A varied and healthy diet is one that includes nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables, high-fiber foods, healthy fats, antioxidant-rich beverages and foods and lean proteins, which all contribute to an individual’s energy and overall health. Some of these healthiest items are also beneficial in reducing an individual’s susceptibility to various diseases like cardiovascular disease and cancer through their combination of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and other disease-combating compounds. These nutrient-dense foods should be incorporated in your regular diet to ensure ideal health:
Fruits and Vegetables
While fruits and vegetables are always the better option as opposed to chips and cookies, some of them contain more nutrients than others. Lots of Vitamin A, C, and K can be found in dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale and they also comprise of carotenoids such as zeaxanthin and lutein that promote eye-health. Vitamin C, E and K can be found in cruciferous vegetables like Brussel sprouts and broccoli and the incidence of breast cancer may also be reduced with their levels of sulfurophane. Lycopene aids in fighting prostate and stomach cancer and it can be found in red bell peppers and tomatoes along with Vitamin C. As far as fruits are concerned, cherries, strawberries and blueberries have a high fiber content and are low in calories.
Antioxidant-laden Foods and Drinks
Free radicals are constantly generated by the body from everyday activities such as sunbathing, breathing and conversion of food into energy. Genetic material and cells are damaged because of excessive production of free radicals, which contribute to cancer development and heart disease in the future. In order to fight some of these radicals, the body makes some antioxidants whereas others are extracted from food. Rich in antioxidants, coffee and tea have been known to have beneficial outcomes including improved heart health and reduced risk of cancer.
Plant-based foods have a high fiber content, which can be helpful in reducing LDL cholesterol, maintaining bowel health and controlling blood sugar. Apples are loaded with fiber and also have ursolic acid, which increases muscle mass and energy expenditure. Oatmeal is high in potassium, folate and B Vitamins and aids in reducing LDL cholesterol.
The building blocks for enzymes, cells, certain hormones and neurotransmitters are the essential amino acids, which can be found in foods with high proteins. Not only calcium can be found in Greek Yogurt, but it also comprises of strains of bacteria called probiotics, which can benefit gut health. Lean beef is not only rich in protein, but also has a substantial quantity of zinc and iron. Zeaxanthin and lutein, which are promoters of eye health and choline, which enhances memory, can be found in eggs. Edamame, beans and lentils are also rich sources of proteins and are also high in potassium, folate, magnesium and fiber. They also keep the body safe from diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
Along with these foods, people can also consume healthy fats and provide their body with the nutrients they need for optimal functioning and health.