Mother nature has gifted us an arsenal of healthy ingredients and picking just one of these is an impossible task. Spices, such as curcumin, pepper, cloves and cinnamon, can heal damaged tissues, reduce chronic pain and give you a healthier body. There are oils, such as olive, pumpkin seed, walnut or almond oil, which can do wonders for your body and skin. There are healthy fats in fish, such as salmon, mackerel and cod, which keep the brain cells healthy and prevent dementia. Avocados, berries, figs, etc. are full of polyphenols that can fight cancer and prolong life. So, pick your favorite and customize your meal plan!
What are the most common healthiest ingredients?
Going to the grocery store regularly to stock up on ingredients is one of the healthiest habits. When people neglect grocery shopping, they resort to eating out, ordering in and snacking on whatever they can find. These indulgences are fine on occasion, but diets should mostly consist of foods that are good for health. A few common healthy foods may include
- Whole grains: Quinoa, barley, millet and brown rice are great to stock in your pantry. They are nutrient-dense and add bulk to the diet.
- Tuna and salmon: From a nutritional standpoint, tuna and salmon are great sources of lean protein, omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, zinc and iron.
- Almonds: They are healthy and good for snacking in the afternoon or before workouts. They can also be added to smoothie bowls and salads.
- Raw pumpkin seeds: These are little nutrition powerhouses. Besides tasting great, they also provide protein, fiber, magnesium, iron, zinc and chlorophyll. Raw pumpkin seeds give salads, yogurt, smoothie bowls and oatmeal a little extra texture and crunch.
- Dried figs: They are high in calcium, magnesium, fiber and potassium, which make them a nutrient-rich, filling snack with zero added sugar. They are perfect for making no-bake bites made with nuts and seeds. They can also be topped on yogurt, salads and oats.
- Eggs: Eggs are a staple in any kitchen because they are one of the most versatile ingredients. They are also a great source of protein and can be used in tons of meals. Hard-boiled eggs make a great salad topping or a healthy, on-the-go snack. Eggs are cheap and nutritious.
- Avocado: It is a superfood in more ways than one. Avocado is downright delicious. It is also the perfect, creamy addition to any savory dish. They are loaded with healthy fats for the body.
- Herbal tea: It is an easy way to stay hydrated. Also, it is unsweetened, so it is a better option than most packaged iced teas. Buy fruitier blends for springtime and look for ones that contain hibiscus, rooibos, citrus fruits or berries.
The best way to encourage healthy eating is to choose foods that you enjoy. Find those healthy foods that you love to cook and eat.
What are the healthiest nuts that I can eat?
Nuts are loaded with healthy fats, fiber and protein. Besides their mono- and poly-unsaturated fats, some nuts contain inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and other beneficial vitamins and minerals. It is best to eat a variety of nuts to maximize the unique benefits of each kind.
- Walnuts: They are considered good for the brain. Studies show they help fight depression.
- Pistachios: They are among the lowest in calories and the highest in fiber (one ounce of pistachios has three grams of fiber). They are also rich in antioxidants, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which are responsible for their vibrant color and may protect the eyes, skin and heart.
- Pecans: They are low in carbohydrates. Their abundant phenolic compounds make them a great snack after an intense workout when free radicals naturally increase from exercise. They are also one of the best natural sources of a compound called beta-sitosterol, which may help lower cholesterol.
- Almonds: Almonds are also rich in vitamin E (a potent antioxidant), zinc, mono-unsaturated fats and other vitamins and minerals. All these components maintain good health of the reproductive system and boost fertility.
- Peanuts: A recent study in the journal Nutrients found that the fiber, fat and protein combination in peanuts helped control blood sugar in diabetics. Peanuts are also rich in protein and plant sterols, the naturally occurring compounds that may block cholesterol from being absorbed into the blood.
Nutrition and Healthy Eating Resources
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Harvard Health Publishing: "10 Super Foods to Boost a Healthy Diet." https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/10-superfoods-to-boost-a-healthy-diet-2018082914463
University of Delaware: "Food & Nutrition Education Lab." https://sites.udel.edu/chs-udfoodlab/category/ingredient-of-the-month/page/3/