Healthy foods you've probably never eaten and why you should

Sep 22, 2010 at 11:04 a.m. ET

If you're like most women, your weekly grocery list doesn't waver much. You have a regular round of recipes and dishes you and your family enjoys. And, while sticking with standard ingredients makes grocery shopping easier, trying new foods adds variety both in flavor and nutrition. This week, break out of your routine and add one or two of these foods to your meals. You may discover a couple of new favorites—and be healthier for it.


If you're cutting back on meat to limit saturated fats, you also may be concerned about eating too much mercury-laden fish. So it's helpful to have a substitute vegetarian protein source in reserve. Made from cooked soybeans and formed into a patty, tempeh appears similar to a firm veggie burger. Some brands add grains and spices for extra flavor. Its nutty flavor makes it more appealing than tofu to many people, yet it's also high in protein, calcium, and isoflavones, which may help reduce the risk of breast cancer. Try it diced into cubes in stir frys, soups, or chili as a meat substitute.

2Kiwi fruitKiwi fruit

What's fuzzy on the outside, green on the inside and tastes like a cross between a banana, a pineapple, and a strawberry? It may sound like part of a joke, but the kiwi fruit only looks funny. Named after a New Zealand bird of the same name, kiwis contain good amounts of vitamins C and E, both of which help boost immunity and fight free radicals. Try them sliced into fruit salads, cut in half and scooped out for a snack, or whirled into smoothies.

3Flax seedsFlax seeds

Sometimes good things really do come in small packages. Take flax seeds, for example. A mere tablespoon of the flaxseeds contains fiber as well as lignans, which have been shown to reduce the rate of certain hormone related cancers, particularly breast cancer. Chock-full of omega-3 fatty acids, flax seeds also help keep inflammation at bay. Sprinkle them on salads and cereal or yogurt.


This dark purple, egg-shaped fruit contains a juicy, sweet and tart pulp and edible seeds. The pulp provides fiber, immune boosting antioxidants, and plant sterols, which help reduce cholesterol. Scoop out the flesh from the rind and add it to your morning smoothie or toss into a fruit salad.

5Swiss chard

Swiss Chard

You've probably noticed this colorful, leafy green next to the fresh spinach in the produce section. Its shiny, bright green leaves and colorful white, red, and yellow stems make them hard to miss. More than a just a pretty face, Swiss chard (or simply chard) contains cancer fighting phyotonutrients and a powerful antioxidant called lutein. Lutein plays a role in preventing age-related macular degeneration. Young leaves can be tossed into salads; older leaves work best sautéed.

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