What you eat can affect how you feel the rest of the day, but it will also impact your overall health in the long term. Packed with nutrients to help you avoid chronic illness in the future, superfoods can help you live a longer, healthier life.

1. Avocados

These green fruits come to the rescue when you want a healthy substitute for cream or butter. Avocados are packed with folate (a B vitamin essential for body functions such as red blood cell production and DNA production and repair), vitamin K, and more potassium than a banana. So-called alligator pears are high in calories (300-400 calories each), but they’re packed with monounsaturated fats that have a positive effect on cholesterol.

2. Prunes

In an effort to shake off certain age-related stigmas, prunes are more often referred to as “dried plums.” Regardless of their name, these chewy snacks are extremely nutritious and available year-round. Studies show that prunes help improve iron absorption, possibly as a result of their large quantity of vitamin C. They are also packed with vitamin K and most B vitamins. The dried fruit is also helpful with weight loss and maintaining blood sugar levels.

3. Garlic

If you can tolerate the bad breath, you should up your garlic intake. The superfood has vitamin B6, vitamin C, and manganese (an essential nutrient that staves off anemia and bone diseases such as osteoporosis). If you’re trying to ward off a cold, garlic is chock full of antioxidants that help prevent the illness before it really takes hold. It has also been shown to significantly reduce high blood pressure to help prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Thanks to a healthy quantity of allicin, garlic is also great for preventing hair loss; try rubbing some cloves on your scalp for an effective treatment (that might also ward off vampires).

4. Barley

Good news, beer drinkers! Two glasses of beer can contain 10 percent of your recommended daily fiber thanks to the barley. The grain decreases your risk of colon cancer and heart disease, and provides the body with intestinal protection. You can also thank this superfood for lower cholesterol and healthy bacteria production.

5. Olive Oil

This Mediterranean favorite is loaded with healthy fats, plus vitamins E and K. The oil also has anti-inflammatory benefits, similar to ibuprofen. This effect is great for combating diseases caused by chronic inflammation, like arthritis. Studies have shown that cooking with olive oil will significantly lower your chances of heart disease (especially when it’s used in place of other oils), so keep a bottle handy in your kitchen.

6. Cashews

Cashews contain iron, which helps deliver oxygen to your cells in order to prevent anemia, and zinc, which improves your immune system and vision. They are also great for the brain: The presence of magnesium may improve memory. It’s possible that eating cashews will help prevent memory loss associated with age.

7. Brazil Nuts

One serving of this nut gives you a full day’s worth of selenium, an important mineral that may protect against certain cancers. A healthy dose of selenium can inhibit cancerous cell growth, but don’t go overboard—more than a single serving can be harmful to your health.

8. Dark Chocolate

Before you go out and buy an entire heart-shaped box for yourself, keep in mind that this chocolate needs a high cacao content to be nutritious—look for some with more than 70 percent. High-quality dark chocolate is filled with flavonoids that help reduce blood pressure and improve blood flow. The healthy candy helps overall heart health, which is more than you can say about a pack of licorice.

9. Honey

Honey can do it all: It’s rich in antioxidants and helps the immune system, so it’s great for staying healthy inside and out. It works as an energy booster, antiseptic, and soothing agent. Thanks to its antibacterial nature, honey can help prevent tooth decay, despite its sweet taste.

If you are feeling under the weather, a dollop in your tea can also help relieve a headache, improve sleep, and soothe a sore throat by supplying nutrients necessary for warding off your worst symptoms.

10. Spinach

This leafy green is popular amongst parents everywhere, and it should be at the top of your grocery list as well. A great source of vitamin K, vitamin E, potassium, folate, copper, magnesium, and other important nutrients, this nutritional powerhouse is vital for staying healthy and disease-free. Eat a generous portion of spinach to lower blood pressure, prevent asthma, manage diabetes, and reduce the risk of cancer. The leafy greens can also prevent hair loss and weakened bones thanks to their high iron content.

11. Salmon

Oily fish like salmon are great for your heart. Eating two servings of fish a week can lower blood pressure and greatly decrease your chances of cardiovascular disease. Omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon can lower inflammation and slow plaque buildup inside blood vessels. It also stabilizes the heart and lowers the chance of abnormal heart rhythms. If you’re not a fan of seafood, you can also take omega-3 in capsule form.

When you’re young, setting goals for a healthy diet can also prime you for a healthy future. Whatever the goal, we all need our support group of family and friends to inspire and encourage us to keep aiming higher. At HSBC, we’d never claim to play a starring role in your successes, but can be part of your supporting cast. Together, We Advance.

To learn more about HSBC Advance, visit us.hsbc.com/advance.

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