Some people think that in order to eat right and maintain a healthy lifestyle you need to eat boring or bland food. This is simply not the case. There are many common foods full of preventative nutrients and antioxidants. Knowing what health benefits you get from the foods you eat is the first step to a healthy lifestyle.
Here is a list of the top ten preventative health foods. All you need to do is try to include one or two of them in your daily diet to get some amazing health benefits.
1. Whole grains
Everyone knows whole grains are good for you but they have actually been shown to help delay a collection of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. The whole grains council reports that it is shown to be especially beneficial to the elderly studies suggest that making the switch can create almost immediate benefits. Three or more servings a day are suggested. Make sure to look on the package for “whole grain” and not just wheat, you want to make sure you get all the nutrients.
2. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are low in calories and high in vitamins and nutrients. Usually called yams, they are packed with vitamin A and C as well as manganese, fiber, potassium and iron. They are also full of anti-inflammatory nutrients and can be helpful in reducing the symptoms of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma. Since sweet potatoes have a relatively neutral flavor it is easy to season them and switch up the flavor palate.
Avocados combine the protein of meat with a wholesome kind of fat, as well as the vitamin content of a serving of greens. Famed as the most wholesome of fruits avocadoes are praised for their perfect package of wholesomeness. They are easy to eat and even easier to digest. Some people avoid them saying they are high in fat, which is true, a single avocado contains about 30g of fat. However, it’s the kind of fat that contributes to a healthy HDL (high-density lipoprotein, or “good fat”) cholesterol level.
4. Citrus fruits
Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine and is shown to help reduce the severity of cold and allergy symptoms. All citrus fruits are loaded with vitamin C. Vitamin C is also an important part of the rebuilding of collagen and can be useful in the healing process. Symptoms of a deficiency in vitamin c include swollen or bleeding gums, easy bruising, and difficulty healing.
Bananas are a great source of potassium, magnesium, fiber and vitamin B6. A deficiency in vitamin B6 can cause insomnia, irritability, and tiredness. Eating a banana before bed can help you fall asleep faster. The potassium regulates your blood pressure and helps your muscles to contract properly in order to reduce cramping while exercising. The combination of high fiber and carbohydrate count makes them great energy food, like for endurance running, and they are easily digested.
6. Acai berry
Similar to blueberries, acai berry, a purple Brazilian fruit has been acclaimed recently for their energy boosting antioxidants and omega fatty acids. Antioxidants are nutrients and enzymes that bond with free radicals in our cells. Free radicals are highly unstable and get energy from feeding off the electrons in our cells and they are believe to be at least partly responsible for the development of such diseases as Rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, heart disease, cataracts, Alzheimer’s, and stroke. Other great sources of antioxidants include goji berries, aged garlic, and tulsi.
Tomatoes include lycopene an element not naturally produced in the body. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that is shown to be critical in the prevention of many types of cancer including esophagus, cervical, prostate, colon, and rectal cancer as well as cancers of the mouth, stomach, and pharynx. A great pasta sauce is an easy way to get at least a full serving of vegetables in one meal.
Broccoli is full of fiber and great for regularity but it’s also a great source of calcium and folic acid. A unique characteristic is that broccoli has both soluble and insoluble fiber helping you meet daily requirements for both. It also contains high levels of vitamin A, C, and lots of beta-carotene, all of which are important in reducing your risk of heart disease and several cancers.
Legumes, like beans and peas, are low in fat and high in benefits. Full of protein and soluble fiber beans help with digestion and help to slow down the absorption rate of carbohydrates in your blood stream helping to keep your blood sugar level. An added benefit is that you stay fuller longer so beans can be helpful in your weight loss efforts. They also have significant levels of iron, folic acid, magnesium, and copper.
Recent studies show that almonds and nuts greatly reduce a persons risk for heart disease. Viewed previously as a fatty snack, a daily serving of almonds or nuts are shown to have lower risks of stroke, type two diabetes, gallstones, advanced macular degeneration, and dementia and has also been show to significantly reverse metabolic syndrome. Try adding them to a salad for some nice texture.
Try using one or more of these super packed foods in your daily meals. Get creative while you get healthy. Mix beans, tomatoes, and some chili seasoning with ground, browned turkey for super healthy chili. Try making a fruit salad topped with cool whip for desert instead of cake or ice cream. Try adding one or two new foods into your diet each week. Before you know it you’ll be eating and feeling better.