Power Foods: What's on Your Plate?

By Mark Ramos

You are what you eat, and it really does make a difference in your health and overall appearance if you fill up your plate with healthy foods that pack a powerful punch. Some of the best foods to eat may surprise you, and they may already be favorites and staples in your regular diet!

Tomatoes

Eating more tomatoes in your salad at lunch will naturally boost the health of your skin. In a recent study, people who ate 5 tablespoons of high lycopene tomato paste each day for three months had a 25% higher protection against sunburn. In addition, their skin had a higher collagen content, which is necessary to keep your complexion firm and free from wrinkles. Higher levels of lycopene in the skin provide antioxidant benefits to reduce the risk of deep wrinkles and fine lines so that you will look younger!

Coffee

There have been rumors that coffee is bad for you, but recent research has shown that is far from the truth. Coffee is a perfect source of daily antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, especially since it is consumed in excess by coffee drinkers in the US. Research has proved that drinking coffee will not cause heart disease or cancer, and if you have good health, it will also lower the risk of cirrhosis of the liver, developing type II diabetes, and boost your athletic performance. Still, it is necessary to monitor your caffeine intake if you have high blood pressure, suffer from anxiety, or are pregnant, but overall, physicians recommend to drink up to 3 cups of coffee each day. Thank goodness!

Honey

Including dark honey, like blueberry or buckwheat, within your diet will give you the antioxidants you need to fight aging, according to researchers from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. They studied more than 19 varieties of honey to find that its antioxidant content neutralizes free radical damage within the body to prevent cognitive decline, heart disease, macular degeneration, and cancer. Honey has a powerful flavor, so use a little in your oatmeal, plain yogurt, or tea instead of granulated sugar.

Dark Chocolate

This is exciting news for many chocolate lovers because dark chocolate that contains over 70% cocoa has a number of healthy antioxidants and polyphenols. One square of dark chocolate has twice as many antioxidants as a glass of red wine and almost as much as a cup of green tea that is steeped properly. These antioxidant molecules will prevent the growth of cancer cells in the body and limit any blood vessels that feed on them. It is best to enjoy 1/5 of a dark chocolate bar each day without any guilt. However, milk chocolate is not a good substitute because dairy neutralizes the cancer protection of the polyphenols within the chocolate.

Next time that you prepare a meal, keep these powerful healthy foods in mind to improve your quality of life and benefit your health. Here's to a more youthful you!

Article by Mark Ramos
Mark Ramos is a coffee fanatic and owns The Coffee Bump. For a great selection in all things coffee and espresso machines, check out www.thecoffeebump.com

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