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Find out which healthy staples Dr. Mehmet Oz, a cardiothoracic surgeon, author and host of the Dr. Oz Show, recommends. Plus, get tips on how to save at checkout!
Supermarket Staple #1: Tree Fruits (apples, pears)
Why It's a Must Have: White fleshed fruits and veggies (such as apples and pears) have been shown to help reduce heart disease even more than their colored counterparts. “Apples are also rich in quercetin, a flavonoid with strong anti-inflammatory properties,” says Erin Palinski, a registered dietitian and author of the Belly Fat Diet for Dummies. “The pectin found in the skin and the anti-aging polyphenols in apples help reduce artery and cell damage, and their fiber has also been linked with reduction of LDL-cholesterol and body weight.” In fact, one Brazilian study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that women who ate three apples or three pears a day lost significantly more weight than those that ate the same amount of calories, but didn’t consume the fruits.
Budget Bonus: Shop for produce on a Tuesday or Wednesday, when it is more likely to have just arrived, instead of waiting until the weekend. Most markets receive deliveries during the week, and fruits and veggies that have just made it to the store means they be more likely to stay fresher longer (and get eaten, not wasted) at home. And if you can, buy local apples at your farmer’s market in the spring, summer, and fall to cut costs and improve their nutritional value, recommends Palinski. “Local fruits and vegetables are picked and sold immediately, helping them retain their nutrient level.”
Recipes to Try:
Supermarket Staple #2: Citrus Fruits (Oranges, Lemons, Limes)
Why It's a Must Have: Citrus fruits are a great source of vitamin C, says Palinski. “One German study found that vitamin C helps reduce stress levels and return blood pressure and the stress hormone cortisol to normal levels after a stressful situation – which may help prevent chronic stress and decrease body fat storage in the abdomen.” Palinski recommends eating 2-4 servings of fruit (including at least one serving of a citrus fruit) per day to reap their nutritional benefits. And, if weight loss is your goal, you may want to focus on grapefruit -- one 2004 study conducted by the Nutrition and Metabolic Research Center at Scripps Clinic, found that subjects who ate half a grapefruit before each meal lost an average of 3.6 pounds over 12 weeks (some even lost more than 10 pounds), without making any other dietary changes.
Budget Bonus: Skip fresh fruit when it’s out of season (in the US, citrus is typically in season from late fall and through winter) since fruits have to travel further during off-season, recommends Palinski. “In off-season, reach for canned citrus fruit in its own juice or flash frozen citrus.”
Recipes to Try:
Supermarket Staple #3: Stone Fruits (Peaches, Plums, Apricots, Cherries, Tangerines)
Why It's a Must Have: This (mostly) sweet group of fruits is a delicious way to eat your vitamins and fiber. “Tart cherries in particular, are an anti-inflammatory powerhouse that recent studies have shown offers greater results for gout-related pain reduction than for prescription drugs,” says Dr. Rovenia Brock, a nutrition coach on the Dr. Oz Show and author of Dr. Ro’s Ten Secrets to Livin’ Healthy. “They contain an intense amount of the antioxidants; the anthocyanins responsible for their bright red pigment are also good sources of Vitamin A, making them helpers for eye health as well. They also help reduce heart disease risk, lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, blood lipids, and may reduce risk for type 2 diabetes."
Budget Bonus: Stone fruits are summer season fruits, so it’s best to buy them fresh when they are least expensive, and most plentiful locally, during the warmer months (check out the free app Locavore for help finding local, in-season produce). Skip the pricier imports and buy frozen varieties (sans added sugars and syrups) instead when they aren’t in season.
Recipes to Try: