grocery bag of foodBy Karen Ansel, RD
You don't have to hit a health food store to find foods that help you lose weight, boost your energy and stay healthy. They're right in your grocery aisle! Here are the top 12 superfoods you can easily find. Photo by Alison Gootee/Studio D; prop styling by Matthew
Nonfat Ricotta Cheese
Ricotta boasts three times the calcium of cottage cheese and is made from whey protein, a nutrient that may help you lose weight by preserving muscle (which you lose with age, causing your metabolism to slow).
This spread has more than 30 essential vitamins and minerals, including niacin, a B vitamin that helps you burn calories. PB's combo of healthy fats, fiber and a compound called resveratrol also make it good for your heart.
Related: Discover 8 foods that keep you full longer.
Wild Canned Salmon
One 3.5-oz can has 1,100 mg of brain- and heart-healthy omega-3 fats. Salmon is also a great source of bone-building vitamin D (78% of your daily needs per can).
A heart health must-have, oats are filled with a cholesterol-lowering fiber called beta-glucan as well as iron, a mineral that your body needs to carry oxygen to your muscles and other tissue. And with 4 g total fiber per half-cup, oatmeal helps you stay full longer-and keeps you regular too!
All colors of this vegetable are loaded with compounds that may help fight breast cancer. Cabbage is also a top source of bone-strengthening vitamin K.
Tomatoes are packed with vitamin C, which helps produce collagen, a protein that keeps skin firm, and lycopene, an antioxidant that protects your skin from the sun. Your body absorbs lycopene better from cooked tomatoes, making the canned option a great source.
Eating three or more servings of whole grains (such as whole-wheat pasta) each day can help reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Whole grains are diet-friendly too: One study found that women who ate more whole grains weighed less and had smaller waists than women who rarely ate them.
Related: Check out 9 bad habits that are actually good for you.
These red berries are bursting with vitamin C and antioxidants, which help your mind stay sharp. In fact, eating two or more servings of strawberries a week may delay cognitive decline by up to two and a half years, according to a recent Harvard University study.
With their creamy, rich flavor and texture and 65% of their fat coming from the heart-healthy monounsaturated kind, avocados (sliced or mashed) are an ingenious swap for butter, cream cheese or mayo on your morning toast or afternoon sandwich. They also serve up other nutrients that may help your heart, including fiber and potassium.
Ounce for ounce, sweet potatoes pack more vitamin A and beta-carotene than carrots and can help you peel off the pounds. A 4-oz sweet potato contains 4 g fiber, and you digest them more slowly than white potatoes so you're satiated for hours.
Move over, meat: Edamame (also known as soybeans) are one of the best plant sources of protein. One cup supplies all of the essential amino acids you need.
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Yes, it's the key ingredient in most candy bars, but unsweetened cocoa powder is a true health food. Cocoa contains flavanols, potent antioxidants that help lower blood pressure. Make sure the package says it's 100% cocoa.
Original article appeared on WomansDay.com.
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