Becoming more healthy and fit starts in the kitchen. Eating the right foods at the correct portions will help you achieve the goals you are striving for; it can either be building muscle, losing weight, or just becoming healthier in general. In this list, there are foods that I recommend should be incorporated in your daily diet in order to form a healthier you.
Nuts & Seeds
Nuts and seeds are part of my everyday diet. They provide you with protein, fiber, and healthy fats. I probably eat them 2 or more times a day. I put nuts and seeds in oatmeal, smoothies/protein shakes, by themselves, homemade nut-butters, and so many other ways! Both nuts and seeds have a high fat content, but it’s a healthy monounsaturated fat that your body wants. Monounsaturated fats are known for lowering the risk of heart disease, lowering bad cholesterol, and brain health/performance—these fats are also found in olive oil, olives, and avocados. Nuts and seeds also contain omega-3s which lower the risk of brain disease, cancer, and arthritis. It’s very important to provide your body with omega fats because your body does not make this. Omega fats are mainly provided by fatty fish—such as salmon, tuna, and sardines.
My top picked nuts with the most nutrients and health benefits are almonds, cashews, pistachios, peanuts—extra brain performance power (technically a legume)—and walnuts—which are the best nuts for your heart. My chosen seeds for a healthier you are chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, and pumpkin seeds. Chia seeds help you from head to toe—literally! Chia helps prevent brain diseases and cancer, they also promote brain performance. Chia seeds ease pressure on joints and act as a detox factor in the digestive system; flax contains similar benefits due to the gelling properties. Hemp is high in protein and contains 10 essential amino acids. Pumpkin seeds are high in manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and protein!
All of these powerful nuts and seeds are essential for a healthy lifestyle and can be found in local supermarkets and natural food stores. [Note: nuts and seeds are utmost healthiest when consumed raw]
From your most well know berries, to the exotic ones found in mountains, they are all packed with nutrients! Either a handful in a smoothie, in plain yogurt, or a handful by themselves is a perfect way to get a dose of their vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.
Below are healthy, beneficial, and convenient berries↓↓
- Blueberries– These little berries are know for their free-radical fighting power from antioxidants. Blueberries help fight against and prevent conditions, such as cataracts, heart disease, glaucoma and many more! According to the American Institute of Cancer research, “We now know that blueberries are one of the best sources of antioxidants, substances that can slow the aging process and reduce cell damage that can lead to cancer.” Overall, blueberries are a pretty amazing food that can build a healthier you.
- Goji Berries– Goji berries are considered a superfood! These berries aren’t located in your normal produce section; they’re usually found in the organic aisle or at a local natural food store. Goji Berries are found dried in stores because they are grown in a high altitude of the Himalayan mountains. They are lightly sweet at first, but finish with a subtle chocolate flavor. These little guys contain 18 essential amino acids, high amounts of vitamins B1, B2, B6, E, and have more beta-carotene than a carrot! I enjoy Goji berries in home-made trail mix, in oatmeal, on yogurt, and salads.
- Strawberries– Strawberries are enjoyed in multiple ways—in breakfast, lunch, dinner, and desserts! They have a sweetness that pairs well with many different meals and dishes. Strawberries are packed with antioxidants and vitamins, such as potassium, B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium, and more. Even when not in season, try to get frozen ones—they’re are still full with as much nutrients and flavor, just make sure nothing is added to the frozen package.
- Cherries– Many people don’t characterize cherries as berries, but they are! These delicious berries-on-stems are one of my favorites. Why? Because they prevent/reduce muscle and joint soreness. So, after a hard workout, incorporate these alongside your post-workout snack or shake. Cherries are the only food that contains melatonin—a natural sleep aid. So before bedtime, have a handful as your nighttime snack.
Many diets and fads give a bad rap on whole grains, saying that they, “make you gain weight”. But, the grains that make you gain weight are the simple ones (ex. white bread, instant oatmeal, pastas). Simple grains are heavily processed which takes out the nutritious germ and bran; these important parts of the grain contain nutrients, such as antioxidants, fiber, and B vitamins. Whole grains actually prevent obesity! A serving of whole grains should be incorporated into every meal of the day. Some of my favorite grains include oats (rolled or steel cut), quinoa (technically a seed), buckwheat, couscous, and brown/wild rice. I’m always looking to try more!
Eat your Leafy Greens!
Obviously vegetables are important for a healthy lifestyle, but leafy greens are the most important ones. They contain vital nutrients that are known to boost your metabolism, immune system, aid digestion, increase brain performance… and basically support your whole body! 6-8 servings of vegetables a day are needed for a healthy lifestyle. My personal favorite greens are spinach, kale, swiss chard, and broccoli.
Spinach is high in vitamins A and C. Spinach can be enjoyed in many simple ways too; sauteed, salads, soups, smoothies, and many other ways!
Kale is a popular green, it contains high quantities of vitamins A, C, K, and even a tremendous amount of calcium for a vegetable. My favorite way to eat kale is sauteed or in a salad.
Swiss chard is a leafy green with colorful and appealing stems, ranging from colors of yellow to pink! Like spinach, it is high in vitamins A and C. My favorite way to enjoy swiss chard is in a sautee of multiple leafy greens my mom and I make. Swiss chard is delicious in salads or even juiced!
Broccoli (AKA trees) are so versatile in flavor and meals that they can be used in. These little “trees” are high in vitamins A,C, and potassium! I love broccoli in every way; steamed, raw, roasted, and sauteed.
These foods will all help support, maintain, and sculpt a healthy body. Eating these foods DAILY will help provide your body with nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that your body thrives for. Eat up! 😄
[sources] www.umm.edu www.fitness.com www.globalhealingcenter.com Photo-www.gud2travel.com www.glossophilia.org www.vegkitchen.com www.goodhousekeeping.com www.thescienceofeating.com