Reader's Digest US
Heart Disease Image Credit: Reader's Digest US
Heart Disease Image Credit: Reader's Digest US

20 Proven Foods To Heal

Many Americans suffer from chronic conditions linked to their diets. These nutritional powerhouses can make you healthier with every bite.

Dawn Yanek

Looking for a health superhero? Head to the grocery store. Some foods have the power to fight diabetes, heart disease, or cancer—in other words, they can literally save your life. That’s not an exaggeration. A large study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that people of any age who started including healthy foods in their diets improved their chances of living longer. Replacing one serving of red or processed meat a day with one serving of nuts or legumes, for instance, was linked to an 8–17 percent reduced risk of premature death.

But how do you choose the best options for you? We talked to health experts and asked them a tough question: What one nutrient-packed food would you like people to add to their diets? Here are their picks, along with some of the health issues each one may help prevent or treat.


Heals: Heart disease

• High cholesterol

• Cancer

• Low energy

• Constipation

• Anemia

• Weight gain

• Diabetes


1 “NUTS ARE A GREAT SOURCE of heart-healthy fats, along with some protein. Depending on the nut, you’ll also have some fiber, calcium, or magnesium. Almonds, for example, have 75 milligrams of calcium in a 1-ounce serving. Walnuts are high in antioxidants, which can help prevent certain cancers.

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