Many people believe that eating healthy foods is tied to weight loss or special conditions like pregnancy and illness. However, there are many foods that can and should be consumed everyday for optimal health. They are nutrient-dense, pretty affordable, and can be easily incorporated into many recipes. Six of these healthy foods are listed below.
How many times have you heard the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”? This fruit has been known to lower high blood pressure and reduce inflammation in the body. Apples also contain antioxidants and immune system-boosting vitamin C. The fiber in apples is excellent for regularity of the digestive tract and the pectin in apples breaks down gall stones allowing them to be passed with minimal discomfort. One of the top varieties is Red Delicious and is best when eaten fresh. To avoid ingesting the heavy pesticides, buy organic whenever possible.
In addition to being an excellent source of potassium, bananas have a wide variety of health benefits which include: controlling blood pressure, improving heart health, soothing ulcers, improving waste elimination, protecting eyesight, building stronger bones, and improving kidney health. Bananas are filling and satisfying. As an ice cream substitute, peel, slice, and freeze 2 medium bananas. Remove from the freezer and either blend or run through a food processor until smooth.
Widely known for its vitamin C content, lemons neutralize free radicals which can cause tissue inflammation and cancer. They are wonderful examples of healthy foods that can be consumed daily. Upon rising each morning, squeeze the juice of one lemon into 8-16 ounces of water and drink. In addition to boosting the immune system, the citric acid rids the intestinal tract of harmful parasites.
Carrots are healthy foods that contain high amounts of vitamins (like A, C, and K) and minerals (like potassium, folate, and manganese). It is one of the most powerful antioxidants and detoxifiers. Health benefits include improved eyesight, reduced acne breakouts, reduced risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), and cancer prevention. (Hester, 2007) Carrot ginger soup is a great way to enjoy all of these benefits. Peel and slice 4 large carrots, add 1 tablespoon of fresh minced ginger, add ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and add salt to taste. Combine all ingredients in a pot and cover with 6 cups of water. Boil until just tender. Blend until smooth and add sea salt to taste.
Spinach contains vitamins A, C, and K as well as folate, potassium, phosphate, selenium, and iron. It is good for fighting anemia and is a potent detoxifier. Spinach is high in antioxidants, has powerful cancer-fighting agents, has anti-inflammatory properties, and is excellent for bone health. Eat it fresh in salads, lightly sauté it, or even juice it along with carrots, apples, lemon, and ginger to cleanse your system and boost your energy levels.
Quinoa is a protein-packed grain that contains fewer carbohydrates and more healthy fats than other grains and meats. It is gluten-free and has high concentrations of iron, calcium, potassium, and fiber. Quinoa is high in antioxidants and heart-healthy. Use quinoa as a side dish or as a base for meatless dishes like bean burgers.
These six foods can be used in a variety of recipes, but they can also be enjoyed as side dishes or snacks. By consuming a variety of these nutrient-dense, healthy foods, the body will be able to heal itself and move quickly along the path to vibrant health.[stextbox id=”grey” caption=”About the Author”]Raychelle Muhammad holds a B.S. in Sports Management from California University of Pennsylvania. Her studies focused on wellness and fitness. She is also an NASM Certified Personal Trainer. Raychelle has worked as a trainer since 2006 and specializes in full body workouts, general nutrition, and flexibility training.[/stextbox]
Hester, D. R. (2007). 21 Pounds in 21 Days: The Martha’s Vineyard Diet Detox. New York: Harper Collins.