Gans, RD, author of The Small Change Diet: 10 Steps to a Thinner and Healthier You($8; amazon.com). Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it’s best absorbed in a meal that contains fat. That’s where the olive oil comes in. It mostly contains monounsaturated fats, which are thought to help lower your risk of heart disease. Prep these two by lightly sautéing the veggies in olive oil, Gans says. You’ll boost your intake of vitamin K and keep your heart happy too.

Read more: Superfoods That Fight Colds

Kale + almonds

Another veggie chockfull of vitamin K is kale, but the superfood is also a good source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that boosts our immune systems and protects against cancer and heart disease. “Some research suggests it could also be good for healthy skin,” Gans says. But like vitamin K, vitamin E is fat-soluble, so you’ll need a nutritious source of fat to increase its absorption. Almonds make a good partner for the veggie as the nut is full of monounsaturated fat. And pairing the two couldn’t be easier. Gans suggests topping a kale salad with slivered almonds. Bonus: “Almonds have both vitamin E and are a healthy fat, so it’s a win-win,” Gans says.

Dark chocolate + apples

This pairing won’t just satisfy your sweet tooth. Together, dark chocolate and apples have the potential to improve cardiovascular health, Rifkin says. In their skins, apples—red delicious especially—contain the flavonoid quercetin, which acts like an anti-inflammatory. On the other hand, the cocoa in dark chocolate is rich in catechins, an antioxidant that helps prevent the hardening of arteries, Rifkin says. “When paired, they have been shown to help break up blood clots,” Rifkin says. Even more reason to start dipping your apple slices in a little chocolate goodness. Just remember: the dark kind has six times more catechins than milk chocolate, Rifkin says.

Garlic + salmon

Garlic is one way to make your fish more flavorful. Together, the two foods may also work to decrease your risk of heart disease. A 1997 study in the American Journal of Nutrition tested the effects of the pair on men with high cholesterol. In the groups who consumed 900 milligrams of garlic and 12 grams of fish oil, total cholesterol levels and LDL levels decreased by 12.2% and 9.5% respectively. That’s great news since too much cholesterol can clog up your blood vessels and impair blood flow. It’s possible combining both garlic and salmon in a meal may offer similar benefits. Next time, try cooking up your fish with a little garlic, Rifkin suggests.

Read more: 5 Natural Appetite Suppressants That Really Work

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

Read next: 4 Superfoods You Might Be Overeating

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TIME Diet/Nutrition

The Sugar Industry Shaped Government Advice On Cavities, Report Finds

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Internal sugar industry documents reveal how it influenced national research priorities for tooth decay

A new report reveals that the sugar industry heavily influenced federal research—as well as the guidelines that resulted from that research.

Tooth decay remains a problem in the U.S. despite being preventable. One simple fix is cutting back on overall sugar intake. But a new report published in the journal PLOS Medicine reveals that the sugar industry greatly influenced the U.S. National Institute of Dental Research (NIDR) 1971 research by shifting the group’s focus away from dietary changes.

MORE 4 Ways to Tell How Much Sugar You’re Eating

It’s a mistake nutrition and dental experts say had long-lasting consequences.

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, (UCSF) reviewed internal sugar-industry documents between the years 1959 to 1971, a period when the NIDR was trying to figure out which tooth decay-related interventions could wipe out the problem in a decade. In 1967, an advisory council recommended NIDR focus its efforts on dietary changes. And by 1971, the agency had launched its National Caries Program—but it didn’t tell Americans to start focusing on their sugar intake.

MORE Where the Dietary Guidelines Went Wrong

“It’s extremely shocking to see how closely NIDR [and the sugar industry] worked together, and how the research priorities between the two groups were so aligned to benefit the sugar industry,” says study author Cristin Kearns, a postdoctoral scholar at UCSF School of Medicine.

So what happened?

It turns out the sugar trade organization and the government groups were making some behind-the-scenes deals.

In 1969, an NIDR formed a subcommittee called the Caries Task Force Steering Committee, which started regularly meeting to come up with their research priorities. Simultaneously, another group called the International Sugar Research Foundation (ISRF) started their own series of meetings to identify dental-health priorities. In their investigation, UCSF researchers notices that ISRF’s panel and the NIDR’s steering committee were made up almost entirely of the same people. See the graph below:

Cristin E. Kearns, Stanton A. Glantz, Laura A. Schmidt

And in a 1969 presentation, documents show that Richard Greulich, the NIDR’s intramural scientific director, said:

One could say, on logical grounds and good evidence, that if we could eliminate the consumption of sucrose, we could eliminate the problem…We are realists, however, and we recognize the value of sucrose to nutrition.

