Five Healthy "It" Foods

Here's a beauty trend we can get behind: Americans are upping their intake of these good-for-you foods.

| September 28th, 2011
5 Healthy "It" Foods

Good news, USA! Americans are adding more beautiful foods to their diets.

The American Dietetic Association just issued their 2011 Trend Report, and it looks like some of us are finally listening to the pleas of nutritionists across the land. “We are seeing single foods, such as berries and fish, growing in consumption,” says registered dietitian and American Dietetic Association Spokesperson Jeannie Gazzaniga-Moloo. “For many people, they are an easy fix for better health—consumers feel better if they are doing something without really having to engage in major behavior changes or delving into emotional reasons for eating.”

QUIZ: Are you eating pretty?

And let’s face it, small, incremental improvements, not major overhauls, can be the difference between failing and succeeding.

According to their survey, a substantial amount of Americans cut back on those U.S. staples, beef, pork and dairy. “Cutbacks on pork, beef and dairy may reflect movement toward lower overall consumption of saturated fat; however, cutting back particularly on dairy can also reduce people’s intake of calcium and vitamin D,” noted Gazzaniga-Moloo. Good to know, good to know.

What else? People claimed they've increased their consumption of berries, low-fat foods, omega-3 fatty acids, low-sugar foods, and low-sodium foods, which is totally great news. Here’s why you should keep up the good work:

MORE: Where to get more omega-3

Berries: It’s fairly common knowledge at this point that berries contain antioxidants, which help fight free radicals, resulting in major anti-aging benefits. Blackberries in particular, "have consistently received high ORAC scores [these scores measure total antioxidant absorbance capacity] year after year, and they act as an anti-inflammatory for your skin, keeping it youthful and radiant," explains Kristin Kirkpatrick, R.D., YouBeauty Nutrition Expert and wellness manager at the Cleveland Clinic.

Besides lending your skin a gorgeous glow, they’re good for your brain too. A recent study linked the consumption of berries to the prevention of memory loss and other forms of mental decline.

Low-fat foods: Whole grains, fruits and vegetables are all naturally low in fat, and eating them is key when it comes to preventing a host of health problems related to cholesterol, heart disease, and other side effects of a high fat diet. (Such foods have even been linked to cancer prevention.) That said, not all low-fat foods are created equal. When it seems too good to be true—such as when the label is printed on a box of cookies or potato chips—steer clear. In fact, the F.D.A. has been scrambling to review products that feature these (usually) misleading labels.

MORE: Why low-fat foods can cause you to gain weight

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