(This article previously appeared on Grandparents.com.)
1. Sardines — The Healthiest Food You’re (Probably) Not Eating
There are a plenty of fish in the sea, but not all of them pack as much of a nutritional punch as the tiny sardine. Although small in size, sardines are packed to the gills (literally) with essential vitamins and minerals that sharpen the mind, keep the heart healthy and bring your energy up, up, up! Plus, their bones are easy to digest, which makes these scaly superstars one of the most calcium-rich, non-dairy foods out there.
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2. Canned Pumpkin — Best Food for Weight Loss
Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater may have been on to something. Pumpkin is more than just a delicious pie filling. It’s low in calories (only 80 per cup) and high in dietary fiber with a side of protein to boot, which means it’s a great tool for weight loss. What’s more, pumpkin is also a nutritional powerhouse that’s chock full of beta-carotene — key for healthy eyes and a strong immune system.
3. Peanuts — Most Underrated Health Food
Almonds and walnuts may be the hippest nuts on the block, but the peanut deserves some respect. This lowly legume contains just as many heart-healthy fats as its tree-hugging brethren and boasts more protein than any other nut. What’s more, the peanut has one of the highest concentrations of biotin, which may help boost keratin production to strengthen hair and nails.
4. Oysters — Best Food for Beauty
Sure, they’re slimy and can be moderately dubious if you don’t get them from a trusted source. But the high zinc content in oysters may help keep hair full, nails strong and skin clear.
5. Seaweed — Best Food for a Good Night’s Sleep
Just because Thanksgiving turkey feast only happens once a year, that doesn’t mean you can’t sleep like a baby every night. Next to turkey, seaweed has one of the highest levels of the amino acid tryptophan. What’s more, it contains high levels of iodine, which helps keeps the thyroid functioning properly and hormones in check.
6. Blackcurrants — Best Food to Beat Disease
Move over blueberries. Blackcurrants have the highest levels of the disease-fighting antioxidant anthocyanin (the pigment that makes berries dark blue and red) compared to any other fruit. What’s more, this unassuming berry contains more than three times the amount of vitamin C found in oranges, making it an immunity-boosting powerhouse.
7. Teff — The Healthiest Food You’ve Never Heard Of
This smallest, ancient grain (teff seeds were found in a pyramid dating to 3359 BC) proves that big things do come in small packages. With as much calcium as cooked spinach, high levels of vitamin C and a new kind of dietary fiber that helps maintain blood sugar and healthy weight, teff is poised to be the next superfood.
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