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4 Super Foods We Love

What's on your table during National Nutrition Month?

BHM Edit Staff | 3/19/2014, 6 a.m.
Low in calories and sugar, tomatoes are a mainstay on our super foods we love list. depositphotos

Though the American Heart Association doesn’t believe in the term “super foods,” some foods are rich in nutrients and are, as my grandfather used to say, just plum good for you.

While we’re not suggesting you focus on any one food as the end all-be all to good health (your overall diet should include a wide variety of healthy, nutrient-dense foods), we’re giving a nod to these super foods for National Nutrition Month:

Tomatoes are high in heart-healthy potassium. Plus, this fruit that acts like a vegetable is a good source of the antioxidant lycopene, a carotenoid that may help lower bad cholesterol, keep blood vessels open and reduce heart attack risk. One study even found that a diet rich in tomato products was linked to a 31 percent reduction in pancreatic cancer. Low in calories and sugar, you’d be wise to add them to an already-healthy diet.

Sweet potatoes are excellent sources of fiber, potassium, vitamin C, beta-carotene and folic acid. One baked sweet potato has more than three times the recommended daily amount of vitamin A, a key vitamin for your immune system and vision. They are a low-sodium, fat-free choice.

A global food staple, legumes (beans, lentils and peas) are a low-fat, high-protein addition to a healthy diet. Beans are great sources of soluble fiber, which helps lower bad cholesterol and reduce heart disease risk, and insoluble fiber, which helps keep digestive issues at bay. Packed with protein and rich in folic acid, copper, iron and magnesium, legumes help keep blood sugar levels in check and make you feel full longer (stopping the desire for unhealthy snacking!).

If you think we’re all screaming for berries these days, you’re right. Many berries are being recognized for their polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that have numerous health benefits. Strawberries and blueberries help protect against the risk of heart attack. Raspberries are loaded with fiber and contain eye-protecting lutein. The latest berry craze: lingonberries. Related to cranberries and blueberries, lingonberries are an excellent source of vitamins A, B and C, as well as calcium and magnesium, which maintain strong bones and a healthy blood pressure. They are also rich in the flavonoid quercetin, which has antihistamine properties that help relieve allergy symptoms.