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Just the Facts

The 10 Best Foods You Probably Aren't Eating

From the Nutrition Services Department at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

These healthy foods are packed with vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants. They're also easy to find in most grocery stores, so make sure they find their way into your shopping cart. In some cases, frozen vegetables may be just as or more nutritious than fresh.

  1. Beets - Beets are healthy like spinach only red. They're chock full of folate and natural red pigments that may help protect against cancer. Heating beets decreases their antioxidant power, so stick to raw beets and grate them to make a beet salad.
  2. Cabbage - Cabbage is packed with nutrients like sulforaphan, a chemical said to boost cancer-fighting enzymes. Put cabbage on top of sandwiches or burgers for a crunchy topping or chop it up and mix with carrots, vinegar, a little sesame oil and soy sauce for an Asian slaw.
  3. Swiss Chard - This leafy green vegetable is similar to spinach and loaded with carotenoids that help protect our eyesight as we age. Chop and sauté with minced garlic and olive oil.
  4. Cinnamon - Preliminary studies show cinnamon may help control blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Studies have shown that one teaspoon of this spice can help reduce these levels.
  5. Pomegranate Juice - Full of antioxidants and phytochemicals shown to benefit the heart and blood vessels, pomegranate juice may help lower blood pressure. But go easy on the amount that you drink - just eight ounces of this juice has 160 calories.
  6. Dried Plums - Your grandmother used to call them prunes, now they're known as dried plums. Either way, they're packed with antioxidants and make a great low calorie, sweet treat. Eat them plain or stew them with sliced pears and mandarin orange sections for a tasty compote.
  7. Chia seeds - The seeds are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, even more than flax seeds. One ounce contains 140 calories and 20% of your daily value for calcium. They are a good source of soluble fiber and may help better control both cholesterol and blood glucose levels. Sprinkle them in yogurt or salads or add to bread or muffin batters.
  8. Sardines - These little fish in a can are loaded with calcium and high in Omega-3 fatty acids, good for heart health. They're also full of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and B vitamins. Pick sardines packed in olive oil and eat them plain, mix with a salad, or mash them with Dijon mustard and onions and use as a spread.
  9. Turmeric - Some call it a super spice because of its anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Add turmeric to any recipe containing curry such as curried cauliflower or a lentil-based dal (Indian soup) to increase the health benefits of the dish.
  10. Canned Pumpkin - A low-calorie, high-fiber food filled with immune boosting vitamin A, canned pumpkin can fill you up with very few calories. Mix with cinnamon and nutmeg and enjoy.