Most people realize that it is important to eat fresh fruits and vegetables on a regular basis, but many food items are overlooked when it comes to their nutritional values.
There are many foods that can prevent or even sometimes reverse disease, slow down the aging process and strengthen the immune system. The food choices you make today can make a big difference for your tomorrow; here are just ten healthy eating facts about foods you should be enjoying to their fullest on a regular basis.
1. Don’t skip the beans. Many people are adverse to eating beans because of their effect on them, but there are ways to lessen the impact. Soaking the beans overnight before cooking, and then changing the water before cooking can eliminate this problem. They are nutritionally dense and are one of the best foods for keeping blood sugar stable, making them a must-have for preventing diabetes.
2. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), sweet potatoes claim the top spot among eighteen common vegetables for the most nutritious food. A point scale was given based on fiber, type of carbohydrate, natural sugars, vitamins, iron, calcium and protein. Sweet potatoes are packed full of healthy antioxidants, vitamin A, B6, C and beta-carotene. Sweet potatoes also have the lowest glycemic index of all root vegetables, making them a much healthier choice than the average baked potato.
3. Organic extra virgin coconut oil is one of the healthiest foods you can put in and on your body. Be sure that any coconut oil you buy is made from non-GMO (non-genetically modified) coconuts, is cold pressed and carries a certified organic label to ensure you are getting the real deal. Coconut oil contains around fifty percent lauric acid, a component found in human breast milk. It supports a healthy immune system and a healthy metabolism. It is currently being studied for its anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties.
4. Raspberries are not only tasty fruit, but they also provide ellagic acid which can help stall cancer-cell growth. They are a great source for vitamin C, fiber and can help reduce high cholesterol and prevent heart disease. One cup of raspberries only has one gram of fat and sixty calories, making them a wonderful alternative to sugary and empty calorie cakes or cookies.
5. Figs are not one of the first thought of fruits, but they should be. Figs are an excellent source of potassium and fiber. Figs also contain the much needed B6 vitamin which is responsible for producing serotonin. Serotonin is the body’s natural mood-booster and responsible for how relaxed we feel. Incorporating foods rich in vitamin B6 can help alleviate mild anxiety and boost serotonin production.
6. Ginger has long been known as the go-to vegetable for easing nausea and queasiness, but it is also an excellent anti-inflammatory. Compounds found within ginger block prostaglandins which cause arthritic and migraine pain. Ginger can be used in cooking, drank as a tea or juiced in fresh juice. Its sweet, spicy and pungent flavor not only enhances food dishes, but your health as well.
7. Garlic is a root vegetable many people know fairly well, but they may not realize all the astounding health benefits that it possesses. Garlic gets its sharp and pungent flavor from sulphur compounds, effective in lowering bad, or LDL, cholesterol. Garlic can also lower blood pressure and reduces the risk of stomach and colon cancer. Garlic is a powerful broad spectrum antibiotic due to the compound allicin, a volatile oil that has proven to eliminate many bacteria on contact.
8. Lentils are packed full of isoflavones, a compound especially beneficial for women experiencing menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and decreased bone density. It also contains plenty of fiber making it a heart-healthy choice and just a half-cup provides nine grams of protein.
9. Yogurt is one of the best foods to ensure a healthy digestive tract. The live bacteria found in active-culture yogurt can help fight yeast infections and overgrowths. It is also a great source of calcium for those with lactose intolerance. To keep calories and sugar content down, buy plain organic yogurt and mix in your own berries.
10. Salmon is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which reduces the risk of heart disease. A three ounce portion of salmon only has 127 calories and 4 grams of fat, so it should be on every individuals list of must-have foods. It is best to look for wild-caught salmon from the waters of Alaska to avoid heavy metals, and avoid farm-raised seafood at all cost.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be a chore, the key is finding foods you love and incorporating them into your meal planning on a regular basis. Even small changes can have a big impact on your overall health and well-being.