We all want to live longer, to spend more years laughing, learning, and above all, eating. Luckily, the act of eating itself can have a huge impact on your overall health. Here are five foods that taste as good as they’ll make you feel.

1. Fish

Fish is the first on this list for a reason. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish provide the elusive “good fats” a body needs. Eating fish twice a week and keeping those omega levels high can make you live over two years longer than average, according to Harvard researchers. The researchers also found regularly eating fish lowers the risk of strokes and accounts for a 35% decrease in the odds of dying from heart disease.

The fattier the fish is, the higher your omega-3 levels will be. That includes salmon, sardines, and tuna. Any type of fish will be naturally rich in vitamin D, protein, and B12, but you can switch up your catch of the day depending on the benefits that you’re looking for. Shellfish, for example, have a variety of beneficial side effects. Mussels have selenium and iodine, and mussels are packed with copper.

Salmon is extremely high in Omega-3 fatty acids. DHA and EPA, the types of Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, do a particularly good job of helping to reduce inflammation, as they help protect the integrity of cell membranes and regulate a wide range of bodily functions like blood pressure, blood clotting, and proper functioning of the brain and nervous system. Less important, but still beneficial, are the cosmetic perks. Omega-3 is also great for hair and skin, reducing wrinkles and adding shine.

2. Green Tea

Since ancient times, green tea has been a base element in every white-bearded philosopher’s diet. It’s no wonder why; not only is the drink delicious hot or cold, it’s also packed with everything you want for your body. It contains multiple types of antioxidants, which do everything from reducing free radicals to fighting inflammation. It’s been linked to a 22% reduction in the risk of breast cancer, as well as a 48% reduction in the risk of prostate cancer.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you look at the ingredients of any weight loss supplement, you’ll see that green tea is often listed as a fat burner, due to its impact on the metabolism. It’s a healthy way to start the day, or enjoy alongside a Munchery dinner that pays tribute to your favorite Asian flavors. It’s less caffeinated than coffee, but still offers enough caffeine to turn fatty acids into energy and improve your neurons’ transmission of dopamine — the pleasure-seeking neurotransmitter. It may even reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Basically, if you don’t want it, you’d better drink tea to prevent it.

3. Berries

Not only are berries a beautiful way to add color and flavor to your favorite desserts and salads, but they’re also powerful little pills to help you on your health journey.

Blueberries, for example, are good for a whole lot more than simply punching up your pancake recipe. They possess one of the highest levels of antioxidants per serving of any food, with their trademark color coming from a high amount of anthocyanidins, which help fight the damage of free radicals on a cellular level. They also reduce the risk of developing cellular diseases, such as heart disease, glaucoma, and ulcers. Acai berries, the new kids on the superfood block, are energy-boosting essentials that lower cholesterol and aid in heart health thanks to their abundance of antibiotics. Strawberries are another heart-booster, with vitamins, potassium, and antioxidants that help reduce degeneration of the eyes. Even blackberries lower cholesterol and fight chronic disease with vitamin C, E, and pectin fiber. So no matter which berry you choose, you’re bound to improve your health deliciously.

4. Nuts and Seeds

Fiber. Vitamins. Antioxidants. Healthy fats. Nuts and seeds have ‘em all. So that tasty trail mix of yours may lead to a reduced mortality risk and improved longevity — not bad! Depending on your choice of nut, the benefits can be applied to any area of your life. Eating almonds as a snack has been proven to help people unconsciously cut down on junk food, cashews can lower your cholesterol, and walnuts help cut your chances of cancer. Check out raw vegan food bloggers — the ultimate in health “nuts”, these YouTubers utilize raw nuts in place of almost everything. Luckily, you don’t need to follow their recipes and cut out all your favorite foods to benefit from these ingredients. You can simply try any number of Munchery dishes — from peanut-studded pad thai to macadamia nut cookie treats.

5. Dark Chocolate

Speaking of treats that taste good and are great for you, too, dark chocolate is a secret superfood that you can enjoy in the bath! Its flavanols help the arteries to produce nitric oxide, which reduces blood pressure, and might contribute to the wonderful feeling that true chocoholics know and love. It also may improve your brain function, so when you’re done with your bath and dessert, you can improve blood flow to the brain and stimulate your cognitive function. Who knew the chocolate was brain food?

Perhaps most surprising, dark chocolate can help protect your skin from the sun. Don’t leave your sunscreen out completely, but do enjoy a square of dark chocolate during the summer to help you enjoy the sun safely.

Posted by Lauren Freeman

Lauren Freeman is Munchery's content marketing manager and senior copywriter.

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