PARMESAN CHEESE strengthens bones
Calcium is key for preventing osteoporosis (especially in your 20s). Yogurt and nonfat milk help, but who wants them three times a day? Work Parmesan cheese into your diet; its 340 mg of calcium per ounce – compared to about 200 mg in cheddar or Swiss – goes a long way toward your 1000 mg/day quota.
APPLES boost immunity
Smart and sweet, apples are rich in quercetin, an antioxidant that can bolster your body’s disease-fighting abilities. In one study from Appalachian State University, just 5 percent of people who ate more quercetin came down with a respiratory infection over a two-week period, compared to 45 percent of those who didn’t.
LENTILS build your iron stores
Low-calorie lentils pack about 30 percent of your daily iron per cup cooked. About 12 percent of young women have low iron stores – at the extreme, that leads to anemia. But one study found that even women who were iron deficient (not anemic) had poorer performances on skill tests than those with normal levels.
BROCCOLI fights wrinkles
“A cup of broccoli has 100 percent of your vitamin C—crucial for production of collagen, which gives skin elasticity,” says Tammy Lakatos Shames, R.D. It’s also rich in beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A. This vitamin assists in cell turnover, so old skin cells are replaced with fresh (read: younger-looking) ones.