What is the secret to a long and healthy life? It is in the food that we eat. Unfortunately, all foods are not created equal. Choosing and eating the right foods may help increase your life expectancy as well as the quality of your life.

Nutritionists and medical professionals agree, these top eight power food are what you need for good health.

1. Allium foods – This group helps you keep your blood pressure low and wards off blood clots. The allium group includes onions, garlic, shallots and leeks.

2. Fruit – Fruits are filled with antioxidants such as Vitamin C and A. Antioxidants fight free radical damage in the body and reduce the risk of cancer. Berries such as blueberries and grapes have the highest amount of antioxidants. But choose an array of fruits in a wide variety of colors for maximum health. The antioxidants in fruit boost the immune system to fight the effects of aging in the body.

3. Beans – Beans sometimes have a bad reputation more for their immediate effect than their long term benefits but this plant protein contains hardly any fat or calories while being high in fiber. If one kind disagrees with you, try another because they often have widely different effects on your body.

4. Oatmeal – Oatmeal is coming into popularity as a food that lowers blood cholesterol. You can make it yourself with rolled oats or eat the instant kind if you are in a hurry. Oatmeal is a filling grain that also provides much needed fiber to keep hunger at bay and your blood sugar constant.

5. Yogurt – Yogurt contains live bacteria that keeps your digestion running strong. Great for getting your daily supply of vitamin B and calcium.

6. Salmon – Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids reduces the risk of heart disease and other conditions like atherosclerosis. Wild salmon is a fatty fish but it contains good fats that has been proven to improve health in children and adults. Salmon is rich in protein which is of great use after an exercise session to build muscle tissue.

7. Peppers – Peppers are high in capsaicin, a powerful anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. Peppers are also a great source of vitamin C.

8. Nuts and seeds – Nuts are high in fat but those fats are the good kind. Peanuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, flax seeds, walnuts and pistachios are all providers of good fats and protein. Crush them into a fine powder and use as a coating instead of higher carb bread crumbs. Nuts help to lower cholesterol. Eat them right out of the shell with no additives.

Start getting these eight foods into your diet and you can be sure you’re building a healthy body. It all begins with what you eat.

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