Tag Archive for: ‘eggs’
Best Foods to Eat in January

This is an article I am copying for your reading pleasure directly from Organic, written by Emily Main.  This article is well written and  is good advice.  It should be passed on to you in its complete unadultrated form.  Emily also included some great recipes in the original, so click the link and check it out.  These are her pictures too.  I’m off to a slow start this year. – jughandle

The 9 Best Foods to Eat in January

Boost your brainpower and ward off a cold—and still stick to your seasonal diet.

By Emily Main

You resolved to eat more healthfully in 2013, so you head to the grocery store to load up on healthy foods—and you’re greeted with sickly looking tomatoes, limp greens, sprouting potatoes, and strawberries that look like the wiser choice would be leaving them suffocating in their plastic clamshells, not actually eating them. Don’t let a lackluster selection of fresh foods keep you from your healthy-eating goals! It is possible to find seasonal, good-for-you produce this time of year, picked at the peak of flavor and filled with nutrients specifically suited to keep you healthy during the long, cold winter.

Best Foods for January: GrapefruitGrapefruit

Good for your nose and your ticker, this fruit usually gets passed up in favor of its more popular relatives (oranges, tangerines, and clementines) or consumed via sugary “juice cocktails” that contain more sugar and food dye than actual grapefruit juice. But its hefty vitamin C content can reduce cold symptoms by 23 percent, studies have found, and a single grapefruit was found in one Israeli study to lower cholesterol. Opt for ruby red varieties, which are sweeter than white and more palatable and reach their height of flavor in early winter.

Best Foods for January: BeetsBeets

These hearty root vegetables store well and will likely pop up at your farmers’ market until summer. Eat them and save your brain. Beets are high in nitrates, naturally occurring minerals that help transport oxygen to your brain. A study from Wake Forest University recently found that older adults with high dietary levels of nitrates (the naturally occurring nitrates found in whole foods, rather than the synthetic versions used in processed meats) showed greater activity in their frontal lobes, suggesting they were better able to ward off dementia, compared to when they were on low-nitrate diets.


Best Foods for January: Brussels SproutsBrussels Sprouts

They’re full of belly-filling fiber, which will help you stick to those New Year’s resolutions, and you may still be able to find them at your local farmers’ market. Another benefit to Brussels sprouts: They contain high levels of folate, a B vitamin best known for warding off birth defects of the brain and spine when consumed by pregnant women. And surveys suggest there’s a whole lotta baby-making going on in January, which falls nine months before September 16, the most common birthday in the United States, according to Harvard research.

Best Foods for January: turkeyTurkey

Eating a healthier diet means moving beyond the produce aisles. There’s a reason you should include more turkey and poultry in your diet during the winter: The tryptophan in turkey can help ward off the winter blues or its more severe form, seasonal affective disorder, because it gets converted to mood-boosting serotonin in your body. This same amino acid exists in seafood, grass-fed beef, and healthy fats, such as coconut oil and butter from grass-fed cows.

Best Foods for January: cauliflowerCauliflower

Cauliflower reaches its peak from December through March. It’s one of the few vegetables you’ll find at year-round farmers’ markets in January, depending on the climate of your hometown. Like turkey, this cruciferous vegetable has tryptophan, and some of the highest levels of any vegetable. Use it in place of white potatoes to make a waistline-friendly, low-carb version of mashed potatoes.

Best Foods for January: Pumpkin SeedsPumpkin Seeds

Pumpkinseeds are rich in magnesium, which helps your body convert tryptophan into serotonin, and they’re basically free, every time you cook a pumpkin, which you may still be able to find locally this time of year.

Best Foods for January: avacodosAvocados

In addition to being rich in tryptophan and magnesium, avocados contain healthy monounsaturated fats, which provide a more sustained form of energy than the quick-burning carbs people tend to crave in winter. Having sustained energy levels will keep your mood elevated, too.


