Consistently eating healthy is sometimes a hard thing to accomplish, but it’s really about finding the right balance for your body.
I have always been mindful of what I put into my body, but a couple of years ago I became a little too obsessed I would say. I already avoided processed foods, but I decided to take it one step further and cut out all meat, dairy, gluten, and sugar from my diet. Now, I am not sure how many of you have done this (or maybe currently are) but you will realize that literally everything has at least one of those items in it! After months of limiting these foods, I came to realize that moderation is really the key to leading a healthy lifestyle while also being able to indulge from time to time. As my studies in molecular biology have taught me, there are so many things that can affect our cells, and the key is to always make sure that we provide our bodies with the proper nutrients that it needs to function at it’s best.
So on that note, I decided to share 5 foods that I believe we should all be eating frequently! Of course, if you have allergies or dietary issues with these foods you will have to look to other options.
1. Eat your greens!
Did you know that the antioxidant properties in spinach have been shown to actually reduce high fat and cholesterol diet-induced oxidative stress? What does this mean for you? Spinach may help to balance out a not so great diet if it’s eaten frequently enough. In addition, it’s also high in vitamin C and A. Other green vegetables, such as kale, swiss chard, and broccoli are also rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, folate, and potassium.
2. Good Old H2O
Okay, technically this isn’t food, but it’s so important I had to include it! While drinking water seems like a no-brainer, statistics have shown that approximately 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated! Water is so important for our bodies to function properly, yet many people are unaware that they aren’t getting enough. Wondering if you’re getting enough in your diet? See my post here.
Water plays a large role in digestion, liver detoxification, and proper absorption of vitamins and nutrients. So the next time you get a headache and think that you need a bite of food, think about the last time you had a large glass of water!
3. Go Nuts!
Who doesn’t love a good pistachio? Being a vegetarian, nuts are a staple of mine. One ounce of mixed nuts contains about 6 grams of protein! In addition, nuts are a great source of omega fats. There is some controversy surrounding omega fats and how much we should be getting, but one thing that everyone seems to agree on is that our diets are very high in omega 6, which may have inflammatory properties if consumed without the proper ratio of omega 3. Omega 6 is in most of the oils that are used in processed and packaged foods, such as corn oil, soybean oil and canola oil. Therefore, most of us get enough omega 6 without even trying. It’s the omega 3 and 9 that we need to focus on trying to incorporate into our diet. To take things one step further, however, our body is actually capable of producing omega 9 o its own, so all in all omega 3 is the one to focus on getting more of.
When thinking of omega 3, 6, and 9, it’s really about a balance between the three. Nuts typically have a combination of all 3, but with different ratios. To determine which nuts are best for you, a good approach would be to examine your diet and look at how much processed food you eat. If you seem to eat a lot of foods with canola, soybean, or corn oil, try limiting them while increasing your intake of nuts high in omega 3 and omega 9.
4. Beans, Beans, Good For Your Heart..
Just like nuts, beans are a great source of protein. They are also a great source of fiber, complex carbohydrates, potassium, and folic acid! One of the best health benefits of beans comes from their blend of protein and fiber. Together, these two help to make sure our digestive tracts move at a moderate pace and absorb more nutrients.
5. Get Fruity!
Last but not least, fruit! Just like vegetables, fruits are an essential source of so many different vitamins and minerals! They are also packed with antioxidants, which I discuss in depth here. While fruits can be super beneficial, moderation is the best policy since some fruits can have a pretty high sugar content. Among the healthiest in terms of lowest sugar content are raspberries, apricots and blueberries.
An interesting side note – many people are confused about what’s actually a fruit and what’s actually a vegetable. Did you know that tomato and eggplant are considered fruits? In case you’re wondering how to tell, anything with seeds is technically considered a fruit in the botany world. Now you know! 🙂
So there it is, 5 beneficial staple foods! Hope you enjoyed this post, and I would love to hear what some of your favorite healthy foods are!
Until next time,