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Disease Fighting Food 8: Beans and Legumes

These nutritious nuggets are packed with phytochemicals; fat-free, high-quality protein; folic acid; fiber; iron; magnesium; and small amounts of calcium. Beans are an excellent and inexpensive protein source and a great alternative for low-calorie vegetarian meals.

Eating beans and legumes regularly as part of a healthy eating plan can help reduce the risk of certain cancers; lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels; and stabilize blood sugar. Beans also play an important role in weight management by filling you up with lots of bulk and few calories.

Think beans when making salads, soups, stews, or dips.

Disease Fighting Food 9: Nuts

Nuts are full of fats. But they're the healthy, mono- and polyunsaturated kind, which can help lower cholesterol levels and help prevent heart disease. In addition, nuts are a good source of protein, fiber, selenium, vitamin E, and vitamin A.

Small portions of nuts can boost energy and beat hunger, helping dieters stay on track. Still, nuts pack plenty of calories -- and it's easy to overeat these tasty treats.

So enjoy nuts, but be mindful of your portion size. Try to limit yourself to an ounce a day. That's about 28 peanuts, 14 walnut halves, or just 7 Brazil nuts.

Disease Fighting Food 10: Eggs

Their cholesterol content once led to bad press for the mighty egg, but research has redeemed it. It turns out that saturated fat (eggs have little) plays a bigger role than the cholesterol in food in elevating our blood cholesterol.

Eggs are packed with economical, high-quality protein, and are an excellent source of the carotenoids lutein, choline, and xeanthin. In fact, eggs are one of the best sources of dietary choline, an essential nutrient -- especially for pregnant women. Eggs have been shown to supply nutrients that promote eye health and help prevent age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in older people.

The American Heart Association has given eggs the thumbs-up for healthy people. As long as you limit your average daily cholesterol intake to 300 mg, you can enjoy an egg a day.

Eggs are adaptable to every meal. Enjoy eggs for a quick meal, or pack a hard-boiled egg for a tasty, high protein snack.

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