Top 20 healthy things to eat

By Judith Wills

Eating right not only fights ageing - but can also protect you against diseases associated with age. These 20 foods should be part of your regular diet.

BlueberriesBlueberries are high in antioxidants

Apples are rich in two plant compounds called catechins, and in quercetin. All help to prevent strokes, heart disease and cancer.

Quercetin has also been shown to improve the firmness of collagen, which helps the skin to keep its elasticity. Apples are also rich in the soluble fibre pectin, which helps to lower blood cholesterol.

Lastly, the flesh of apples contains the mineral boron, which helps to prevent calcium loss and provides some protection against osteoporosis.


Avocados contain an amino acid called glutathione, which strengthens your defences against heart disease and cancer. They are also rich in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant important for good skin condition and wound healing.

Avocados are also a good source of monounsaturated fat, which is linked to lower risk of heart disease.


Whole-grain barley - or "pot barley" - and other whole grains, such as rye and oats, contain phytic acid which has been shown to inhibit the growth of cancers. Barley is particularly rich in chemicals called protease inhibitors, which also have properties that combat cancer, including breast and bowel cancer.

Whole grains are also high in fibre, which helps to keep the digestive and circulatory systems healthy.


Blackcurrants are one of the richest natural sources of vitamin C, at around 130mg per 100g when stewed. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant which helps keep the immune system healthy, keeps the skin in good condition and helps wounds and fractures to heal. High levels of vitamin C are linked with the lowest risk of heart disease.

Blackcurrants also contain other implant compounds such as lutein (see Broccoli) and anthocyanins (see Blueberries), and the oil from their seeds has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, relieving arthritic pain. Vitamin C from foods may offer more protection than supplements.


Discovered in recent tests to be the most powerful antioxidants of all, blueberries have the strongest potential to prevent the diseases of old age. It has been found that 100g a day can stimulate the growth of new brain cells and may help prevent memory loss.

Blueberries are also rich in a plant chemical group called anthocyanins, which help oxygenate the skin and keep it looking young. Many other red, purple and blue berries have similar properties.


Broccoli is high in antioxidant carotenoids, vitamin C and indoles, which help fight lung, breast and colon cancers. It is rich in lipoic acid, a fatty acid linked with increased brain power and energy.

As well as high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, which help keep vision healthy, it's the best vegetable source of vitamin E which is linked with protection against Alzheimer's disease. It is rich in fibre, and a natural source of chromium, which helps to regulate blood sugars.

Read on to learn more about the top healthy foods

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.


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  • june hall

    Posted: Thursday 18 April 2013

    An excellent magazine with useful advice for everyone, and worth reading all the way through!

  • ken tootell

    Posted: Saturday 10 December 2011

    5 star info

  • myles Sullivn

    Posted: Saturday 12 November 2011

    Excellent article. Well all your articles are excellent , I look forward to saga every . month. I have learned a lot from it


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Diet and wellbeing blog

Judith Wills has been one of the UK’s best-known experts on diet, nutrition and health for 25 years and is the author of over 30 books. However, she describes her own body as ‘the result of years of healthy lifestyle triumphs and disasters in equal measure’. Follow her progress as she gets back into shape.

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