These are the top ten food choices that will help to improve one’s health and overall well-being – no matter what your current diet may be like.
It can be hard to feel in control of your own body, especially when you’re constantly trying to get more out of yourself than what’s available. This is where nutrition comes in – it’s a key part of staying healthy, and if you want to avoid getting sick or putting on an extra layer of weight (or both), then it’s time to make some changes to yourself to ensure your wellbeing and longevity. The options are many when it comes to how best to tackle these problems; whether it’s with supplements or the foods we eat, there are now a growing number of proven, effective solutions for addressing them.
Foods that have been shown to have an impact on improving immunity, reducing inflammation and helping promote good general wellbeing include avocados, fish, dark chocolate, broccoli, garlic and honey (and probably lots more). But while this list might not offer all foods that are great at helping us live longer, healthier lives, they are a useful starting point to look into. There is no single ingredient that’s going to magically give us the perfect complexion or boost our energy levels (although not saying that makes things any easier!). What does matter most is ensuring you focus on eating enough nutritious foods in order to ward off disease, rather than consuming unhealthy additives that often are only there because of marketing purposes. It’s important to remember just as much with dietary changes as it is other aspects of lifestyle. So before embarking on a new fitness regime or supplement campaign, it’s worth exploring your current nutritional habits to determine which ones may not be meeting your needs.
The Top Ten – Food Choices You Should Eat Every Day to Stay Healthy and Balanced
When we think about diets, there’s always been something so wrong with the idea of restricting ourselves to bland and bland food options for hours every day. While many of us will have different tastes and preferences, it’s important to recognise that everyone will benefit from enjoying a varied range of natural foods which can provide essential nutrients while retaining their flavour, texture and taste. Here are ten healthy options which are easy to incorporate into your daily life:
Avocadoes contain an impressive amount of vitamin A, C and E, which play vital roles in maintaining strong skin and a healthy immune system. They also contain pectin which acts as a prebiotic, meaning it helps keep gut bacteria thriving, which aids digestion and reduces certain conditions such as obesity and cancer. As well as being packed full of vitamins, avocados are high in fibre. One avocado has around five grams of fibre, making it a great addition to any morning toast. If you do eat an avocado, don’t be afraid to use it up! Eating a whole fruit provides the same amount of potassium as a banana or orange and plenty of folate.
2 Fish – Salmon, Tuna & Other Fruits
Fish (especially salmon) are known for their omega-3 fatty acids, which work to boost brain function and increase feelings of alertness. Omega-3s also aid in wound healing, reduce inflammation and improve memory. In fact, research suggests that patients who consume 3 g/day of omega-3 fatty acid have a reduced risk of developing dementia by around 20%. A study published in Nature found that older adults who regularly ate oily fish (like salmon, cod or mackerel) had significantly lower rates of heart disease.
3 Dark Chocolate
Chocolate has a lot of benefits, including giving us energy. Not all chocolate is created equal, though, as some contain very high amounts of sugar, cholesterol and refined carbohydrates. However, dark chocolate contains all three of these and is rich in antioxidants, flavonoids and other substances which are beneficial to our health. Dark chocolate is even better for those who suffer from diabetes as it contains less than a gram of sugar. In comparison to white chocolate, however, dark chocolate is generally lower in calories but still high in sugar. Most people who consume chocolate on a regular basis won’t gain much weight whilst doing so. Instead, they’ll end up with a little more belly fat since the sugar content of dark chocolate is higher. On average, dark chocolate takes about 20% less energy than non-dark chocolate (compared to white chocolate).
Blueberry contains the antioxidant anthocyanins, which have been shown to have anti-cancer and immunological properties; as well as improving mental and emotional wellbeing and helping to slow the effects of ageing. Additionally, there are some studies suggesting that blueberries containing anthocyanin antioxidants could potentially prevent Alzheimer’s disease by preventing formation of beta-amyloid plaques. Some studies have shown that people who consume high amounts of blueberries have lowered blood pressure and lowered the risks of high cholesterol levels.
