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Healthy Food for a Healthy Life

Ways to eat better so you can live better

Stocking your kitchen with foods that promote health is essential to changing your environment. Pack your pantry and refrigerator with plant-based proteins, a wide variety of vegetables and fruits, and high-fiber grains.

Sample a few new items from this list each week, and your pantry will be full of healthy foods before you know it.

See also: 7 Pain-fighting foods.

Plant-based Proteins

In the Blue Zones, people get most of their protein from plant sources. Animal protein is only consumed on special occasions or as a side dish. Load your diet with the following muscle-building proteins that are also good for your heart:

  • Beans such as garbanzo (chickpeas), navy, black, and pinto
  • Lentils
  • Soy (tofu)
  • Sweet peas
  • Edamame (soy beans)
  • Green Beans

The Orange Fruits

Oranges, grapefruit, and clementines are high in vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants are very important in our diets because they help “clean up” particles that lead to cell damage.

The Other Orange Foods

Deep orange foods are packed with beta-carotene, which may help strengthen the immune system and protect us from cancer. Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A in our bodies and helps repair and maintain skin and eye tissue.

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Pumpkin and other orange squashes
  • Apricots
  • Peaches
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes (contain lycopene)
  • Red and orange peppers

Grapes and Berries

Grapes and berries contain powerhouse nutrients that help protect our brains from inflammation and oxidative stress, help maintain the elasticity of our blood vessels, and may reduce our risk of cancer and heart disease.

  • Grapes
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Cranberries

Next: Two more foods for better health. >>

Dark Green Foods

Dark green, leafy and cruciferous vegetables are believed to be some of the most potent cancerpreventing foods that we can eat. They also contain lutein, which is believed to help reduce the risk of macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in adults.

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Other cruciferous veggies like: kale, Swiss chard, cauliflower


Most Americans only eat about half as much fiber as they should to be healthy. In addition to helping prevent bowel problems, a high-fiber diet can also help protect against high-serum cholesterol levels and heart disease. Eat plenty of:

  • Oats and oatmeal
  • Brown rice and quinoa
  • Whole grain breads and cereals
  • Whole grain corn tortillas
  • Whole grain pasta


Nuts, particularly walnuts, almonds, and pistachios, are good sources of protein, vitamin E, and magnesium.


All types of tea — green, black, and white — are good for us. Teas contain polyphenols (antioxidants), phytochemicals that may help protect against cancer.

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