TIME Magazine recently published its list of the 50 healthiest foods we all should be eating. With the help of registered dietitian Tina Ruggerio, author of The Truly Healthy Family Cookbook and the folks at Cooking Light, they have provided not only why these foods are so healthy, but also offer simple recipes to make incorporating them into your diet easy peasy.
While most of the food items on the list won't surprise you (We all know eating more fruits and vegetables is important), there were 10 items that seemed a little unexpected. From sardines to household spices like cumin, there are some surprises on this list.
These tiny fish show that size doesn't matter when it comes packing a nutritional punch. They are a good source of calcium as well as improve blood flow and help with inflammation. One can of sardines is only 191 calories and has 22.7 grams of protein. Try Cooking Light's Fennel-Sardine Spaghetti recipe.
Another small fish, the anchovy, can be an acquired taste for some, but they are a great source of protein, vitamin B, calcium, iron and omega-3 fatty acids. Even better, they are low in mercury. Only two drained and minced anchovy fillets are required for Cooking Light's Spicy Anchovy Broccoli.
Kefir is a fermented milk drink that has actually been shown to improve lactose intolerance and to fight cavities. It is chock full of good microbes. Simply add to a smoothie instead of milk or yogurt.
This red tea can help protect you from chronic and degenerative diseases and is a great source of calcium and iron. Other plus points? No calories and easy to make. Just add to hot water.
Apparently the phrase "spicing up your life" should refer not only to your sex life, but to actual spices as well. This orange color spice derived from the root of the Curcuma longa plant can help your body fight viruses and inflammation. Some research also points to its ability to prevent Alzheimer's and cancer as well. Just one teaspoon in a dish like an Omelet with Turmeric, Tomato, and Onions by Cooking Light can make a positive impact in your health.
It definitely might surprise you to know that a common kitchen spice like Cumin can improve your heart health as well as fight infection. According to TIME, you get twice as many antioxidants in a one-half teaspoon of ground cumin than in a carrot. Lightly sprinkle salmon fillets with cumin and other mixtures for this heart healthy recipe by Cooking Light: Cumin-Dusted Salmon Fillets.
The tuna, especially canned tuna, tends to be an underrated compared to the glitzy salmon, but our budgets might not always be able to afford a salmon fillet so it is nice to know that a tuna fish sandwich can also help boost our brain health and reduce our risk of cardiovascular disease. Just remember that there is the risk of mercury poisoning so be careful how much of it you eat on a weekly basis. Pregnant women, breast-feeding women and young children have to be especially careful. This week make a simple tuna fish sandwich or add Cooking Light's Arugula, Italian Tuna, and White Bean Salad to your menu.
Whatever your stance on marijuana, the cannabis sativa plant has other uses. Its hemp seeds are a good source of protein and will provide you with all nine essential amino acids as well as vitamin E. If you like pine nuts, you'll love the taste. A simple way to add hemp seeds into your diet is to add a handful to a smoothie or your morning oatmeal; you can even sprinkle some on your salad.
People tend to either love or hate these fungi, but what can't be denied is that they are the highest vegan source of vitamin D. Eating mushrooms can also help you fight cancer, and contains riboflavin which is important for the body's ability to detox. Don't like eating mushrooms raw? Cooking Light has a Penne with Sage and Mushroom recipe that you might find more appealing.
Besides fighting off vampire and over amorous kissers, garlic also is very good for our health. Improve your immunity and protect your joints by adding garlic to your diet. Garlic-and-Herb Oven Fried Halibut by Cooking Light requires only 1 large garlic clove.
Were you surprised by any of the other items on TIME's list?