Great news: It only takes one ingredient to make wholesome standbys (like cereal and yogurt) even healthier, or to transform guilty pleasures (cheese pizza, anyone?) into superfoods with unbelievable benefits to boost your health. Here are six ways to amp up ordinary foods into tasty, powerful superfoods that can slim, heal, and protect your body as you age.
Coffee + cocoa powder = a healthier heart
Antioxidant-rich coffee is proven to do everything from protect against Alzheimer’s to help prevent Type 2 diabetes. To boost the health perks of every cuppa, make it a mocha by stirring in 1-2 tsp. of unsweetened cocoa. The chocolatey powder is packed with flavanols, proven to reduce hypertension and cholesterol. New findings also show cocoa is a powerful anti-inflammatory, which cuts heart-disease and stroke risk.
Bonus: Of all chocolate products, cocoa powder has the most resveratrol, the same antioxidant that makes red wine so healthy!
Brown rice + turmeric = less belly fat
Brown rice is rich in manganese, a mineral that helps your body metabolize fat. And adding just 1 tsp. of turmeric—a spice common in Asian cuisines — to rice dishes speeds the breakdown of fat even more. Plus, research suggests it can stop fat cells from expanding.
Bonus: Curcumin, the antioxidant responsible for turmeric’s yellow hue, helps protect against breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Pizza + oregano = protection against germs
If pizza is one of your guilty pleasures, you can erase the guilt now by topping it with several shakes of dried oregano. Several herbs pack more immunity-boosting antioxidants than berries, fruits and veggies—and oregano scores the highest of all. Besides boasting a whopping 42 times more antioxidant activity than an apple, oregano is a natural antimicrobial — in fact, some studies suggest its active ingredient, carvacrol, can fend off norovirus, the notorious food-borne illness known to sweep through hospitals
Bonus: Oregano helps prevent tummyaches and other GI problems.
Cereal + chia seeds = speedier weight loss
Eating breakfast is proven to wake up your metabolism, helping you lose weight. Boost the benefits by shaking 1 Tbs. of chia seeds onto your cereal, and these nutrient-dense crunchies will form a gel in your stomach, slowing digestion and keeping you satisfied for hours.
Bonus: You’ll also get a heaping dose of bone-building calcium and heart-healthy omega-3s.
Pasta + ground turkey = all-day energy
Top your spaghetti with meat sauce made with ground turkey, and you’ll get 30 percent more muscle-building protein and energizing iron than if you use ground beef.
Boost the benefit…with fiber-rich, whole-wheat pasta. Regularly eating whole-grain pasta is linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Yogurt + hemp oil = diabetes prevention
Calcium-rich yogurt helps stave off type 2 diabetes — and if you stir in some omega-6-rich hemp seed oil, you’ll also help prevent heart disease and cancer.
Tip: Hemp oil’s unsaturated fats aren’t heat stable, so use it cold.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.