Best Foods for January: eggsEggs (vitamin D)

Eggs, particularly those from pasture-raised hens, are rich in vitamin D, a disease-fighting nutrient that comes primarily from sunlight. Since it’s not always practical to head outside, half-naked, to soak up some D in the winter, load up on eggs, which are also filled with mood-promoting omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, B vitamins, and iodide.

Best Foods for January: yogurtYogurt

Yogurt contains a bacterium calledLactobacillus reuteri that has been found to block the replication of viruses that invade your body when you get sick. Not all brands contain that particular strain of beneficial bacteria, so look for a brand that does. We recommend going organic with yogurt from Stonyfield Farm, which does contain L. reuteri.


How to Cook an Egg

The concept of Jughandle’s Fat Farm is to lead our followers to a healthier existence by teaching and examining the simple acts of gathering food (shopping, growing, etc) and preparing a meal.  Once everyone understands why we eat and what the food does to our bodies we can then choose the path we would like to follow instead of being pulled by the pallet down the road of fast food and pre-prepared meals.  Every one from Man to child should know how to cook (not just forage in the refrigerator) when they are hungry.

I’ve been told that Cooking an Egg is one of the most basic and important skills a cook can master.  I would like to know that when I say to separate 7 eggs into two bowls, you aren’t going to just put 3 eggs in one bowl and 4 in the other.

Egg Chemistry

Eggs are the most complex and important ingredient we will cook with.  Because they are high in protein which is constructed of coiled molecules, they react to different methods of preparation.  Heating or the friction or whipping (also heating) causes those coils to unwind.  They attach to each other when they unwind creating a mesh that traps air or liquid that becomes permanently set when the mixture is heated to the setting point.  You can observe the trapped air reaction in whipped egg whites and the liquid in a custard.  The difference between a thick egg mixture and scrambled eggs is just 10 degrees.  So most egg dishes should be cooked slow and low to better control the results.

Trick: to make a speedy custard, add cornstarch or flour to your mixture to speed the formation of the protein mesh, thus stretching the window between success and a curdled mess.

Eggs also provide moisture to a dish, which when heated creates steam and aids in the rising of cakes and pastries.  They are also emulsifiers, one end of the molecule attracts water and the other attracts oil.  That is why you need an egg in a salad dressing such as Caesar’s or in a thicken dressing such as mayonnaise.


Lesson 1: How to Boil and Egg

There are many way to boil and egg, but remembering the slow and low method (think gentle) we will do the following:

place 4 to 6 three day old eggs in a sauce pan. 

Cover the eggs barely with cold water

place pan on high heat uncovered

when water comes to a rolling boil turn off the heat and cover pan

start timer for 10 mins 

when timer is finished uncover pan and run cold water over the eggs until cool

Eat or refrigerate

Tip: 3 day to week old eggs make the best hard-boiled eggs because they peal more easily.  Fresh eggs stick to the shell and waste the egg when pealed.  Cook’s Bible says that ” if the pH of the egg white is below 8.9 it is likely to adhere to the inner membrane of the shell.  Fresh eggs have a pH of 8 and a 3 day old egg is a little over 9.0.”

Lesson 2: How to Poach an Egg

In a pan of rolling boiling water put 1 tablespoon of white vinegar for every 6 cups of boiling water.  Swirl the water by stirring and gently crack the egg into the center of the whirlpool.  Cook 2 mins for a running center, 3 mins for a thick center and 4 to five minutes for a hard cooked center.


Lesson 3: How to Fry and Egg

Remembering the slow and low method, most fried egg problems such as, over cooking, crispy edges or dried out whites, are caused from cooking too hot.  Start your frying pan on med high then once the pan is hot turn it down to med-low.  Put in 1 tablespoon of butter and crack the egg into to butter.

For “over easy” eggs, wait until the white has set and gently flip or turn the egg with a spatula.  Continue to cook until the yellow is done to your likeness.

For “sunny side up” or “partial eclipse” eggs, cook until the white is almost set the add a tablespoon of water to the pan and cover with a lid.  Steam the egg until the yolk is to your likeness.


