Healthy eating choices are not simply about weight loss and looking good in your favorite pair of skinny jeans.
They are about maintaining a good quality of life. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, over half of the adult population has a chronic disease related to diet.
Fortunately, even small choices can have a profound effect on your health. These ten foods are a great place to start your journey towards living a full and healthy life.
There is a reason for the old proverb about avoiding the doctor by eating an apple each day.
Apples are an excellent source of fiber and vitamin C. They are packed with antioxidants, which keep your cells healthy and damage-free.
Apples are a nutritional food that can be eaten as a snack or part of a meal. They go great with granola, mixed into a healthy salad, or by themselves.
While most fruits are jam-packed with carbohydrates, avocados are a fruit of a different tree.
They are a great source of healthy fats that provide you with energy and encourage cell growth. Avocados are also high in potassium, fiber, and essential vitamins.
A 2019 study of avocados showed that they may possess anti-cancer properties. Practice healthy eating by throwing an avocado into your morning smoothie or mash some into a pulp to eat with some whole-grain pita bread.
For a big fiber boost, consider adding berries to your daily diet. Due to their high levels of antioxidants blueberries, in particular, are considered one of the best superfoods in the world.
Many studies have supported the healthy attributes of blueberries. Along with fighting obesity, they help prevent high blood pressure, hypertension, and even Alzheimer's disease.
4. Broccoli & Kale
Broccoli and kale are among a group of vegetables known as cruciferous vegetables.
These low-calorie superfoods are tasty cooked or raw. They give you a big burst of fiber, as well as vitamins K and C.
Broccoli's high levels of phytonutrients make it a heart-healthy food. Both vegetables are an extremely healthy addition to any diet.
If you aren't sure how to incorporate them into your diet, health coaching is a great place to get some creative guidance.
5. Dark Chocolate
Eating healthy does come with its indulgences. Dark chocolate not only satisfies your sweet tooth but has powerful antioxidative properties.
This doesn't mean that you should eat an entire bar of chocolate every day.
Like with every food, it's about finding a healthy balance. Eat one or two squares of dark chocolate a day to maximize health benefits. Seventy percent cocoa is a good start, but if you are feeling adventurous try something even darker.
For decades, eggs have bounced between "healthy eating" and "foods to avoid" lists.
This is because eggs have high levels of cholesterol. However, a 2017 review of egg studies found that the risk of developing heart disease does not increase when up to seven are consumed weekly.
There are many benefits to incorporating eggs into your diet. Eggs have high levels of B-vitamins necessary for conserving energy and producing red blood cells. They are also an excellent source of protein.
If you are still on the fence about eggs, then another healthy source of protein is fish.
Along with providing the body with lean and nutritious energy, fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids and iodine. Omega-3 has many heart benefits and is also believed to aid with joint issues, such as arthritis.
For the greatest dose of omega-3s, stick to oily fish. These include salmon, trout, anchovies, sardines, herring, and mackerel. However, consuming any type of fish is still a healthy alternative to red meat and high-fat proteins.
When you commit to healthy eating, spinach is the way to go. It is loaded with great vitamins and minerals. Some of these include:
- Vitamins A, B, C, E, & K
If you are not a fan of spinach, you can also try chard. Although many people consider kale a suitable alternative, it is not actually related to spinach. Spinach is part of the beet family, while kale is in the brassica family.
Nuts are a quick, easy, and nutritional food to add to your diet. They are calorie-dense and high in healthy fats to help cut cravings and leave you feeling fuller longer. Nuts are also a heart-healthy food.
Almonds have been shown to reduce cholesterol that clogs arteries and leads to heart attacks.
Pack a few Brazil nuts in your purse for a mid-day snack. Roast some walnuts to add to your healthy leafy green salad. Or, grab some almond butter to eat with a sliced apple.
10. Sweet Potatoes
This list would be incomplete if it didn't include at least one starchy food.
When it comes to healthy eating, sweet potatoes are an all-around good choice. Their bright color is caused by the presence of carotene, which our bodies convert into vitamin A.
This vitamin plays an integral role in immune, bone, and eye health. When compared to other vegetables, sweet potatoes are a top source of vitamin C, calcium, iron, protein, and complex carbohydrates.
Another great thing about sweet potatoes is you can prepare them to be savory or sweet. Roast some wedges up with garlic salt and serve them with a side of ranch. Or for something more decadent, enjoy baked sweet potatoes with a bit of cinnamon, butter, and a sprinkle of brown sugar.
Healthy eating doesn't always have to be a struggle. Add these ten foods to your diet to maximize your intake of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
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