5 foods that can and will improve your life

Image by Mai Truong/staff.
Image by Mai Truong/staff.
Image by modomatic under Creative Commons.

Image by modomatic under Creative Commons.

1. Garlic

Garlic is delicious on bread, in pasta and, to be completely frank, in most things, but did you know that garlic is good for you? Beyond being a great breath freshener, garlic also is known to help regulate blood pressure, and it is rich in vitamins A, B and C as well as zinc and calcium. Research by the National Academy of Sciences has found that garlic increases our natural supply of hydrogen sulfide — which, although poisonous in high concentrations, may actually be the key to understanding the claims that garlic contains various cancer-fighting compounds.

Image by Mai Truong/staff.

Image by Mai Truong/staff.

2. Tea

Other than coffee, tea is an excellent source of caffeine for the energy-starved college student. In particular, green tea has myriad health benefits, some of which were described in a Huffington Post article and include weight loss, decreasing blood pressure and fighting infection. So instead of always turning to coffee for your daily caffeine, try a cup of tea (not that coffee is bad for you — some studies show that it has its own health benefits), whether it is black, white or green. Just remember to enjoy whatever you are drinking.

Image by j_silla under Creative Commons.

Image by j_silla under Creative Commons.

3. Avocado

Avocados boast a rich source of fiber, potassium, vitamins E and B and folic acid, so eating avocados seems to be a no-brainer. Good fats do exist, and the avocado is a wonderful example of good monosaturated fat, which can help lower cholesterol instead of raising it. Not to mention you can even grow your very own avocado tree from the pit. For more complete information on avocados, you can check out www.californiaavocado.com.

Image by thepinkpeppercorn under Creative Commons.

Image by thepinkpeppercorn under Creative Commons.

4. Dark chocolate

Chocolate is so good that it shouldn’t be reserved only for special occasions, and it isn’t. Studies have shown that small amounts of dark chocolate can help lower blood pressure and that its antioxidants can help fend off diseases. However, this is no license to go binge on dark chocolate, so remember to exercise moderation. You can also use dark chocolate to help build a complexity of flavor in savory dishes such as chili.

Image by Stacy Spensley under Creative Commons.

Image by Stacy Spensley under Creative Commons.

5. Chia seeds

Yes, the seeds that grew on those clay heads, also known as Salvia hispanica, that used to be oh-so-­popular are now making their way into to your everyday diet. According to the USDA, an ounce of chia seeds contains four grams of protein, 11 grams of dietary fiber, and only 137 calories. Chia seeds are also a strong source of calcium. You can add them to smoothies, use them as a thickening agent in soups and sauces or sprinkle them on salads. Regardless of how you eat them, chia seeds are subtle in flavor and good for you, which makes them a great addition to everyone’s diet.