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6 Superfoods Your Grandmother Ate -- That You Should Too

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Back in her day, Grandma probably had no idea what "eating clean" was. And even if you tried explaining it to her, she'd probably say she didn't give a hoot. Still, her diet wasn't all Salisbury steak and Jell-O salad. Your granny and her gang ate plenty of foods that were actually really healthy, too. And even though they're uncool or outdated today, they're absolutely worth adding to your meals and snacks. Here are six to consider. (Instagram them enough times, and who knows? They might even become a thing.)

Cottage cheese
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If protein is what you're after, make this your new go-to. A 1-cup serving of low-fat cottage cheese packs 28 g of protein—about 5 g more than your usual Greek yogurt. (FYI, there is such a thing as cultured cottage cheese so you don't have to miss out on your daily dose of probiotics.) And no, no one's gonna make you eat it out of a cantaloupe half.

Bananas
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They're arguably the most basic of all fruits. But so what? Bananas are rich in pectin, a type of fiber that can help protect against blood sugar spikes and slow down your digestion so you stay fuller for longer. They're also a good source of the all-important prebiotics necessary for keeping the good bacteria in your gut happy and well-fed. And seriously, what other fruit can you find for 50 cents a pound all year long? (Bonus: You can even eat the peels. Bet G-ma never did that!)

Navy beans
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Do like old-timers do and throw the creamy white beans into a soup. A cup of cooked white beans delivers almost half of your daily fiber, so you'll have zero interest in eating again for hours (and hours). They're also a good plant source of hard-to-get iron as well as magnesium, a mineral that can help your muscles relax after a workout.

Cabbage
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Like its cooler cousins kale, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts, cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable. In other words, it's pretty much one of the healthiest things you can eat. Cabbage is packed with phytonutrients that can help lower your risk for cancer—so if you're also a fan of big, bad bacon, it might be worth loading up. Which you can totally do, since chopped cabbage only has 22 calories per cup.

Grapefruit
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It goes without saying that trying an all-grapefruit diet is a horrible idea. But Granny's favorite breakfast food (broiled with a sprinkle of sugar, please) actually can help you lose weight. One study found that people who ate half a grapefruit before each meal—without making any other changes to their diets—lost more than 3 pounds in 12 weeks and had healthier blood sugar levels.

Prunes
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Yes, they're a good source of fiber that can help keep you regular. But that's just the beginning. Prunes (or dried plums as we like to call 'em today) are packed with anthocyanins, a family of anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic antioxidants that can help fight obesity, diabetes, and even heart disease. And since they're super sweet, you can use pureed prunes to replace empty-calorie sweeteners in oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies—or even Grandma's famous cake recipe. Just sayin'.

By Marygrace Taylor

Also on HuffPost:

1
Walnuts
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Walnuts are chock-full of heart-healthy and anti-inflammatory nutrients, and are the only good nut source of alpha linolenic acid (ALA), HuffPost Healthy Living earlier reported. That means they help promote blood flow, which in turn allows for efficient delivery of oxygen to the brain. And research presented at the 2010 International Conference on Alzheimer's found that mice with the disease who were regularly fed walnuts had improved memory, learning and motor skill coordination, according to MyHealthNewsDaily.
2
Olive Oil
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Olive oil is a great source of monounsaturated fats, which have been shown to actually slow brain aging.
3
Berries
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Animal studies have long indicated a link between berry consumption and brain health. But a recent study published in the Annals of Neurology found that a diet high in blueberries, strawberries and others were linked to a slower mental decline in areas like memory and focus in a large sample of middle-aged women, reported TIME's Alice Park.
4
Coffee
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Caffeine, the mild stimulant found in coffee, improves mental acuity, though the drink's enthusiasts -- who guzzle 120,000 tons of the stuff each year -- likely already know that. Aside from caffeine's brain boosting effects, coffee's antioxidant richness helps maintain brain health. And some research suggests that drinking coffee can actually stave off depression in women.
5
Spinach
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Spinach is rich in the antioxidant lutein, which is thought to help protect against cognitive decline, according to researchers from Tufts University. And a longitudinal study at Harvard Medical School found that women who reported eating the most leafy green and cruciferous vegetables had a markedly lower rate of cognitive decline, compared to those who ate the least.
6
Dark chocolate
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Antioxidant-rich dark chocolate is healthy for your whole body, but its caffeine content is thought to play a role in maintaining mental acuity. What's more, chocolate is rich in flavonoids, a class of antioxidant that helps to improve blood flow (and thus brain health) by regulating cholesterol and lowering blood pressure.
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Avocados
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Avocados are full of monounsaturated fats that improve vascular health and blood flow, making them another brain food.
8
Water
When a person becomes dehydrated, their brain tissue actually shrinks. And several studies have shown that dehydration can affect cognitive function. Dehydration can impair short-term memory, focus and decision making, according to Psychology Today.
9
Wheat Germ
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Wheat germ is a rich vegetarian source of choline -- a nutrient that is involved in the body's production of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that boosts memory, according to Shape. Eggs are another good choline source.
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Beets
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Beets are a good source of naturally-occurring nitrates, which help improve blood flow to the brain, according to Shape.
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Garlic
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Garlic may help stave off some forms of brain cancer, according to research published in Cancer, the medical journal of the American Cancer Society. Investigators found that the organo-sulfur compounds in garlic actually worked to kill glioblastoma cells -- a type of malignant tumor cell.