In late 1969, the ISRF submitted its findings to the NIDR tooth decay task force, and the authors of the PLOS Medicine report show that 40% of the report’s content was taken, nearly word-for-word, from the sugar industry report.

MORE The Truth About Fat

“The sugar industry was able to derail some promising research that probably would’ve been the foundation for regulation of sugar in food,” says study author Stanton A. Glantz, the director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education. And this was at a time when nutrition experts say the role of sugar in tooth decay was well-known.

“Dental researchers were well aware that even small amounts of sugars promoted tooth decay,” says Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University. She notes that the 1977 U.S. dietary goals called for a 40% reduction in sugar intake.

“Tooth decay is 100 percent preventable,” agrees Dr. Kevin Boyd, a dentist and an attending clinical instructor at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago. “I think this [report] is going to be a game changer. At a young age, children and parents need to be consulted on diet.” Neither Boyd nor Nestle were not involved in the new paper.

MORE Why You’re Tired All The Time

According to the researchers, major medical institutions still allow the sugar industry to influence its decisions. “Industry opposition to current policy proposals—including a WHO guideline on sugars proposed in 2014 and changes to the nutrition facts panel proposed in 2014 by the FDA—should be carefully scrutinized to ensure that industry interests do not supersede public health goals,” the study authors conclude in their paper.

In a statement sent to TIME, the Sugar Association says: “It is challenging for the current Sugar Association staff to comment directly on documents and events that allegedly occurred before and during Richard Nixon’s presidency, given the staff has changed entirely since the 1970s. However, we are confused as to the relevance of attempts to dredge up history when decades of modern science has provided answers regarding the role of diet in the pathogenesis of dental caries… A combined approach of reducing the amount of time sugars and starches are in the mouth, drinking fluoridated water, and brushing and flossing teeth, is the most effective way to reduce dental caries.” The statement has been shortened for brevity.

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) and the American Dental Association did not respond for comment by publication.

Read next: The 50 Healthiest Foods of All Time (With Recipes)

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TIME Diet/Nutrition

10 Super Healthy Foods You’ve Never Heard Of

Move over, kale

Healthy eating should be simple. But since we know it can be hard to keep up with what you should be eating now, we created a list of the 50 Healthiest Foods of All Time (With Recipes).That list, comprehensive as it was, skewed toward foods you already know about. But we also came upon some super-healthy eats that will appeal to the more adventurous eaters out there.

We asked registered dietitian Tina Ruggiero, author of the The Truly Healthy Family Cookbook to recommend 10 foods she loves that haven’t yet had their kale moment. Some are harder to find than others, but each could be the next big thing on the grocery store shelf.

  • Limequat

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    Limequats are just what they sound like: a hybrid of the lime and the kumquat. These nugget-size fruit are most often found in the market between July and November, and they’re packed with vitamin C and fiber. They can be eaten as you would an apple—rind and all—or incorporated into a recipe. They make a tasty substitute for lemons or limes in recipes.

    How to eat: Add them into a marmalade or curd recipe.

     

  • Wakame

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    Wakame is a seaweed, and while you may not have heard about it, you’ve probably eaten it: it’s the soft, green sea vegetable in miso soup. Wakame, like other seaweed, is dense in micronutrients, packed with trace minerals, low in calories and a rich source of antioxidants.

    How to eat: It’s tasty in soups or added to a sauté or salad.

  • Pu-erh Tea

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    If you’re a die-hard coffee fan for the morning pick-me-up, but want to like tea for its health benefits, try some Pu-erh tea, a very rich, full-bodied tea with hints of mocha. While it’s reminiscent of black tea, it’s not; it’s in a class of its own, fermented and aged (interestingly, this tea can be aged for decades, like wine.) It can be found in loose leaf form or compressed into little cakes (called bing cha). It is rich in polyphenols and has been associated with improved digestion, cholesterol reduction and weight loss.

    How to drink: Simply add to water and enjoy.

  • Pomelo

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    Pomelos look like a green grapefruit, but taste like a citrusy melon. Grown in California, Florida and Texas, pomelos are harvested between fall and mid-spring, so buy one when you find it, and eat it as you would a grapefruit: peel, separate and devour. Pomelos are low in calories, high in fiber, a good source of heart-smart potassium and loaded with cancer-fighting antioxidants.

    How to eat: Peel, and enjoy.

     

  • Pluot

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    This speckled stone fruit is a hybrid of a plum and an apricot. There are more than 20 varieties of pluots with fun names like Emerald Drop, Flavor Grenade and Splash. Pluots are loaded with fiber, vitamins C and A. Having just 40 to 80 calories each, this naturally-sweet fruit is Mother Nature’s treat.