Lesson 4: How to Scramble and Egg

Crack two eggs into a small bowl.  Add 3 tablespoon of cream, salt and pepper to taste.

Cook in a non-stick skillet on med-low until done, stirring with a wood spoon as needed.

You can also use a double boiler over simmering water to cook these eggs.


Lesson 5: How to Make and Omelet

Start with 2 eggs.  Whisk in salt (a pinch) pepper (to taste), fresh herbs (tarragon is nice) and 1 teaspoon of water per egg.

Melt a tablespoon of butter in a non-stick or well seasoned omelet pan over medium-high heat.

add the beaten egg mixture and reduce the heat to medium-low

after 10 seconds pull the edges of the omelet to the center with a spatula or turner

tilt the pan to allow the uncooked eggs to run off the cooked ones and onto the pan

do this until most of the uncooked egg is cooked

Fill the omelet now with cheese, ham, etc. if you want and

slide the omelet to one side of the pan by tilting the pan.

Using the spatula flip half of the omelet over  the filling

Turn the omelet over to finish cooking for about 30 sec.

Slide on to plate.


You are now an expert egg cook.  Practice, practice, practice – jughandle

Things to stock in the Refrigerator – Items 1-5

Refrigerator items to stock 1-5

These are food items that will keep in the refrigerator for a week or more.  The only exception might be the fresh meats and fish that should either be eaten or frozen within 3 days.

cottage cheese
cream cheese
sour cream
deli meats


1. milk – Per Wikipedia is a white liquid produced by the mammary glands of mammals. It is the primary source of nutrition for young mammals before they are able to digest other types of food. Early-lactation milk containscolostrum, which carries the mother’s antibodies to the baby and can reduce the risk of many diseases in the baby. The precise components of raw milk vary by species and by a number of other factors, but it contains significant amounts of saturated fatprotein and calcium as well as vitamin C. Cow’s milk has a pH ranging from 6.4 to 6.8, making it slightly acidic

2. eggs – We could go on and on about eggs, and we have.  Visit – Eggs or you can visit the Egg Board.

3. butter – The best butter I ever had was butter a client brought us back from France.  Amazing.  Buy the best butter available, you’ll be able to tell a difference and you won’t have to use as much.  DO NOT EAT MARGARINE OR BUTTER SUBSTITUTES!
4. cheese – According to

“Cheese is nutritious food made mostly from the milk of cows but also other mammals, including sheep, goats, buffalo, reindeer, camels and yaks. Around 4000 years ago people have started to breed animals and process their milk. That’s when the cheese was born.”


5. yogurt – Yogurt comes in many forms, from frozen to plain Greek Yogurt and is made from the milk of Cows, water buffalo, goats, sheep, camels and yaks.  It can be a healthy substitute for sour cream and makes great dips and sauces.  Try not to buy the stuff with the fruit in the bottom, most of those have added sugar.
6.cottage cheese
7. cream cheese
8. sour cream
9. meats/fish
10. deli meats
11. bacon
12. juices
13. carrots
14. celery
15. lemon
16. mushroom
17. lettuce


More on these Refrigerator items tomorrow – jug

Eggs – Everything you need to know

Aren’t these eggs beautiful?

This would be a typical mix of colors from my wife’s sister Beverly and her husband Brent’s hen house.  I’ve never had a better egg than one fresh from the tap.

Ameraucana breed of chicken lays various shades of blue and green eggs, while around 90% of all white eggs we get in the store are laid by a strain of the Leghorn chicken.  Australorp and Rhode Island Red chickens lay brown eggs and Barnevelders lay very dark reddish brown eggs with a matte finish.  There are hundreds of chicken breeds, laying different sizes and colors of eggs.  Some chickens are layers, some are bred for cooking.  Some are quiet, some are loud, some lay a lot of eggs, some a few.

Did you know that a chicken is born with all the eggs she could ever lay already in her?  That is about 4000, even though most chickens rarely lay over 1500 eggs in their life and the average layer lays between 250 and 270 eggs per year.

