Choosing healthy food options isn’t always easy. With the vast variety of quick, simple, and cheap options available to us, choosing foods that have nutritional value has become more difficult. We should be striving to eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and poultry and low-fat dairy options on a daily basis. Furthermore, there are certain foods we should be incorporating into our diet that have healthful benefits.
The following is a list of the five healthiest foods we should all be eating. Each provides specific health benefits that can lead to a happier and healthier you!
1. Leafy Greens
It sounds easy enough, but when was the last time you enjoyed a big salad complete with spinach, romaine lettuce, and other leafy greens? Kale, a leafy green that can be added to any salad or compliment any lunch or dinner entrée, has anti-cancer and cholesterol-lowering antioxidants. Spinach is chock-full of iron, calcium, and a variety of vitamins.
See, there is a reason mom wanted you to eat it when you were a kid! It can also combat prostate cancer in men. Other leafy green super-foods you should add to your diet include cabbage, broccoli, turnip greens, and dandelion greens. All can be found in your local grocery store, fresh and ready to take home and prepare in a variety of ways.
2. Olive Oil
The people of the Mediterranean swear by olive oil and research shows that they have a valid reason to. According to WebMD, olive oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids which can lower your risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. Olive oil is also believed to reduce the risk of cancer and promote better brain cognition with aging.
However, it should be noted that olive oil is considered high in fat. Therefore, it should be used in moderation. Also, when it comes to picking out the right olive oil at the grocery store, consider choosing an “extra virgin” type of olive oil. This ensures it is less processed than many of its counterparts, providing you with the best health benefits.
Oatmeal raisin cookies, step aside. Steel cut oats, in comparison to instant oats, are a fabulous way to start your day. Oats are full of omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, folate, and fiber. Oatmeal is known to lower the levels of bad cholesterol while keeping you fuller longer. Research has also indicated that it can combat Type 2 Diabetes and reduce blood pressure.
Another benefit about oatmeal is that it is completely customizable. You can add any toppings you want for flavor or an additional health boost. Blueberries, bananas, a dash of brown sugar, or a few drops of honey are common. No matter what you add, oatmeal is quick, delicious, and easy to make.
You’re doing good if you’ve already decided to add blueberries to your oatmeal. Blueberries, considered another fantastic super-food, contain antioxidants, vitamins, zinc and iron. Blueberries are known to boost the immune system and fight aging in the body by curtailing free radicals. These small berries are also known to assist with weight loss in the abdominal area and increase the production of dopamine, leading to a happier you.
The best part? Blueberries can be eaten raw, topped on yogurt as a desert, or blended in a smoothie for breakfast on the go.
With so many varieties on the market to choose from, finding a yogurt that is not only delicious but also good for you can be a challenge. According to Prevention, yogurt that has less than 200 calories, 4 grams of fat or less, and 30 grams of sugar or less are the better options.
So why is yogurt so good for you? Well first, it contains bacteria. In comparison to popular belief, some bacteria are actually good for you, and this is the case with yogurt. The bacteria found in yogurt works to promote a healthy digestive tract which in turn can provide both digestive and immune system benefits. The calcium and Vitamin D in yogurt can also prevent osteoporosis, a disease that is common in aging. Yogurt is also known to reduce high blood pressure and help you feel fuller longer.
Incorporating these five foods into your diet does not have to be complicated. It simply means making a conscious effort to do so. In the end, you’ll be happy you did and your body will thank you as well!
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