Who said healthy eating should be boring? Nature offers us a wide array of superfoods that are not only very efficient in fighting and protecting from chronic diseases but are also utterly delicious. Think fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes…
Making a selection of only 10 of these nutritive powerhouses is not an easy task, but we have managed to compile a list of top healthiest foods that could serve as a good start towards a healthier lifestyle!
The Trendiest Foods of Them All
Recent studies have shown that Americans are turning towards healthier foods. In fact, healthy foods are a big trend among young people who are very responsible for what their families consume.
In the last few years, foods that offer medicinal benefits on top of their good taste have taken the world by storm and soared in popularity. Two of them are turmeric and apple cider vinegar.
You must have heard about turmeric because it is literally everywhere. And for a good reason. This herb contains curcumin, a compound believed to be very efficient in fighting various diseases, from cancer and diabetes to depression, without inducing any adverse effects!
How to eat it: You can add turmeric to almost all your favorite recipes – stews, meat dishes, potatoes, soups, salads, smoothies, juices…
#2 Apple Cider Vinegar
If it is organic, ACV can be a powerful natural remedy used for detoxification, facilitating digestion, regulating blood sugar levels, strengthening immunity. Moreover, it is credited with aiding weight loss but is also widely used as a teeth whitener.
How to eat it: The easiest way to include ACV in your diet is to mix it up in a simple vinaigrette and add it to salads!
Eating vegetables provides numerous health benefits since they are very rich in vitamins and minerals that enhance the body’s defense system, thus lowering the risk of some chronic diseases, including heart disease, increased blood pressure and some types of cancer!
In addition, veggies boost cognitive functions, rejuvenate the skin, improve blood circulation and much more, all for a very low amount of calories! And considering that veggies are rich in fiber as well, they are an ideal addition to your weight-loss plan.
The hardest question is: Which veggies to opt for? Here is a list of those especially rich in nutrients.
Kale belongs to the family of dark leafy greens which also includes spinach, Swiss chard, etc. Formerly dreaded by many, today kale is the most popular superfood among the young generation due to the high level of nutrients and antioxidants – vitamins A, B, C and K, calcium, copper, and potassium.
These nutrients help protect the heart, lower the bad cholesterol and blood pressure, etc.
How to eat it: Kale has a unique strong flavor so it might be wise to opt for baby kale. Include it in your morning smoothies and pesto recipes.
Asparagus is filled with a number of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin K, thiamin, and selenium, which improve all body functions and help the removal of toxins from the body.
In addition, this veggie is very rich in folates and is highly recommended to pregnant women, since folate is known to prevent neural tube birth defects.
How to eat it: Asparagus can be boiled, steamed, grilled, baked, fried, or eaten raw. Include it in salads and side dishes mixed with condiments of your choice!
This cruciferous vegetable is very rich in sulfur-containing compounds which fight cancer and heart disease. Moreover, broccoli’s florets contain high levels of vitamins C and K, as well as folate, manganese, and potassium.
How to eat it: For an easy treat, steam broccoli and serve it with butter and lemon as a side dish.
Garlic might be smelly but it is also very healthy! It contains a compound called allicin that keeps the health in good shape, decreases bad cholesterol, and controls blood sugar levels.
How to eat it: Garlic is commonly used as a seasoning in various dishes. If you don’t like its flavor and aroma, include it in cooked meals since the heat makes it sweeter.
Antioxidants are molecules that fight free radicals and inhibit oxidation of other molecules in the body, thus preventing cell damage. They may help decrease blood sugar levels, improving insulin sensitivity, protect the brain, nerves, and heart.
Some antioxidants cannot be produced by the human organism and that is why it is important to consume antioxidant-rich foods. Here are the top 3.
#7 Goji Berries
Goji berries are considered one of the world’s richest antioxidant source! No wonder they have been used in traditional Chinese medicine as an important element of a health-promoting diet.
How to eat them: Add them to your breakfast in the form of smoothies, smoothie bowls or on top of your oatmeal.
#8 Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate contains high levels of cocoa which not only boosts good moods but also increases cognitive functions, makes your skin healthier, increases insulin sensitivity, and boosts heart health.
How to eat it: Finally, a great excuse to eat chocolate! Include it in cakes, cookies, and various other desserts but in order not to spoil its healthiness, sweeten with honey or stevia.
These berries are very rich in antioxidant compounds including vitamins A, C, and E, anthocyanins, quercetin, selenium, and resveratrol. The polyphenols found in cranberries have anti-inflammatory properties and can reduce the risk of heart disease.
How to eat them: Besides including them in the omnipresent cranberry sauce this Christmas, you can add cranberries to breakfast granolas and cookies as well!
Pecans are especially rich in vitamin E which gives them the highest antioxidant capacity among all nuts, Besides adding crunchiness to your desserts, pecans help protect the nerves and the heart.
How to eat them: Pecan pie anyone?