“Berries are superfoods because they’re so high in antioxidants without being high in calories,” Giovinazzo says. One cup of strawberries, for instance, contains your full recommended daily intake of vitamin C, along with high quantities of folic acid and fiber.
Strawberries are good for your ticker, too. A 2013 study found that women were less likely to have a heart attack over an 18-year period if they ate more than three servings of strawberries or blueberries per week. (Strawberries, like blueberries, are a good source of anthocyanins.)
That espresso doesn’t just wake you up. Coffee drinking has been linked to a lower risk of several diseases (such as diabetes and prostate cancer), and it may even help you live longer. Researchers suspect the combination of caffeine and antioxidants are responsible for many of the observed health benefits. (A 2005 study found that coffee is the number-one source of antioxidants in the U.S. diet, believe it or not.)
Of course, loading coffee up with cream and sugar may erase any potential benefits. So skip the fancy flavored drinks, and stick with skim milk.
Not a coffee person? Tea has a pretty impressive résumé of health benefits, too. Because it has less caffeine, it hydrates you more effectively than coffee, and it’s also a rich source of the immunity-boosting antioxidants known as catechins.
All tea (black, green, or white) provides antioxidants, but green tea may be healthiest of all. Research suggests that drinking five cups a day can increase your body’s metabolism and help you lose more weight around the middle.
Any fruit is a good addition to your breakfast, Giovinazzo says, and cantaloupe is no exception. A six-ounce serving (roughly a quarter-melon) contains just 50 calories and a full 100% of your recommended daily intake of both vitamin C and vitamin A, an important nutrient for smooth, younger-looking skin.
And, like most melons, cantaloupe has a high water concentration, which means it will help you stay hydrated and keep you feeling full until lunchtime.
This fuzzy little fruit has about 65 milligrams of vitamin C per serving—nearly as much as an orange. It’s also rich in potassium and copper and contains more fiber per ounce than a banana, which makes it a good aid to digestion. (In one study, eating two kiwis a day for one month lessened constipation in people with irritable bowel syndrome.)
Kiwis are slightly tart. They’re delicious by themselves, but if you prefer a sweeter flavor, try mixing them with strawberries and bananas in a smoothie or fruit salad.
16. Orange juice
Fresh squeezed OJ is a classic (and tasty) morning beverage, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be improved on. For even more nutritional benefit, you’ll want to opt for a store-bought variety that’s fortified with vitamin D. Along with fatty fish and fortified milk, fortified OJ is one of the few dietary sources of the sunshine vitamin, higher levels of which have been linked to a lower risk of osteoporosis, depression, and certain cancers.
Whichever OJ you prefer, stick with one small glass a day, Giovinazzo advises. Fruit juice is high in calories and sugar, she says, and shouldn’t replace whole fruit in your diet.
17. Cranberry juice
Cranberry juice, which helps limit bacterial growth, is best known for warding off urinary tract infections (UTIs), but its healing powers may not stop there. The tart juice appears to promote cardiovascular health, and preliminary research in petri dishes suggests that compounds in cranberries can even increase the effectiveness of certain ovarian cancer drugs.
As with OJ, though, you’re better off sticking with small servings. Cranberry juice—not to be confused with cranberry juice cocktail—isn’t as sugary as other fruit juices, but its high acidity can sometimes contribute to bladder problems besides UTIs.
“Cereal can be tricky, because there are so many different kinds out there,” Giovinazzo says. “Something with at least 5 grams of fiber and less than 5 grams of sugar is probably your best bet.”
You’ll find this winning combo in many whole-grain or bran cereals (such as shredded wheat), which as an added bonus are often fortified with riboflavin, folic acid, and other essential nutrients.
Top off your bowl with skim milk and fruit for the complete package: whole grains to fill you up, protein to supply all-day energy, and antioxidants to keep your immune system humming.
These summer favorites are the main berry source of ellagitannins, a type of antioxidant that is thought to have cancer-fighting properties. They’re also high in fiber (8 grams per cup), vitamin C, and vitamin K, which helps build strong bones.
Although you can buy fresh raspberries year-round, during the off-season you’ll find them cheaper (and with equal nutritional value) in the frozen foods aisle. They’re perfect as an addition to cereal or yogurt, or mixed into a smoothie for a quick, drink-on-the-go breakfast.
20. Whole-wheat bread
Carbohydrates are a breakfast mainstay, but the type of carbs you choose can make a big difference in the overall health of your meal. The simple rule to remember is that whole wheat and other whole grains—whether they’re found in bread, toast, or English muffins—contain more fiber and nutrients than their white, refined counterparts.
What you put on it matters, as well. “Slathering your toast with butter or jelly just adds empty fat and calories,” says Giovinazzo. “Instead, get some protein by adding an egg or some almond butter.”