More importantly eggs are almost a perfect food.  Read this from the Incredible egg site:


New USDA study shows eggs have 14% less cholesterol and more vitamin D.

The amount of cholesterol in a single large egg has decreased by 14 percent according to the new United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrition data*. Consuming an egg a day fits easily within dietary guidance, which recommends limiting cholesterol consumption to 300 mg per day.


Eggs now contain 41 IU of vitamin D, which is an increase of 64 percent from 2002. Eggs are one of the few foods that are a naturally good source of vitamin D, meaning that one egg provides at least 10 percent of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). Vitamin D plays an important role in calcium absorption, helping to form and maintain strong bones.

The amount of protein in one large egg – 6 grams of protein or 12 percent of the Recommended Daily Value – remains the same, and the protein in eggs is one of the highest quality proteins found in any food. Eggs are all?natural, and one egg has lots of vitamins and minerals all for 70 calories. The nutrients in eggs can play a role in weight management, muscle strength, healthy pregnancy, brain function, eye health and more. At less than 15 cents apiece, eggs are an affordable and delicious breakfast option.

*In 2010, a random sample of regular shell eggs was collected from locations across the country to analyze the nutrient content of eggs. The testing procedure was last completed with eggs in 2002, and while most nutrients remained similar to those values, cholesterol decreased by 14% and vitamin D increased by 64% from 2002 values.


Jughandle is in the process of starting a back yard chicken coop with a starting flock of 6 chickens.  That should get me between 1 1/2 to 2 dozen eggs per week.  By the way, if you don’t like to hear that constant crow of the rooster, don’t get one.  You don’t need a rooster to have chickens lay eggs.

More to come-



List of “Superfoods” we all need

Men’s health has an interesting article on the “25 Ridiculously Healthy Foods” that we need to eat.  Here is the list, but click the link and read it for your self.  This should be easy for everyone, I think there are only 3 things on the list I don’t eat regularly.  – jug

1. eggs -Egg yolks are home to tons of essential but hard-to-get nutrients, including choline, which is linked to lower rates of breast cancer (one yolk supplies 25% of your daily need) and antioxidants that may help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts. Though many of us have shunned whole eggs because of their link to heart disease risk, there’s actually substantial evidence that for most of us, eggs are not harmful but healthy.

2. Greek yogurt-Yogurt is a great way to get calcium, and it’s also rich in immune-boosting bacteria. But next time you hit the yogurt aisle, pick up the Greek kind—compared with regular yogurt, it has twice the protein (and 25% of women over 40 don’t get enough). Look for fat-free varieties like Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt (90 calories and 15 g of protein per 5.3-ounce serving).

3. fat-free milk- Yes, it does a body good: Studies show that calcium isn’t just a bone booster but a fat fighter too. Recent research from the University of Tennessee found that obese people who went on a low-calorie, calcium-rich diet lost 70% more weight than those who ate the least. Vitamin D not only allows your body to absorb calcium, it’s also a super nutrient in its own right. Recent research found that adequate D levels can reduce heart disease risk, ward off certain types of cancer, relieve back pain, and even help prevent depression, but most of us don’t get nearly enough of the 1,000+ IU daily that most experts recommend.

4. Salmon- Salmon is a rich source of vitamin D and one of the best sources of omega-3s you can find. These essential fatty acids have a wide range of impressive health benefits—from preventing heart disease to smoothing your skin and aiding weight loss to boosting your mood and minimizing the effects of arthritis. Unfortunately, many Americans aren’t reaping these perks because we’re deficient, which some experts believe may be at the root of many of the big health problems today, like obesity, heart disease, and cancer.

5. Lean beef- Lean beef is one of the best-absorbed sources of iron there is. (Too-little iron can cause anemia.) Adding as little as 1 ounce of beef per day can make a big difference in the body’s ability to absorb iron from other sources, says Mary J. Kretsch, PhD, a researcher at the USDA-ARS Western Human Nutrition Research Center in Davis, CA. Beef also packs plenty of zinc (even minor deficiencies may impair memory) and B vitamins, which help your body turn food into energy.

