Nutrition and health go hand in hand; what you eat can make a big difference in how you feel and how your body responds to illness, disease and aging. While superfoods get a lot of press, there are other less exotic foods that can have a dramatic impact on your health and well-being. Some of the world’s healthy foods likely lurk in your cupboards or fridge right now, waiting to give your body a dose of disease-fighting vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Check out these seven foods you should be eating regularly for a jumpstart on the path to improved health through nutrition.
Cruciferous veggies, including kale, cabbage, broccoli, bok choy and cauliflower, are a smart choice for filling your plate with heart-healthy fiber and vitamin-rich goodness. These vegetables are also rich in antioxidants thought to stave off cancer, and may provide other benefits. Kale, for example, offers a per-serving vitamin C equivalent to that of an orange and also contains vitamin A to boost the immune system and promote healthy skin and eyes.
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Reducing your risk of stroke and high blood pressure may be as easy as adding a delicious, potassium-packed banana to your daily diet. One medium banana contains over 400 milligrams of potassium and is a good source of vitamin C, which promotes a healthy immune system. In addition, bananas contain resistant starch which the body cannot digest, so they keep you feeling fuller longer, making it easier to maintain a healthy eating plan.
Protein is essential for every critical function performed by the body. Turkey, chicken, pork and lean cuts of beef provide the protein you need with minimal saturated fat, giving your metabolism a boost and encouraging a healthy body weight. Do what you can to stay away from “marbled” meats. That fat is delicious, but can be a real negative in your diet.
For supporting heart health, few foods come close to the omega-3 fatty acid power provided by sardines, minus the levels of toxins that can accumulate in larger fish. Sardines also come loaded with vitamin D, which is essential for the optimal functioning of many of the body’s important systems.
Just can’t get passed the looks of sardines? A lot of people can’t. Settle for salmon. They are packed with omega-3 fatty acid as well, though they are in the larger fish category.
Whether tossed by the handful into a smoothie or served over yogurt, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries aren’t just delicious – they’re super healthy for you too. Berries are a potent sources of free-radical-annihilating antioxidants which can help reduce your risk of developing cancer while also slowing the aging process.
Whole-grain cereals such as oatmeal, brown rice and quinoa, give your body a fiber boost, ensuring your digestive system runs at an optimal level. The body digests whole-grain cereals slowly, which gives you more energy and keeps your blood sugar at a steady keel, reducing the need to store fat. In addition, whole-grains contain B vitamins, antioxidants and minerals that the body needs for good health.
Pomegranates offer more than tart flavor; they also provide your body with antioxidants that fight damage within the body that can lead to cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease. Whether you eat the fruit or drink the juice – both provide similar benefits.
Staying healthy requires making smart eating choices, and with these delicious foods on your plate, it’s easy to give your body what it needs to function at its peak. Incorporate as many of these nutritious foods as possible into your diet to promote your health now and in the future.