Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and lean proteins are a lot more than just delicious food. Consuming unprocessed whole foods not only provides your body with the needed nutrients but they make your body function at its best on many other levels too.
Some of the foods I will list below are already healthier substitutes for the things you eat at home. As in many other aspects of life, don’t rush and throw every other food out just to stick to this list. Start small and try to incorporate one new food in your meals at a time.
Most of the berries are fully packed with various health-promoting nutrients. Scientists have linked regular blueberry consumption with weight loss, improved brain function, and lower blood pressure. Other studies have also shown that eating a small portion of blueberries daily can lead to a rise in the good HDL cholesterol in our blood.
Strawberries, on the other hand, are very dense in vitamin C, and consuming only one cup of them daily is more than enough to match the recommended daily intake of this vitamin.
Eggs are personally my favorite, and they are also known as nature’s perfect food. They are one of the greatest sources of high-quality protein, healthy fats, and various vitamins and minerals that are really essential for our health, including the antioxidant selenium.
In the past, they had a bad reputation because of the cholesterol in the yolks, but recent studies are showing that when consumed in moderate amounts, that cholesterol does not raise our blood cholesterol levels.
Another one of my favorites is avocado. In just one cup of chopped avocado, you get 240 calories, 22 grams of fat, 13 grams of carbs, 10 grams of fiber, and 3 grams of protein.
As you can see, more than 80% of the calories from avocado come from fat. But don’t worry, the fats from avocado are one of the good fats that I have talked about in my previous posts.
Studies have shown that regular daily avocado consumption can help raise oud HDL cholesterol without affecting our LDL or total cholesterol.
Bananas are one of the best sources of potassium and dietary fiber. Because of dietary fiber density, banana consumption is often linked to weight loss. They are also very portable, easy to eat snack food, so if you are trying to cut some weight down, you can always have a banana.
Another big one for controlling hunger levels and losing weight are all leafy greens. Although they are very low in calories, they are fully packed with beneficial vitamins, minerals, and enzymes.
Studies have shown that eating high fiber foods low in calories like salad greens, kale, spinach, and others, have a huge impact on weight loss.
When we talk about good fats, we cant skip olives. They are one of the best sources of monounsaturated fats, including a very important one, and that’s the oleic acid. The intake of this oleic acid has been linked to many health benefits like lower risk of developing heart disease and reduced overall inflammation in the body.
Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, and arugula are all in this group of vegetables. Same as the greens we talked about before, these vegetables are too, low in calories and really dense in fiber, vitamin C, folate, calcium, vitamin K and many plant-based compounds called phytonutrients.
8.Fatty Fish and Seafood
Fatty fish including tuna, salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, and anchovies are excellent sources of Omega-3 fatty acids which are crucial for our overall health, mostly for our brain health. They also are one of the best sources of vitamin B12 and iodine.
However, it’s not recommended that we consume these foods more than 2 or 3 times per week, because of their heavy metal content.
Chia seeds are a real nutritional punch. In just 2.5 tablespoons serving you get 5 grams of plant-based protein and a really nice source of omega-3 fatty acids know as alpha-linolenic acid and plant-based antioxidants.
Try sprinkling some chia seeds in your next oatmeal or add them in a cup of yogurt or smoothie of your choice.
Whole grains should be a very important part of any healthy diet. Grains have a bad rep because the food industry has come up with refined grains, which are basically grains that are stripped of the fiber and many other nutrients.
The non-refined grains such as rolled or steel-cut oats, wheat bread, brown rice, quinoa, and couscous are very dense in vitamins, minerals, and fiber and should be consumed daily.
Beans and lentils are the edible seeds from a group of plants that we call legumes. The most popular of them are chickpeas, kidney beans, and black beans. They all are full of plant-based protein, full of fiber, and excellent source or many of the B vitamins including B1.
Numerous large population-based studies are showing that regular consumption of nuts leads to reduced cancer and heart disease.
Almonds, cashews, pistachios, and walnuts are all great sources of good fats, but very caloric dense. Try to stick with a small portion like a quarter of a cup of lightly salted or unsalted, dry roasted nuts daily.
Full of antioxidants and with less caffeine than coffee, green tea us a very popular beverage around the world.
People that drink green tea are shown to have better focus and concentration and less anxiety. Give it a try and have a cup of freshly brewed green tea instead of the morning coffee.
Very often people use honey as a healthy alternative to sugar, while it’s really not that. Honey is a very good source of many antioxidants and vitamins that are really beneficial for us, but it’s very high in calories.
For the best effect, take one teaspoon of honey in your morning coffee or green tea, but don’t eat it in bigger quantities because when it comes to weight loss, it is just as “bad” as sugar.
Mushrooms are not the same as vegetables, they are fungi. There are several varieties including shitake, cremini, portobello, a shite button mushrooms.
They are very nutritious and full of fiber, vitamin B, copper, and potassium. Many vegetarians replace meat with portobello mushrooms because of their taste and texture.
Mushrooms should be consumed cooked to increase the digestibility of the nutrients present in them.
The Final Word
Being on a healthy diet doesn’t have to be difficult and scary. Combining a few foods from this list will always be a healthy meal recipe.
So, don’t be afraid to try something new. Next time you go shopping for groceries, add one or two foods from this list in your cart.