If you can, splurge on grass-fed. Compared with grain-fed beef, it has twice the concentration of vitamin E, a powerful brain-boosting antioxidant. It’s also high in omega-3 fatty acids. Because this type of beef tends to be lower in overall fat, it can be tough—so marinate it, and use a meat thermometer to avoid overcooking.

6. beans- It’s hard to imagine a more perfect food than beans. One cooked cupful can provide as much as 17 g fiber. They’re also loaded with protein and dozens of key nutrients, including a few most women fall short on—calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Studies tie beans to a reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and breast and colon cancers.

The latest dietary guidelines recommend consuming at least 3 cups of beans a week—3 times the measly 1 cup we usually get. Keep your cupboards stocked with all kinds: black, white, kidney, fat-free refried, etc. Use them in salads, stuffed baked potatoes, and veggie chili or pureed for sandwich spreads.

7. nuts- In a nutshell: USDA researchers say that eating 1½ ounces of tree nuts daily can reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Walnuts are rich in omega-3s. Hazelnuts contain arginine, an amino acid that may lower blood pressure. An ounce of almonds has as many heart-healthy polyphenols as a cup of green tea and 1/2 cup of steamed broccoli combined; they may help lower LDL cholesterol as well.

8. edamame and tofu- 

Soy’s days as a cure-all may be over—some claims, such as help for hot flashes, don’t seem to be panning out—but edamame still has an important place on your plate. Foods such as tofu, soy milk, and edamame help fight heart disease when they replace fatty meats and cheeses, slashing saturated fat intake. Soy also contains heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats, a good amount of fiber, and some important vitamins.

Soy’s isoflavones, or plant estrogens, may also help prevent breast cancer. Some researchers believe these bind with estrogen receptors, reducing your exposure to the more powerful effects of your own estrogen, says Prevention advisor Andrew Weil, MD. But stick with whole soy foods rather than processed foods, like patties or chips, made with soy powder. Don’t take soy supplements, which contain high and possibly dangerous amounts of isoflavones.

9. oatmeal- Fiber-rich oats are even healthier than the FDA thought when it first stamped them with a heart disease–reducing seal 10 years ago. According to new research, they can also cut your risk of type 2 diabetes. When Finnish researchers tracked 4,316 men and women over the course of 10 years, they found that people who ate the highest percentage of cereal fiber were 61% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

To reap the benefits, eat 1/2 cup daily—preferably unsweetened. For a versatile breakfast, top with different combinations of fruit, yogurt, and nuts. You can also use oats to coat fish or chicken or add texture to meatballs.

10. flaxseed- Flaxseed is the most potent plant source of omega-3 fats. Studies indicate that adding flaxseed to your diet can reduce the development of heart disease by 46%—it helps keep red blood cells from clumping together and forming clots that can block arteries. It may also reduce breast cancer odds. In one study, women who ate 10 g of flaxseed (about 1 rounded tablespoon) every day for 2 months had a 25% improvement in the ratio of breast cancer–protective to breast cancer–promoting chemicals in their blood.

Sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoons of flaxseed a day on your cereal, salad, or yogurt. Buy it preground, and keep it refrigerated.

11. olive oil- Olive oil is full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), which lower “bad” LDL cholesterol and raise “good” HDL cholesterol. It’s rich in antioxidants, which may help reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases, like Alzheimer’s.

Look for extra virgin oils for the most antioxidants and flavor. Drizzle small amounts on veggies before roasting; use it to sauté or stir-fry, in dressings and marinades, and to flavor bread at dinner in lieu of a layer of butter or margarine.

12. avocado- These smooth, buttery fruits are a great source of not only MUFAs but other key nutrients as well. One Ohio State University study found that when avocado was added to salads and salsa, it helped increase the absorption of specific carotenoids, plant compounds linked to lower risk of heart disease and macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness. “Avocados are packed with heart-protective compounds, such as soluble fiber, vitamin E, folate, and potassium,” says Elizabeth Somer, RD, author of 10 Habits That Mess Up a Woman’s Diet.

