We all realize that we have to eat to live, but too little of the right kind of food can lead to poor health. The way we eat – the kind of food we buy, where we get it, how it is prepared – has become a part of our identity, a guiding force that shapes our quality of life.
Most of our processed foods, which are hugely popular, lead to poor health and it is high time those foods come with a warning label. But there is more attention being paid to what we eat than perhaps ever before. After decades of stocking our kitchens with meat, cheese and noodles, and simultaneously dieting to reverse the effects of all those fatty foods, we may be realizing that food is not just a way to live, it is a lifestyle choice.
EHC brings you a list of foods that are healthy and you should include in your daily menu.
Numerous studies show green tea’s health and weight lost benefits. The catechins contained in the leaves of the tea plant is the reason for its power. Catechins is a group of antioxidants that are powerful in their protective ability against illness and disease.
Beans are a good plant-based source of iron (up to 13 mg per 3/4 cup), a mineral that transports oxygen from your lungs to the cells in your body. Because your body can’t absorb the form of iron in plant-based foods as well as it can the form found in beef and poultry, pair beans with a vitamin C-rich food, such as sweet potatoes or lemon juice, to boost your iron absorption. Beans also contain good amount of fiber.
Almonds are high in the heart-healthy oleic acid that is responsible for many health benefits including a better memory. Almonds are high in fiber and protein and because they are so crunchy, just one ounce will go a long way compared to other nuts.
Blueberries are one of the most antioxidant rich foods in the world. Antioxidants are necessary for life and are well known to reverse and prevent heart disease and even cancer. The blue color of the berry comes from its polyphenols which provide most of its antioxidant properties. Blueberries are also high in vitamin C and fiber.
Bell Peppers come in many different shades such as green, purple, orange and red. Each of them, because of their color, adds a distinct different array of phytonutrients that will help to create optimal health. Bell peppers are dense with vitamin C and vitamin E, both protective against poor health.
Greek yogurt has less natural sugar lactose and more protein than regular yogurt. This means that ounce for ounce, you are getting a nutritional punch of calcium (a single cup has almost 25% of your daily requirement) and that translates to more lost body fat and better health. Yogurt also contains beneficial bacteria that calm down inflamed digestive tracts as well as boosting your immune system.
Healthy fat is critical not just to weight loss, but to optimal health and that includes your mood as well. The type of fat in avocados, monounsaturated fat, improves your cholesterol and decrease triglycerides (fats) in your blood. This means a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke. Avocados also put the brakes on cravings and hunger.
An excellent source of vitamin C, just one large orange contains a full day’s dose. Vitamin C is critical for producing white blood cells and antibodies that fight off infections; it’s also a powerful antioxidant that helps protect cells from free-radical damage and plays a key role in producing skin-firming collagen. Oranges are also high in fiber and folate.
Quinoa is one of the only plant foods that is a complete protein. It has more fiber and twice as much protein as brown rice; quinoa even cooks just like rice. It is chock-full of healthy nutrients and when you add the high fiber and high protein along with an added healthy fat, you have a food that will balance blood sugar and that means less weight and better health for you.
Compared to other commonly consumed fruits around the world, apples ranked second for highest antioxidant activity. Much of apple’s antioxidant presence is in the peel. So do not peel the apple – buy organic. Even though apples contain a modest amount of fiber 2-3 grams, half of this is pectin, which has a powerful impact on your health. Apples help create better health especially in the areas of heart health, diabetes, cancer, stroke and brain health.
Like other dark greens, spinach is an excellent source of beta-carotene, a powerful disease-fighting antioxidant that has been shown to protect against and fight heart disease and cancer. This dark, leafy green contains several important phytochemicals, including lutein, which helps prevent age-related macular degeneration. Spinach also contains lipoic acid, which helps antioxidant vitamins C and E regenerate. Spinach also contains a good amount of the highly important omega 3 fats.
Eggs are not only low in calories, they are a powerhouse of protein, vital nutrients, and healthy fat. Research has shown that people who replace carbohydrates with eggs for breakfast lost 65% more weight and egg eaters benefit greatly with more added nutrients to their diet. The high protein content in eggs not only balances blood sugar keeping you from being tempted by junk food, it helps to build muscle as well.
Sweet potatoes contain alpha and beta carotene. The body converts these compounds into the active form of vitamin A, which helps keep your eyes, bones and immune system healthy. These phytochemicals also operate as antioxidants, sweeping up disease-promoting free radicals.
This green powerhouse packs vitamins C, A and K (which helps with bone health) and A, as well as folate. It delivers a healthy dose of sulforaphane, a type of isothiocyanate that is thought to thwart cancer by helping to stimulate the body’s natural detox enzymes.