Eating a diet that’s high in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients is one of the best decisions you can make for your health. It’s all too easy to turn to unhealthy foods.
Far too many people have meals consisting of harmful things such as sugar, trans fats, and saturated fats. Sure, they might taste good, but these types of foods are terrible for your health. In fact, they may put you at a high risk of several different kinds of serious illnesses. Eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly helps keep your weight at healthy levels. It also helps strengthen your immune system.1
If you’re stuck in a rut and need some inspiration to start a healthy diet, look no further. Here’s a look at some of the vegetables and snack foods you should consider.
Fresh Vegetables And Dark Leafy Greens: Swiss Chard, Salad Greens, Asparagus, And More
Vegetables are not only a great source of vitamins and minerals, they’re also low in calories. Here are just a few vegetables that will make a great addition to your diet.
This vegetable contains potent antioxidants. Antioxidants help fight free radicals, which are molecules that can do serious damage to your tissues and cells. Swiss chard contains antioxidants such as vitamin E, vitamin C, and beta-carotene. These nutrients help fight against free radicals.2
Another reason Swiss chard is one of the most nutritious foods is that it contains a good amount of fiber.
Fiber helps keep your cholesterol levels in check, and also helps you maintain regular bowel movements.3
How much daily fiber do you need? According to dietary guidelines provided by the American Heart Association, adults should consume about 25-30 grams of fiber from foods per day.4
Salad greens such as arugula and spinach are also packed with critical nutrients, including vitamins A and C, calcium, fiber, and many others. They’re not only low in calories, but they’re also high in calcium. Salad greens, like many other leafy greens, also have antioxidant properties.5
Asparagus is high in potassium.6 Potassium can support a healthy blood pressure and it can help your body get rid of excess salt.7
Cruciferous vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, kale, and cabbage also deliver powerful health benefits. They contain a lot of vitamins and minerals, and they’re also an excellent source of antioxidants.
By the way, the term “cruciferous” refers to the Latin word cruciferae, which means “cross bearing.” The plants from which cruciferous vegetables are born have petals that are typically shaped in the form of a cross.8
Healthy And Nutritious Snack Foods: Greek Yogurt, Berries, Chia Seeds, Macadamia Nuts, Avocado, And More
Who doesn’t like a good snack between meals? Instead of turning to unhealthy foods packed with sugar and salt, such as candy and chips, think about eating some healthier alternatives.
Yogurt is one of the more nutritious fermented foods. Greek yogurt is particularly nutritious. One of the reasons is that it’s not only rich in calcium, but protein as well.
According to one study, participants who consumed fermented milk in combination with probiotics (beneficial microbes that help digestive health) saw a significant reduction in blood pressure.9 Greek yogurt is a form of fermented milk that contains probiotics.
Berries make for a great snack, and they’re great for you as well. Strawberries and raspberries, for example, can support healthy cholesterol.10,11 They also contain plenty of antioxidants.
Berries contain ellagic acid, which is thought to help inhibit the breakdown of collagen.12Collagen is a protein that gives skin its elasticity.
When it comes to good sources of plant-based protein, it’s hard to beat chia seeds. You’ll get more than four grams of protein in one ounce.13
Chia seeds also contain several amino acids. Amino acids allow your body to use the protein you consume.14 A diet high in protein can help to reduce appetite, which may help you resist the urge to snack too often.15
Macadamia nuts contain polyunsaturated fats. These are healthy fats, unlike saturated fats that can contribute to heart problems. One study found that people who ate macadamia nuts for one month had a lower risk of developing cardiovascular issues.16
The avocado is more than just something that makes a great dip. Avocados have several different important nutrients. These include potassium as well as vitamins B5, B6, C, and E.17
Other Incredibly Healthy Foods
There are a lot of other tasty foods you should consider adding to your diet. Here’s a brief look at a few of them.
Grains – Grains, such as oatmeal and wheat bread, contain magnesium, iron, and many other nutrients. They’re also high in fiber.18
Lentils – Lentils contain antioxidants that may support a healthy heart19
Coconut oil – Coconut oil is a healthy addition to a lot of different foods. Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides, substances that may benefit energy levels.20
Get Medical Advice Before Changing Your Diet
As you can see, there are a lot of great food choices you can make, instead of reaching for unhealthy foods. However, you should never change your diet without talking to a doctor first.