13. broccoli- Pick any life-threatening disease—cancer, heart disease, you name it—and eating more broccoli and its cruciferous cousins may help you beat it, Johns Hopkins research suggests. Averaging just four weekly servings of veggies like broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower slashed the risk of dying from any disease by 26% among 6,100 people studied for 28 years.

For maximum disease-fighting benefits, whip out your old veggie steamer. It turns out that steaming broccoli lightly releases the maximum amount of sulforaphane.

14. spinach- We’ll spare you the Popeye jokes, but spinach has serious health muscles. For one thing, it contains lots of lutein, the sunshine-yellow pigment found in egg yolks. Aside from guarding against age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness, lutein may prevent heart attacks by keeping artery walls clear of cholesterol.

Spinach is also rich in iron, which helps deliver oxygen to your cells for energy, and folate, a B vitamin that prevents birth defects. Cook frozen spinach leaves (they provide more iron when cooked than raw) and serve as a side dish with dinner a few times a week.

15. tomatoes- Tomatoes are our most common source of lycopene, an antioxidant that may protect against heart disease and breast cancer. The only problem with tomatoes is that we generally eat them in the form of sugar-loaded jarred spaghetti sauce or as a thin slice in a sandwich. For a healthier side dish idea, quarter plum tomatoes and coat with olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Roast in a 400°F oven for 20 minutes, and serve with chicken.

16. sweet potatoes- One of the best ways to get vitamin A—an essential nutrient that protects and maintains eyes, skin, and the linings of our respiratory, urinary, and intestinal tracts—is from foods containing beta-carotene, which your body converts into the vitamin. Beta carotene–rich foods include carrots, squash, kale, and cantaloupe, but sweet potatoes have among the most. A half-cup serving of these sweet spuds delivers only 130 calories but 80% of the DV of vitamin A. Replace tonight’s fries with one medium baked sweet potato (1,096 mcg) and you’re good to go—and then some.

17. garlic- Garlic is a flavor essential and a health superstar in its own right. The onion relative contains more than 70 active phytochemicals, including allicin, which studies show may decrease high blood pressure by as much as 30 points. High consumption of garlic lowered rates of ovarian, colorectal, and other cancers, according to a research review in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Allicin also fights infection and bacteria. British researchers gave 146 people either a placebo or a garlic extract for 12 weeks; garlic takers were two-thirds less likely to catch a cold.

The key to healthier garlic: Crush the cloves, and let them stand for up to 30 minutes before heating them, which activates and preserves the heart-protecting compounds, according to a 2007 study from Argentina.

18. red peppers- Citrus fruits get all the credit for vitamin C, but red peppers are actually the best source. Vitamin C may be best known for skin and immunity benefits. Researchers in the United Kingdom looked at vitamin C intake in 4,025 women and found that those who ate more had less wrinkling and dryness. And although getting enough vitamin C won’t prevent you from catching a cold or flu, studies show that it could help you recover faster.

Vitamin C has other important credentials too. Finnish researchers found that men with low levels were 2.4 times likelier to have a stroke, and Australian scientists recently discovered that the antioxidant reduces knee pain by protecting your knees against arthritis.

19. figs- When you think of potassium-rich produce, figs probably don’t come to mind, but you may be surprised to learn that six fresh figs have 891 mg of the blood pressure-lowering mineral, nearly 20% of your daily need—and about double what you’d find in one large banana. In a recent 5-year study from the Netherlands, high-potassium diets were linked with lower rates of death from all causes in healthy adults age 55 and older. Figs are one of the best fruit sources of calcium, with nearly as much per serving (six figs) as 1/2 cup of fat-free milk.