    How to eat: Eat it fresh or add it to a salsa.

  • Hubbard Squash

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    This winter squash is not known for its looks. Instead, its beauty lies on the inside, in the form of succulent, orange-yellow flesh that’s rich in antioxidant vitamins A and C, potassium and fiber.

    How to eat: Try roasting it then pairing it with pasta and kale. It’s also sturdy enough to stand out in a stew.

     

  • Celeriac

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    This knobby root vegetable looks nothing like celery but it has a similar taste. It’s loaded with vitamins B6, C and K as well as potassium and magnesium. Inexpensive and versatile, try peeling then grating the root in a salad with beets, apples and walnuts.

    How to eat: You can cook and mash celeriac as you would potatoes.

     

  • Teff

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    Teff is tiny but mighty. The North African cereal grass is rich in manganese, iron, fiber, protein, B vitamins and zinc. Teff is gluten-free and a key ingredient in Ethiopian injera, a sourdough flatbread. Teff can also be cooked into polenta and enjoyed savory or sweet. One cup of cooked teff has nearly 40% of a day’s worth of calcium and all eight essential amino acids.

    How to eat: Add it to porridge, oatmeal, pancakes or polenta.

     

  • Fenugreek

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    Fenugreek is very versatile. It’s been called an herb, a curry-scented spice and even a legume, but this plant and its many derivatives isn’t a newcomer. It’s been enjoyed for millennia and embraced for its culinary and medicinal properties. Fenugreek seeds are rich in minerals like iron, potassium and calcium, fiber and choline.

    How to eat: Leaves can be tossed into salads, and fenugreek extract adds a flavor-punch to marinades.

     

  • Purslane

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    Purslane is a weed, like dandelion, and it’s edible, nutritious and a very popular ingredient in Greek and Mexican cooking. It’s rich in plant-based omega-three fatty acids, vitamins C and E, and it’s a good source of pectin, a soluble fiber.

    How to eat: Its lemony flavor and crunchy texture make it a nice addition to pesto sauce, salads and sandwiches.

     

TIME Nutrition

More Kids Are Eating Fruit at School, Study Finds

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JGI/Jamie Grill—Getty Images/Blend Images School girl holding lunch on a tray

And they're throwing away less food too

The government’s effort to encourage children to eat more fruit is working, a new study finds, and they’re throwing less food away too.

The study published Wednesday in Childhood Obesity concludes that since updated government-subsidized lunchroom guidelines aimed at getting kids to eat more nutritional meals went into effect in 2012, the percentage of students choosing fruit in the cafeteria increased from 54% to 66%. Children are also throwing away less food, with researchers noting that students ate 84% of their (healthier) entrees, up from 74% in 2012.

The results of the study, by researchers at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut, are based on 12 middle schools in an urban school district. The researchers followed students beginning in spring 2012, when the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act was implemented, to spring 2014.

Critics of the regulations have long claimed that students were throwing away the healthy food forced upon them in school, increasing both wastes and costs.

The School Nutrition Association, an advocacy group backed in part by major food companies, told the New York Times that the study was too narrow to prove anything conclusive. “We have lots of concerns about this study because, among other things, it only collected data on one day each year at these schools,” said Diane Pratt-Heavner, a spokeswoman for the association.

But researchers argue that while this was a limitation of the study, the fact that 17 different entree options were offered across 36 days negates the concern that an extremely popular entree day, like Pizza Day, could skew the findings. The researchers concluded: “The new requirement for students to select a fruit or vegetable with each lunch is an effective strategy to improve the nutritional quality of school meals.”

Read Next: The 50 Healthiest Foods of All Time (With Recipes)

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!

  • 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.

  • Raspberries

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    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.

  • Oranges

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    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.

  • Kiwi

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    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 easily absorbed by the body. 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Kale

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, kale, greens, vegetables, salad
    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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).

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • Rolled Oats

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, rolled oats, grains, breakfast, cereal
    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Flaxseeds

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    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.

  • Eggs

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    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.

  • 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

  • 2% Greek Yogurt

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    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.

  • Coconut Oil

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    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 Diet/Nutrition

Better Grocery Stores Alone Can’t Improve Kids’ Diets, Study Finds

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Even if you build them, they won’t come, says the latest study on finding ways to get more healthy foods to young children

There’s been a lot of talk lately about food deserts and lack of access to healthy, nutritious food for many families living in rural and lower-income urban areas. So the solution seems to be to increase the availability of healthier fare, and what better way than to build a full service supermarket in the neighborhoods without one?

