Have you ever wondered which of the foods available in the market are really healthy? You know that fruits and vegetables are on top of the healthy food list – now you can find out why exactly doctors and nutritionists the world over recommend having at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables in a day. Here are 7 healthy food items, and reason why you should include these in your diet.
There is truth to the saying that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” for apples are known to be excellent sources of antioxidants that combat free radicals. Free radicals are substances generated in the body that cause are involved in the aging process and some diseases. Some studies have also shown that polyphenols found in apples may actually help extend lifespans. Another study shows that adult females who eat apples regularly had a 13% to 22% lower risk of developing heart disease.
Avocados do not get the credit they deserve. Many shun avocados because these are high in fat, but what they don’t realise is that although it is high in fat, it is high in what is called the good fat, the kind that helps reduce cholesterol. Furthermore, it has high levels of fibre and folate which help reduce the risk of heart disease. If you don’t want to eat too much, just add a couple of slices to your salad. Avocados help increase the absorption of nutrients such as beta-carotene by up to 5 times compared to salads served without this fruit.
This vegetable might be considered the bane of all little children. Not many kids would jump at the chance to have broccoli with their meals. But broccoli is very nutritious. One medium stalk holds more than 100% of your daily requirement for Vitamin K, and almost 200% of your recomended dose of Vitamin C – nutrients essential in developing strong bones, which (incidentally) also help stave off various forms of cancer. To best preserve the nutrients of broccoli – zap it in your microwave instead of steaming or boiling.
Yes – chocolate IS healthy! But in small portions. Dark chocolate is high in cocoa powder which is rich in flavonoids, about 53.5 milligrams compared to about 14 milligrams which can be found in regular milk chocolate bars. Flavonoids are anti-oxidants that help reduce levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and raise levels of “good” HDL cholesterol. This doesn’t give you an excuse to have a binge-fest on dark chocolate. Just 1/4 of an ounce a day is enough to do the trick.
Did you know that one red potato holds 66 micrograms of folate – and one sweet potato has almost 8 times the daily recommended level of cancer fighting vitamin A? That’s reason enough for you to have potatoes in your meal! Remember though, that when you serve potatoes, let these cool first before you dig into them. Researches have shown that cooling potatoes helps you burn up to 25% more fat after a meal! That’s because cooler potatoes have fat-resistant starch! Not so fattening after all (if you skip the sour cream or mayonnaise).
Salmons aren’t called the king of the sea for nothing! Salmons are great sources of Omega-3 fatty acids which, researches have linked to the reduction of depression, heart diseases and even cancer. Salmon also contains niacin – a vitamin that helps seems to protect against Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss. If you’re in the market and want to buy salmon, look for wild salmon as they have fewer PCB (polychlorinated biphenyl) than farm-raised salmons.
You’re nuts if you don’t include nuts in your diet. Walnuts contain the most omega-3 fatty acids in all nuts, and these fatty acids help reduce cholesterol levels. Apart from this, Omega-3s have also shown to be instrumental in improving one’s moods, and also fight cancer. They alsp help protect the skin against the harsh rays of the sun! One other benefit of having nuts, especially at night? Walnuts contain the antioxidant melatonin, which helps to regulate sleep.
As with anything – consuming these healthy food items must always be done in moderation. Just one or two of these added in your diet daily would do wonders fo your overall health and well-being.