Eating a healthy diet is fundamental for physical growth and psychological health. Overall health is dependent on how well whole foods are incorporated into our diet.
You may not be overweight and you may be fit, but that doesnâ€™t mean you are making the right choices regarding your eating habits. A large variety of fresh produce is easily accessible to us and can assist in achieving the eating-healthy goal. Rotating and introducing whole foods into your diet increases the variety of nutrients you obtain from your diet and further provides balanced nutrition.
As we get older we want to ensure that our quality of life doesnâ€™t deteriorate due to unhealthy eating habits we have today. Eating a diet that is rich in vitamins and minerals is essential in having stronger bones and muscles while keeping chronic conditions and illnesses at bay. Below are 5 foods that can be included in your diet to increase variety.
1. Collard Greens
Collard greens are similar in nutrition as kale, but have a chewier texture and a stronger taste. Collards are high in soluble and insoluble fiber and help mange high cholesterol while offering protection against cancer and digestion disorders like constipation.
These greens are an excellent source of antioxidants and are rich in vitamins and minerals, specifically vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene. Vitamin A keeps the immune system strong and protects against many health conditions such as heart disease, premature aging and other types of cancer. Like all other types of dark leafy greens, eating collard greens are also a great way to obtain calcium from non dairy foods.
To obtain the benefits of this dark leafy green include it in your diet by adding it to soups, sautÃ© with other vegetables and using them as alternative to tortillas or bread. This healthy green is very low in calories making it an ideal food to add for anyone wanting to lose weight.
Technically a fruit although mainly used as a vegetable in many dishes, this fruit was once given a bad reputation because it is known to be high in fat. However, the avocado contains monounsaturated fats which are a source of healthy fat helpful in regulating cholesterol levels. It contains many nutrients including folate and is the best fruit source of vitamin E, a key vitamin which protects against many health conditions and diseases. T
he enzymes properties in avocado is great for digestion as it soothes inflamed mucous lining of the small intestine and stomach making it easier to absorb nutrients. It also contains glutathione which helps to slow down the aging process, improve immune system and encourages a healthy nervous system.
As an ingredient avocado is very flexible and can be made into dips, ice cream, soups and shakes. This is a great substitute for mayo with its creamy consistency. Add to sandwiches, wraps and omelets to replace cheese.
3. Pine Nuts
Mainly known as an ingredient in pesto these little nuts are packed full of nutrients including vitamins A, C, D. These vitamins improve the bodyâ€™s ability to absorb calcium for stronger bones and teeth and helps strengthen immune system. Pine nuts contain polyunsaturated fat of Pinolenic acid which stimulates the hunger suppressing hormones that trigger feelings of fullness, capable of holding back hunger. From all the nuts pine nuts have the highest amount of protein which can help control blood sugar levels throughout the day.
These tasty nuts have a light, nutty flavor which makes it a great add-on to salads, soups, pasta and sautÃ©ed vegetables.
An ancient grain similar to wheat, this grain is ideal for those with digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome as it tends to contain less gluten and is more tolerable for those with wheat intolerance (not recommended for those who have celiac disease). This grain has a whole range of nutrients including a great source of complex carbohydrates, soluble and insoluble fiber, vitamins, minerals, amino acids and much more. Eating whole grains such as spelt has been linked to the protection of diabetes, insulin resistance, cholesterol health and colon health.
Spelt is considered to be a better source of fiber than regular whole wheat bread as it also makes you feel full longer preventing over eating. This grain can be found in bread, pasta and flour used for baking.
This vegetable is great for promoting detoxification, beet juice is known to stimulate the liver and have anti inflammatory properties. Some people experience a harmless condition known as Beeturia the passing of red or pink urine after one eats or drinks foods that contain beets.
Although fairly sweet, it is very low in calories and fat making it a perfect food for any weight loss program. It contains significant amounts of antioxidants such as vitamin C. The whole root vegetable can be eaten including the leaves and is a terrific source of antioxidants. Beets contain vitamin A which is essential for the prevention of many diseases and needed for healthy aging. Because it contains both soluble and insoluble fiber it is good for those who suffer from digestive disorder. It also plays a role in reducing fat and protecting against heart disease and certain cancer.
You can eat beets raw, baked, steamed and pickled, in soups and salads, or juiced as part of a cleanse.