Serve by chopping and adding to yogurt, cottage cheese, oatmeal, or green salads. Or enjoy them as a savory snack: Cut a slit in the side and stuff with 1/2 teaspoon of a low-fat version of a soft cheese such as chèvre or Brie.

20. blueberries- Blueberries may very well be the most potent age-defying food—they’re jam-packed with antioxidants. When researchers at Cornell University tested 25 fruits for these potent compounds, they found that tangy-sweet wild blueberries (which are smaller than their cultivated cousins) packed the most absorbable antioxidants. Research shows a diet rich in blueberries can help with memory loss, prevent urinary tract infections, and relieve eyestrain.

Add up to 1/2 cup of blueberries to your diet a day for maximum health benefits, recommends Ronald Prior, PhD, adjunct professor of food science at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. This alone provides just about double the amount of antioxidants most Americans get in 1 day.

21. asian pears- One large Asian pear has a whopping 10 g of cholesterol-lowering fiber, about 40% of your daily need. People who ate the most fiber had the lowest total and LDL cholesterol levels, according to a recent study of Baltimore adults. The same researchers found that people who ate the most fiber also weighed the least and had the lowest body mass index and waist circumference.

Serve by dicing it into a salad of Boston lettuce, crumbled goat cheese, walnuts, and mandarin oranges. Or make it a dessert: Add peeled and cored pears to a saucepan with 1 cup white wine, 1 teaspoon honey, 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger, and enough water to cover the pears. Cover and simmer 40 minutes or until pears are soft.

22. lychee- A French study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that lychee has the second-highest level of heart-healthy polyphenols of all fruits tested—nearly 15% more than the amount found in grapes (cited by many as polyphenol powerhouses). The compounds may also play an important role in the prevention of degenerative diseases such as cancer.

Serve by peeling or breaking the outer covering just below the stem; use a knife to remove the black pit. Add to stir-fries or skewer onto chicken kebabs to add a sweet, grapelike flavor.

23. apples- One of the healthiest fruits you should be eating is one you probably already are: the apple. The Iowa Women’s Health Study, which has been investigating the health habits of 34,000 women for nearly 20 years, named apples as one of only three foods (along with pears and red wine) that are most effective at reducing the risk of death from heart disease among postmenopausal women. Other massive studies have found the fruit to lower risk of lung cancer and type 2 diabetes—and even help women lose weight.

In fact, one of the only things that could make an apple unhealthy is mixing it with sugar, flour, and butter and stuffing it into a mile-high pie. Instead, have one as an afternoon snack with a tablespoon of peanut butter, or add slices to sandwiches or salads.

24. guava- Native to South America, this tropical fruit is an excellent source of skin-healing vitamin C, with 250% of your RDA per serving. One cup of guava has nearly 5 times as much C as a medium orange (377 mg versus 83 mg)—that’s more than 5 times your daily need. It’s also loaded with lycopene (26% more than a tomato), which may help lower your risk of heart disease. And according to research by microbiologists in Bangladesh, guava can even protect against foodborne pathogens such as Listeria and staph.

You can buy guava juice, or simmer chunks in water as you would to make applesauce. Guava also makes a super smoothie: Blend 1/2 banana, 1/2 ripe guava, a handful of strawberries, 1/2 cup soy milk, and a few ice cubes.

25. dark chocolate – Thank you, dark chocolate, for making us feel good—not guilty—about dessert. Dark chocolate is filled with flavonoid antioxidants (more than 3 times the amount in milk chocolate) that keep blood platelets from sticking together and may even unclog your arteries.It may also help with weight loss by keeping you feeling full, according to a study from Denmark. Researchers gave 16 participants 100 g of either dark or milk chocolate and 2 hours later offered them pizza. Those who consumed the dark chocolate ate 15% fewer calories than those who had milk chocolate, and they were less interested in fatty, salty, and sugary foods.

Try a chocolate with 70% or more cocoa. Two tablespoons of dark chocolate chips with fresh berries as a midafternoon snack or after-dinner dessert should give you some of the heart-healthy benefits without busting your calorie budget.