That’s what a government-sponsored program called Health Food Financing Initiative does, enticing supermarket chains to build stores in lower income areas with favorable tax credits. These stores are also required to meet some criteria meant to make the most of their presence in areas where fresh and nutritious foods are harder to come by. In New York, for example, the state program requires that at least 30% of a store’s floor space be devoted to perishable foods like produce and fruit, with at least 500 square feet dedicated specifically to fresh produce.

MORE: How the Nation’s Nutrition Panel Thinks You Should Be Eating

A new study published in journal Public Health Nutrition looked at whether the supermarkets are actually making a difference. Brian Elbel, associate professor of population health and health policy at New York University School of Medicine, and his colleagues compared eating habits in families in a part of the Bronx with a new supermarket and in a close by neighborhood without one.

To capture any change in the families’ food-buying habits over time, the researchers stopped parents on the street in these neighborhoods and asked them questions about their eating and food buying patterns, and then called the participants around six months later, and again a year after that first encounter.

The results were sobering. While there was an increase in those who said they shopped at the supermarket between the first and second rounds of questioning, that difference disappeared a year later. What the families were buying also didn’t change much, despite the supermarket selling fresh and healthy foods. At the start of the study 77% of those living in the neighborhood with the new supermarket said they had fresh fruits and vegetables in their homes, which dropped to 68% by the second follow up. The other neighborhood, however, showed a similar decline, from 78% to 65%.

MORE: Most Schools Still Don’t Meet Federal Nutrition Standards

In fact, both neighborhoods showed similar changes in food-buying trends, including positive ones such as a decrease in the availability of cookies, cakes, pastries and salty snacks in the home, so Elbel says it’s not possible to attribute them to the presence of the supermarket in the one community.

“It’s very clear that a supermarket alone does bring access to healthy food,” says Elbel. “But at the same time, does it bring unhealthy stuff, and introduce new products to the neighborhood that weren’t there before? Potentially.”

While healthy foods were available at the store, for example, they were not always the most affordable items, or the ones that the store promoted with special discounts or deals. Cost, it seems, overrules nutrition for many families making food-buying decisions.

While programs to increase the availability of full service food stores are laudable, Elbel says his results highlight the fact that access isn’t the only answer. “We can definitely imagine criteria that would make it more stringent for stores to qualify for these programs, and provide more detail on how the store is structured, what products are promoted or which products are available and how they are priced,” he says. “The question is, if we provide the tax credits and these constraints, will stores still be interested in opening in [food desert] neighborhoods? I don’t know.”

MORE: Nearly 60% Of People Use Nutrition Info on Menus

It’s also possible that the supermarket didn’t have the impact public health officials anticipated because the neighborhoods already had reasonable access — a train or bus ride away — to full service stores, before the new store opened. Almost 90% of the participants said they shopped at a supermarket, not convenience stores, for meals they made at home, so the new store likely didn’t do much to change that pattern. That suggests, says Elbel, that policy makers may also need stricter definitions of food deserts or areas that need nutritional attention.

“Just building a supermarket is not enough,” he says. “We need more data on what exactly a food desert is, and exactly where to place a supermarket. We have to look at access more broadly, and make clear that improving health is not just about access.” That’s a bigger challenge, but as the study shows, needs to be addressed if healthier fare is going to find its way onto more dinner plates.

TIME Diet/Nutrition

How Your Taste Buds Can Help You Lose Weight

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Research shows that our flavor preferences may affect our weight and health in surprising ways

It’s no big secret that people have different taste preferences. Some of us gleefully devour arugula salads for lunch, while others won’t touch greens unless they’re baked and smothered in cheese (and sometimes not even then). Some people gulp down pumpkin spice lattes; others go into sugar shock after just one sip.

“When it comes to taste, each one of us is hardwired differently,” says Valerie Duffy, RD, professor of nutritional science at the University of Connecticut. And emerging research is showing that our flavor preferences may affect our waistlines and health in surprising ways. Check out the fascinating scoop on exactly what’s going on inside your mouth and how to tap your taste buds to dump unwanted pounds.

Read more: Best and Worst Foods for Your Teeth

Did you know that there are three types of tasters: supertasters, nontasters and people who fall somewhere in between? Finicky types, with their hypersensitive taste buds, tend to belong to the first group. If you’re a supertaster, you find the flavors in foods really intense. Desserts taste too sweet, bitter foods are too bitter and spicy foods—well, you get the picture. That’s why you’re less likely to inhale a plate of brownies, and you probably don’t make the best drinking buddy (the ethanol in alcohol—yech).

