sunflower seeds

Photo: caoyu36/istockphoto

2 of 5
In Your 30s

The Food: Sunflower Seeds
Why: Arthritis doesn't usually strike until later in life, but the joint damage that can lead to it starts in your 30s, says Kirkpatrick. Seeds like sunflower seeds are packed with healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which can minimize that damage by helping lubricate the joints and lowering inflammation.

Where else you can get healthy fats: Omega-3-rich foods include nuts, other seeds like chia seeds and flaxseeds and, of course, fish like mackerel and anchovies.

The Food: Asparagus
Why: It's high in folate, "which is an important nutrient whether you're pregnant right now or just thinking about having kids," says Jennifer McDaniel, RDN, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (Folate is the naturally occurring form of vitamin B9–folic acid is the synthetic version that's often added to fortify foods or used in supplements. There's no evidence that one form is better than the other.) Just four boiled asparagus spears have 22 percent of your daily folate needs. (You need 400 mcg per day normally, but 600 if you're pregnant and 500 if you're breastfeeding.)

Where else you can get folate: It's found in beans, dark, leafy green veggies, avocados and nuts.