Garlic in its raw form is a staple across the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in several health benefits. In this instance, researchers believe that the antimicrobial characteristics of the herb can be due to its ability to curb the growth of pathogenic microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract. Over the years, scientists have studied different types of garlic to see if there were any variations in this effect. However, the results have been mixed; some studies suggest that garlic increases the production of enzymes that prevent yeast infections. Others indicate that garlic has a protective effect against bacterial and fungal infections. Furthermore, garlic lowers blood pressure, regulates lipid levels and appears to lessen the development of the common cold. The consumption of garlic supplements will not provide the same health benefits, however.
Oranges contain a wide variety of powerful compounds which boost circulation, fight bacterial infection, ease digestive issues and support your immune system. Their high water content also helps to cool down your body. To make oranges more palatable, add stevia or a dollop of lime juice for added sweetness. The pulp can also be used in cooking. Just throw everything on to a blender, blend for a few minutes to create smoothies and drink throughout the day – you’ll reap the rewards later.
Broccoli can be eaten fresh or cooked, and as part of a light meal. It is one of the oldest ingredients out there which was discovered thousands of years ago and was used medicinally as early as 2000 BC. Broccoli is incredibly versatile and can be a source of nutrients such as calcium, protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals. Some researchers claim that broccoli can support bone density and aid in reducing inflammation, which can contribute to muscle loss, aging and diabetes. Studies also link broccoli to protection against breast and prostate cancer. For more information about the potential health benefits of broccoli, read this article from Harvard Medical School:
Whilst eggs are unlikely to cause death, they can cause allergic reactions to certain proteins in certain people. Always check labels on egg allergies if you’re unsure. Keep an eye on the serving size to confirm there’s no cross-contamination and you feel fine. Eggs are also low in fat and calories, so they are a terrific option when looking to reach your goal weight. Research shows that low-fat dairy products contain more B12, iron, zinc and probiotics than their equivalent sources. And thanks to recent developments in technology, it is possible to store some of these nutrients in the fridge for up to six months.
Turmeric comes in many forms, however, the main product is turmeric tea. Curcumin in turmeric tea is responsible for its medicinal properties. In particular, curcumin has been linked to supporting the development and maintenance of the central nervous system, treating liver damage and fighting viruses like herpes. According to research, adding turmeric tea to your diet will improve mood in individuals suffering from anxiety, depression and stress. More recently, curcumin has also been shown to help protect against Parkinson’s disease, although more research is needed to fully understand just how effective curcumin is. Alongside turmeric tea, try lemon, apple, cinnamon and ginger for additional benefits.
10 Honey (And Lots More!)
Honey is commonly considered bad for one’s health because of its high fructose content, which can lead to tooth decay. While this certainly isn’t true for all types of honey, some types are worse than others. Unsweetened honey tends to be sweeter, whereas sweetened honey is usually more concentrated in sugar. Added sugars include sucrose, maltose, fructose, glucose and sucralose. Whilst no specific limit exists, studies have suggested that people should never exceed 2–3 teaspoons per day. Honey contains no added sugar and therefore carries none on its own. It has many health benefits too, like aiding digestion and reducing constipation. A 2014 examination found that honey consumption led to improvement in mental wellbeing, decreased heart rate, reduced weight and improved sleep quality. Plus, it won’t kill you like caffeine will!
The Bottom Line Regarding Your Diet
To summarise, healthy eating doesn’t require drastic changes. Rather, it is about making real shifts within your daily routine to ensure you maintain a consistent routine and avoid indulging in processed foods and refined carbohydrates every once in a while, instead opting for a mixture of unprocessed options, colourful fruits and vegetables and whole grains. All in all, it’s pretty normal to feel overwhelmed by foods you’ve heard about recently, but instead of allowing yourself to become addicted to anything ‘new’ or trendy these days, learn to appreciate them for what they are – nutritious and tasty! Now that you know which foods can help you get your health back on track, start incorporating them into your diet now. With the right mindset and commitment, you’ll soon find that your life on a plate will be a little bit lighter than before!