Healthy foods are beneficial foods packed with protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants that can be added to your diet for better immunity system, a clearer head, and a happier and longer life.
Ever have one of those days when your entire body hurts, your skin breaks out, and your feel extremely tired? My answer is: that’s because you are eating the wrong food.
In my experience as a nutritionist, every day I meet people who are stressed, tired and feel ill without any particular reason. In most cases, people have a problem with the foods they consume and not with some illness. So, in this article, we are suggesting you some of the healthiest foods that are essential for your well-being. Plus, we are providing a long list of substitutes, so even the pickiest eaters could get better right now.
This beautiful green and leafy vegetable is truly beneficial for our health. Spinach is a rich source of folate and plant-based omega-3s, which help reduce the risk of stroke, osteoporosis, and heart disease. This muscle builder is packed with lutein, a strong compound that combats macular degeneration 1 . Opt for a ½ cup of cooked spinach or a cup of fresh spinach per day. A spinach smoothie can be an ideal choice, as well.
Alternatives: bok choy, kale, romaine lettuce.
Get your dose: Add spinach to scrambled eggs, make salads with spinach; place it over pizza; combine it with marinara sauce, add it to your favorite green smoothies.
Switch this up: Kale is a great choice if you don’t like spinach. Casseroled kale is a tasty meal choice: heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil, add 3 cloves minced garlic, and 1 tbsp. minced fresh ginger. Add 1 bunch kale (chopped) and 2 tablespoons water Cover and cook for about 3-5 minutes. Then, drain. Add 1 tablespoon sesame seeds and 1 tablespoon soy sauce.
- Black Beans
Although all sorts of beans are great for the health, still, no one can boost your brain power as black beans. That is because these beans are rich in powerful antioxidant compounds, called anthocyanins, which have been proven to improve the brain function 2 . Just ½ cup of black beans per day provides about 7.5 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein. These beans are also free of saturated fat and very low in calories.
Alternatives: Lentils, pinto, and peas, fava, lima and kidney beans
Get your dose: You can wrap some black beans in a burrito for breakfast; use both kidney and black beans in your chili; add lima, peas, or favas to pasta dishes; mash 1 cup black beans with some roasted garlic and olive oil for a healthy dip.
Switch this up: Tomato salsa and black bean. Chop 4 tomatoes, 2 jalapeños, 3 cloves garlic, 1 onion, 1 mango, and 1 yellow bell pepper. Mix in a container of black beans and decorate with some cup chopped cilantro and add the juice of 2 limes.
Blueberries contain more antioxidants than any other fruit that comes from North America. They can help prevent diabetes, age-related memory change, and cancer 3 4 . Many studies show that these berries, which are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber, also improve cardiovascular health 5 6 . Opt for one cup of fresh blueberries per day, or ½ cup dried or frozen. The easiest way to get all of their nutrients is by starting your day with a refreshing blueberry smoothie!
Alternatives: Purple grapes, strawberries, acai berries, raisins, and prunes
Get your dose: These berries maintain most of their power in a jam, frozen, or dried form.
Switch this up: An Amazonia berry, called Acai berry, contains even more antioxidants than the blueberry, or you can try blackberries.
Oats are packed with soluble fiber that lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease 7 8 9 . Well, oats are also loaded with carbs, but the release of these sugars is decelerated by the fiber. Due to their incredible 10 grams of protein just per ½ cup portion, oats can deliver great energy.
Alternatives: wild rice, flaxseed, and quinoa
Get your dose: Eat cereals and granolas that have a fiber content of at least 6 grams per serving. You can sprinkle 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed on salads, yogurt, and cereals.
Switch this up: Prepare a quinoa salad, which has 2 times more protein than most cereals, and lesser carbs. Add 1 cup of quinoa into 2 cups of water and place on the heat. Boil for 2 minutes. Let cool. Toss it with 2 diced apples, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, 1 cup plain fat-free yogurt, and 1 cup fresh blueberries into a large bowl.
Fresh tomatoes from the garden are definitely the best. However, you should know 2 things: the red ones are packed with more of lycopene, the potent antioxidant, and processed tomatoes are just as powerful as fresh ones because it is easier for your body to absorb this antioxidant. Studies found that a diet rich in lycopene can reduce the risk of lung, skin, bladder, stomach, and prostate, cancers, as well as decrease the risk of coronary artery disease 10 11 . Opt for 22 mg of lycopene per day, which is around 8 red cherry tomatoes or 1 cup of fresh tomato juice.
Alternatives: Pink grapefruit, red watermelon, guava, papaya, Japanese persimmon.
Get your dose: use homemade tomato sauce on your pasta, pizza, gazpacho and many other recipes.
Switch this up: pink and red fruit bowl. Simply chop 2 grapefruits, 1 papaya, and 1 piece of watermelon. Garnish with a few mint leaves. Or you can try watermelon, walnut, and mint salad: LINK
Walnuts are loaded with more polyphenols (great anti-inflammatories) than red wine and richer in omega-3 fatty acids than salmon 12 . These magnificent nuts are also packed with muscle-building proteins 13 . A portion of walnuts—about 1 ounce, or 7 nuts—is great anytime.
Alternatives: macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios, and peanuts.
Get your dose: Add walnuts to vegetable and fruits salads, or to pancake batter; grind and mix some with olive oil to prepare a marinade for grilled chicken or fish.
Switch this up: You can mix 1/2 cup dried blueberries with 1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks, and 1 cup walnuts.
Fermentation spawns’ numerous probiotic organisms, which serve as reinforcements to the throngs of beneficial bacteria in our bodies. That helps improve your immune system and aids provide protection against many types of cancer 14 15 16 . Remember, not all yogurts are probiotic, however, so when you buy one ensure the label states “live and active cultures”, or try to make your own natural yogurt (you can find what you need from people who raise goats, cows, or ships). Opt for 1 cup of the protein and calcium-rich goop per day.
Alternatives: Soy yogurt, kefir
Get your dose: Blueberries fruit yogurt (check out how to make a delicious homemade blackberries fruit yogurt: LINK) or breakfast or as a dessert. Plain low-fat yogurt is also an ideal base for creamy salad dressings.
Switch this up: Energetic smoothie: put in a blender 1 cup low-fat yogurt, 1 cup carrot juice, 1 cup fresh baby spinach, and 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries for a nutrient-rich blast.
Healthy foods help prevent certain health diseases, such as stroke, high blood pressure, and heart disease. If you take care of yourself and your family, you can keep your health within a safe range. People who follow a healthy, well-balanced diet decrease their risks of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes. Aim to eat the above-stated foods as much as possible, and follow a diet rich in unsaturated fats, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.