What’s in my grocery cart?

Ashley Cramer writes a monthly health and lifestyle column for The Penny Rose. She is the owner of The Barre Studio in Capitola, Calif., and is Nutritious Life certified. 

I’ll admit that I’m a sucker for beauty products, but I also know that what I eat is equally as important. Food nourishes the body from within. When digested, food breaks down into vitamins, minerals and proteins that can help you look great, lose weight and fight disease. Since healthy eating doesn’t happen by accident, it’s essential to keep the kitchen stocked with good-for-you foods. Here are a few staples that you’ll find in my grocery cart. 

Berries

Berries are low in sugar, high in fiber and full of anthocyanins, which are powerful antioxidants. They are also packed with Vitamin C, which promotes hair and nail growth and can delay signs of aging. Just remember that berries have high levels of pesticide residue. Fresh or frozen, it’s best to buy organic. 

Spinach

Calorie for calorie, spinach is one of the most nutrient-dense super foods in existence. Whether you prefer your spinach juiced, blended, cooked or raw, you’ll benefit from phytonutrients, vitamins and more than 20 minerals. Not to mention, high levels of Vitamin A help skin retain moisture and fight wrinkles. At only 40 calories per cup, you can incorporate spinach into your diet without any guilt.

Avocado

Fat is essential to our health, and “good fat,” such as the monounsaturated fat in avocado comes with many benefits. It keeps your skin glowing, hair growing and supports organ function. Avocado also promotes weight loss because the healthy fat and fiber help you feel full.

Eggs

Eggs contain almost every essential vitamin and mineral that your body needs to function. Whole eggs, yolk and whites, are a fantastic source of protein and healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, which can help you control your appetite and curb cravings. Eggs are also rich in two nutrients—choline and lutein—that are key to keeping your skin firm and smooth. 

Dark Chocolate

 Choosing the right dark chocolate will help you get the most health benefits from this treat. Cacoa is the secret to the antioxidant and cardiovascular benefits, so look for dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cacao. Since cacao can have a bitter, chalky taste, look for dark chocolate that uses cane sugar, vanilla or cocoa butter to balance it. Enjoy!