Yet vegetables may pose a challenge for supertasters, who can be particularly sensitive to the bitter compounds in dark, leafy greens. One study co-authored by Duffy showed that they ate almost one fewer serving a day than their peers. As Duffy notes, “Supertasters will probably need to minimize the bitterness in Brussels sprouts, say, to develop a taste for them.” The one thing these picky eaters typically can’t get enough of: salty foods, which may trigger overeating.

Read more: 13 Foods That Are Saltier Than You Realize

Research finds that roughly 25 percent of Americans are supertasters. About 25 percent are nontasters, and the rest of us fall in the middle. Why are you turned off by curry takeout while your dinner companion can’t get enough of it? Unclear, but it may be in your genes (for example, a specific variant of the gene TAS2R38 can make bitter compounds overwhelming to supertasters), says Linda Bartoshuk, PhD, Bushnell Professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Florida. What many supertasters seem to have in common is a high number of taste papillae, the tiny bumps on the tongue where taste buds live.

Nontasters, on the other hand, simply perceive flavors and textures less intensely. On the plus side, they find leafy greens sweet rather than bitter, so they’re more apt to polish them off. But they tend to be relatively insensitive to fat and creamy textures, which may make them overindulge. Not surprisingly, some research suggests that nontasters are at greater risk of excessive weight gain and cardiovascular disease than the rest of the population. Since they have duller taste sensations, they may need to eat more food to feel satisfied.

Read more: 10 Heart-Healthy Rules to Live By

How extra weight messes with food satisfaction

While taste clearly affects your waistline, the opposite also seems to be true: Extra weight may dim sensitivity to flavors. One possible reason is that those additional pounds influence hormone levels throughout the body, which changes the way taste receptors relay information to the brain. A Stanford University study found that a group of obese preoperative bariatric surgery patients had less taste sensitivity than a control group of normal-weight individuals.

Although shedding weight can help restore some lost taste sensation, it might not bring it back completely. “Taste is like any other system and may become dulled with overuse,” explains John Morton, MD, lead author of the Stanford study. “What we really need is to appreciate our food more.”

Trick your appetite!

As anyone who has ever stuffed herself at dinner but still had room for dessert knows, the stomach works in mysterious ways. This tendency to feel too full for one thing on your plate but not another impacts all kinds of tasters, says Barbara Rolls, PhD, professor of nutritional sciences at Pennsylvania State University and author of The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet. “It’s called sensory-specific satiety,” she explains, “and it happens when you eat one type of food to the point where you don’t want any more, yet you can still be hungry for foods with other flavors, textures and smells.”

Sensory-specific satiety can actually be a valuable weight-management tool. In fact, it’s the basis behind one-note eating plans (like the grapefruit diet), which take the idea to the extreme. “People who limit their diets while trying to lose weight are more successful,” says Kristen Kizer, RD, a dietitian at Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas. “Our human tendency is to sample as much as possible, so if you have a whole buffet of options, you’re more likely to overeat.”

Read more: Filling Foods to Help Lose Weight

Of course, restricting yourself to a single food is unhealthy, not to mention boring. So try these ways to rejigger your taste buds.

Cut back on processed foods. They often contain hidden additives, like salt in breakfast cereal or sugar in some tomato sauces and salad dressings, says David Katz, MD, founding director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. You may not consciously notice these flavors, but your individual taste receptors do—and they keep you craving more and more, Dr. Katz explains. Read labels on prepared foods, and cook from scratch when you can.

Have one cheat food. Instead of keeping five types of treats in your house, choose one you really enjoy and stock up on just that. You’ll be less tempted to go overboard.

Read more: Cheat-Proof Your Diet

Eat the same shade. At least when it comes to splurge foods. Research shows that people may chow down more when offered candies in a combo of colors instead of ones that are all one hue. (At last—a reason to munch only on green M&M’s.)

Cook with a dominant flavor. Rather than making a dinner that has a variety of notes, Dr. Katz advises, stick to a one-pot meal with one herb, spice or prevailing taste (like a Greek lamb shank and polenta dish accented with oregano). “You’ll want to stop eating earlier than if you were jumping back and forth among three or four side dishes that taste very different.” Bottom line: When you eat too much of one flavor profile, you grow tired of it.

Be present. “It’s more difficult to feel full when you’re not focused on your food,” Rolls says. Tap your senses to savor your meals. That could mean lingering in the kitchen while dinner simmers on the stove or giving your lemon rosemary chicken a big whiff before you dig in. And during mealtime, Rolls adds, “eliminate television and email so that you can concentrate on smelling, tasting and chewing. Enjoy the experience!” Take pleasure in your food and you’ll just know when to stop.

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

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