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If you are looking to keep illnesses out of your house and stay healthy as you age you must take every precaution possible. Keeping your home clear of germs is important but stocking your kitchen with certain disease-fighting foods is essential to not only your every day health, but also for your health as you age. The next time you go grocery shopping consider this list of foods from WebMD that will keep your family healthy and free of pesky disease and illness.

 

Berries

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According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture study, blueberries are at the top of the list of antioxidant-rich fruits, followed by cranberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries. The colour in berries comes from the pigment anthocyanin, an antioxidant that helps neutralize cell-damaging molecules that can lead to chronic diseases, including cancer and heart disease. Cranberries are also good to fight off urinary tract infections.

 

Dairy

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Dairy foods are a great source of calcium and also give you protein, vitamins and minerals, which help fight osteoporosis. It's recommended that you have three daily servings of low-fat dairy products to help keep your bones strong. If you can't tolerate dairy, try other calcium-containing foods such as dark green leafy vegetables (kale, broccoli) and calcium-fortified soy products, juices and grains. Dairy foods are considered perfect snacks for diabetics because they help maintain blood sugar levels. Try making a smoothie with low-fat milk or yogurt, some orange juice and berries for a healthy meal substitute or snack.

 

Fatty Fish

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Omega-3 fatty acids are rich in fish such as salmon and tuna and help lower blood fats and prevent blood clots associated with heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of fish as least twice a week.

 

Dark, Leafy Greens

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These vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, beta-carotene, vitamin C, folate, iron, magnesium, carotenoids, phytochemicals and antioxidants. A Harvard study found that eating magnesium-rich foods, such as spinach, can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

 

Whole Grains

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Whole grains contain folic acid, selenium and B vitamins that are important to heart health, weight control and reducing the risk of diabetes. The fibre content will help keep you feeling full between meals and is beneficial to your digestive health. It's recommended that you have at least three servings a day of whole grains such as whole wheat, barley, rye, quinoa, brown rice, whole-grain pasta, breads and cereals.

 

Sweet Potatoes

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These potatoes are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins C and E, folate, calcium, iron and potassium. The antioxidants will help prevent heart disease and cancer and the fibre will help promote a healthy digestive tract.

 

Tomatoes

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Tomatoes not only have a lot of flavor but also lycopene – an antioxidant that may help protect against some cancers. They also come with an abundance of vitamins A and C, potassium and phytochemicals. You can eat them raw or cooked as part of any meal or snack. Try cutting a tomato in half and loading it with spinach and grated cheese for a tasty side dish.

 

Beans and Legumes

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These are loaded with phytochemicals and are fat free and high in protein, folic acid, fibre, iron, magnesium and some calcium. Eating them regularly can help reduce the risk of certain cancers, lower blood cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar. Beans can also help in weight control because they fill you up with less calories.

 

Nuts

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Nuts are full of healthy fats, which can help lower cholesterol levels and prevent heart disease. They are also a good source of protein, fibre, selenium, vitamin E and vitamin A. But be careful and don't overdo it since nuts pack plenty of calories. Try to limit yourself to an ounce a day.

 

Eggs

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Packed with high-quality protein, eggs are one of the best sources of dietary choline, an important nutrient, especially for pregnant women. Eggs have also been shown to give you nutrients that help in your eye health and help to prevent age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in older people.