The ideal way to successfully change your dietary habits, and have them reflect healthy, rather than unhealthy choices, is to focus on what you should add more heavily than what you should remove. There are so many amazing, nutrient-dense, wholesome and truly healthy foods that so many people are missing out on each day. So as part of this article I will share with you 5 super healthy foods that you should be eating on a regular basis.
If someone asked me 6 months ago if I would eat kale the answer would have been a quick no. I have never imagined myself ever in my life eating kale. I was just not one for those dark, leafy greens. I had a hard enough time with spinach.
Well that is the power of time and education! Today I have incorporated this green powerhouse on almost a daily basis.
Kale is packed and I mean packed with vitamins K, A and C not to mention offers many other vitamins and minerals in high amounts. Kale also has large amounts of the necessary antioxidants, phytonutrients and carotenoids. You can see a more detailed analysis of kale from World’s Healthiest Foods.
According to Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Nutrient Density Scores, kale, along with collards achieves the highest nutrient density score of 1000 beating all other vegetables and fruits.
Kale has the ability to strengthen our immune system, protect against cancers, heart disease and a whole slew of other diseases.
For more health benefits of kale, check out this article from Dr. Linda Posh.
But what about its strong taste that so many, including me find utterly unpleasant? Well you can be a big girl or boy and be strong about it by chopping up kale finely and making a salad. Other people prefer to steam kale and add it to various dishes.
As for me, I have found the ultimate way to enjoy kale and that is through a delicious pineapple-kale smoothie, that I enjoy on almost a daily basis.
Quinoa is an ancient grain from South America that the Incas used, and one that has gained incredible popularity over the last few years in North America and worldwide. It is a wonderful gluten free grain to include, which acts more like a seed without the heaviness that comes from some gluten-containing grains like wheat or barley. Most people are so used to rice, pasta and potatoes that they do not realize that there is a whole world of amazing grains out there, and quinoa is just one of them.
Quinoa is also packed full of phytonutrients and antioxidants and dense in several vitamins and minerals like: manganese, magnesium, iron, tryptophan, copper and phosphorus. Quinoa also acts as a pre-biotic as it feeds the flora in our intestines.
It has proven beneficial in maintaining proper levels of blood sugar, protecting against arthrosclerosis, cancers, heart disease, asthmas, migraines and the list goes on. For a complete list of the benefits of quinoa, see World’s Healthiest Foods.
Generally speaking this grain is unrefined and easily found as organic. Quinoa is eaten cooked and has a light, fluffy and nutty flavor. It makes a great addition to any main dish or can be made as a dish on its own.
Beans are one of the healthiest foods on Earth, yet highly lacking in most people’s diets. In fact, even health-conscious people rarely consume the daily serving of beans that research has shown to be highly helpful and beneficial for so many areas of our health. Beans are high in fiber and high in protein. They are an excellent source of healthy complex carbohydrates and not only provide optimal energy and fuel for our bodies, but also help keep us full longer. They reduce hunger and help maintain weight and aid weight loss. Beans are full of many vitamins and minerals, being nutritional powerhouses especially in the latter.
As Dr. Greger of Nutrition Facts explains in this video, there is also good research linking beans to increased lifespan and longevity. They are simply good for our bodies in that they create and keep a healthy gut flora environment, which further helps to maintain balance and health in our bodies. Beans help to keep our intestines clean, providing both cleansing and detoxification effects. They help reduce and maintain healthy cholesterol levels and blood pressure. They have also been associated with decreased risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other chronic diseases. Learn more from Forks Over Knives about why we should eat beans everyday.
Beans are typically eaten cooked, although some can also be eaten raw in their sprouted form. They are easy to add to any meal, right from breakfast through dinner, and snacks. They are great in soups and salads, wraps and other meals, and you can easily make all sorts of spreads and dips from them for your veggies, like hummus.
Teff is a super grain that most people are unaware of, which acts more like a seed than a grain. This grain comes from a grass whose history originates in Ethiopia. It has high concentrations of different nutrients. Some of these are very high calcium content and high levels of phosphorus, iron, copper, aluminum, barium, and thiamin. A great advantage to Teff is that the iron from Teff is easily absorbed by the body, so it is a great natural alternative for people who suffer iron deficiencies.
Due to its tiny size, Teff seeds are mostly bran and germ and so provide an excellent source of fiber. Teff is high in protein. Although it is not considered a complete protein, it has 8 essential amino acids for humans and lysine levels higher than that of wheat, millet or barley. For more information on Teff visit The Teff Company.
Teff also contains no gluten and hence is appropriate for people with Celiac’s disease. It helps to control blood sugar levels and aids in digestion and overall good health.
Teff is eaten cooked. It is a tiny grain (smaller than a poppy seed), and once cooked makes a flowing, soupy mixture. It is delicately sweet and nutty in flavor too. It can serve as an excellent breakfast cereal, or can be mixed with fruits and vegetables in various meal combinations.
5. Chia Seeds
I have begun eating chia seeds almost a year ago, and love it most as part of my green smoothies, which they help to bulk up nutritionally and calorically. Chia is an ancient South American seed that has been intensely studied and proven to have many nutritional and health benefits.
Chia is another nutritional powerhouse that offers the best omega-3 fatty acid balance and quantity, next to flax seeds. It is super high in vitamins, like vitamin C and B vitamins. It is super high in minerals, especially calcium, magnesium, potassium and iron. It is full of antioxidants and phytonutrients, and provide outstanding protection and prevention for our health against acute and chronic diseases. It helps to lower inflammation, reduce blood pressure, improve blood coagulation, control and treat diabetes, help with weight loss and optimize our energy. Chia seeds are also gluten free and a perfect food for people with Celiac’s disease, or those trying to avoid gluten.
Chia seeds are eaten raw and can be incorporated into any meal, simply by sprinkling them into or onto the meal. However, given their tiny size, it is better to blend the seeds as part of smoothies, spreads, sauces or dips, which prevents you from having the tiny seeds stuck between your teeth or trying to chew them.