8 Foods for a Healthier You
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6. Get in the Swim with Salmon.
Salmon has more omega-3 fatty acids than any other type of fish, and that's good news for your skin health. "Omega-3 fats reduce inflammation in the body, which then can provide relief from itchy, dry skin as well as for conditions such as psoriasis and eczema," says dermatologist Nicholas Perricone, M.D., author of The Perricone Prescription.
Omega-3 may help keep you feeling happy, too. Studies of people in more than 10 countries (including one on 3,000 adults in Finland) showed that people who consumed greater amounts of omega-3-rich fish experienced lower rates of depression than those who had less fish in their diets. Now nutrition experts everywhere are extolling omega-3's mood-enhancing benefits. Not in love with salmon? That's okay, there are other fatty fish in the sea.
Try albacore tuna, mackerel, herring, sardines or sablefish. Aim for two 4-ounce servings a week. And don't limit your fish to dinner only. Salmon burgers make a great lunch and, for the adventurous, a healthy Japanese breakfast of salmon and green tea is delicious and also loaded with antioxidants.
7. Be Berry Good to Yourself.
Sweet and juicy, these small fruits are packed with two types of antioxidants: anthocyanins and polyphenols, both of which are powerful inflammation fighters.
"Eating berries helps protect the tissues in the body from injury by neutralizing the effects of free radicals before they do damage," says Gary Stoner, Ph.D., chairman of environmental health at Ohio State University, in Columbus. Strawberries and raspberries are also a great-tasting source of insoluble fiber, which helps keep your digestive system running smoothly and prevents constipation.
Dr. Stoner recommends both fresh and frozen berries. Aim for at least one daily serving (half a cup). Naturally sweet, half a cup of berries contains less than 50 calories.
8. Stay Awash in Water.
Our bodies are chiefly composed of water -- you're carrying around about 10 gallons inside you right now -- and you need plenty of it to keep things running smoothly.
"Water's first jobs are to regulate your body's internal temperature, such as by sweating when you get overheated, and to flush toxins out of the system," says Edward L. Schneider, M.D., dean of the Andrus Gerontology Center at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and author of AgeLess -- Take Control of Your Age and Stay Youthful for Life. "Water plumps up your skin so wrinkles aren't as noticeable, expands fiber in your digestive system so it can do its job, and helps keep you feeling full so you may be less likely to overeat."
Constipation is the most common gastrointestinal complaint in the U.S., according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and it can make you feel bloated, uncomfortable and sluggish. Drinking more water (especially when combined with more fiber) can speed things up and provide quick relief. So, how much is enough? Even though there are many proponents of eight daily glasses of water, scientific evidence is lacking to support this recommendation.
A better idea is to drink water throughout the day and increase the amount when you exercise and when the weather is warm. A good rule: If you feel thirsty, drink up.