To maximize the disease-fighting potential of your diet, you need to do more than just eat your fruits and veggies. It’s crucial that your diet include a combination of specific foods to get the biggest nutritional boost.   

Nutrition expert Michael Greger, MD, FACLM, has pored through the evidence to identify the top foods—and the daily servings—you need.

Dr. Greger advises everyone to get a “Daily Dozen” that includes the following foods…

  • Beans
  • Berries
  • Other fruits
  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Greens
  • Other vegetables
  • Flaxseeds
  • Nuts
  • Spices
  • Whole grains

In addition to the foods listed above, Dr. Greger recommends rounding out your daily regimen with…

Healthy Beverages
Studies link low water intake with problems including falls, heat stroke, constipation, kidney disease and bladder cancer.

What to drink: Plain tap water works fine. A carbon (activated charcoal) filter can reduce chlorination by-products that can give water an off-taste. Feel free to flavor it with fruit slices. Or turn your water into tea (such as green or hibiscus) to get a dose of antioxidants.

How much to drink: At least five 12-ounce glasses a day.

Exercise
It not only promotes a healthy body weight, but also helps ward off cognitive decline, boost immunity, control blood pressure and improve mood and sleep.

What kind to get: Anything that raises your heart rate enough to make it challenging to carry on a conversation—from walking and swimming to biking and yard work.

How much to get: 90 minutes of moderate activity (such as brisk walking) or 40 minutes of vigorous activity (such as jogging) each day. That’s more than what’s called for in official government guidelines, but you will get more benefits.

For a checklist of Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen, click here.

Source: Michael Greger, MD, FACLM, is the founder of the website NutritionFacts.org and author of How Not to Diet: The Groundbreaking Science of Healthy, Permanent Weight Loss and How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease.