I absolutely love fruit. Always have. But lately scientific studies are giving me more reasons to reach for sweet, juicy oranges, kiwi, strawberries and pineapple (which I'm using in all types of recipes these days). These foods are packed with vitamin C, a nutrient that's important for our immune systems.
Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant-you know, the kind of compound that mops up harmful free radicals that have been associated with numerous chronic conditions, from heart disease to cancer. And it helps us to absorb iron-a nutrient that many woman fall short on-from plant foods.
But the most exciting news I've heard about this nutrient recently is that eating plenty of vitamin C may help ward off wrinkles. Sure, say what you want: finding this to be the most exciting health news is a little vain. But if obsessing about my skin results in my filling up on fresh fruit and fruit desserts, like Citrus-Infused Strawberries, isn't it, in the end, a good thing? I think so.
On a similar note, if worrying about my "bottom line" will help me kick my Chinese take-out habit (which really isn't doing my heart any favors) and cook low-calorie dishes like Lemon-Garlic Shrimp & Vegetables (226 calories per serving) and Kung Pao Tofu (197 calories per serving) at home more often, I'm going to consider that obsessing positive too. By the way, each of these dishes provides more than double the daily recommended dose for vitamin C. So thin, with beautiful skin, here I come!
By Nicci Micco
Nicci Micco is senior editor of features and nutrition at EatingWell. She has a master's degree in nutrition and food sciences, with a focus in weight management. She's addicted to ice cream and pizza. But she also can't imagine going a week without eating sweet potatoes, salad greens or kidney beans. Kale and beets also rank at the top of her favorite-foods list.