By Dt. Manoli Mehta
Having a healthy diet isn’t just being aware of what you shouldn’t eat. Many people believe that the crux of a healthy diet is the exclusion of unhealthy foods. However, a good diet should also incorporate an increased intake of nutritious, health-boosting foods. Here are 10 of the best foods for healthy eaters to stock up on. Incorporating these superfoods into your daily diet will boost your immunity and keep you healthy as well!
- Nuts are also a great source of protein and are packed with fibre, antioxidants, fatty acids and vitamins and minerals.
- Nuts are also packed with calories – so enjoy in moderation. However, you should be aware that those calories come mainly from high levels of monounsaturated fats; which are extremely good for you.
- Eating foods rich in these fats can help lower bad cholesterol and cut your risk of heart disease and a stroke.
- We’re not just talking peanuts here; look for almonds, cashews, walnuts and pistachios.
2. Dark Leafy Greens
- We’ve all been told to ‘eat our greens’ as children. And it seems our parents were right.
- Dark, leafy greens such as spinach, methi/fenugreek, watercress and kale are bursting with nutrients including iron, calcium, potassium and vitamin C, and packed with health-boosting phytonutrients.
- Some of the reputed health benefits of eating your greens include a lower blood pressure, improved eye health and a reduced risk of cognitive decline.
- Quinoa is a recent discovery for many, but has become widely available and is must on any healthy eater’s shopping list.
- Mostly treated as a grain (although it is actually a seed) it can be used in the place of pasta, wheat or oats for an extremely nutritious meal.
- Quinoa, like most grains, is high in fibre, making it great for the digestive system. However, perhaps its best attribute is that it is one of the few plant sources of high-quality protein containing eight essential amino acids.
- On top of this, it is a great source of nutrients including magnesium, manganese, iron, calcium, potassium and several B vitamins.
- Strawberry, Raspberry, Acai berry, Blueberry, Goji berry, Blackberry. There almost seems to be too many berries to choose from. Luckily, you generally can’t go wrong with any commercially available berry.
- These super healthy fruits are extremely high in antioxidants. Many different berries have individual health benefits, including the ability to help prevent dementia (blackcurrants and boysenberries), fight off colon cancer (blueberries), improve vision (bilberries) and ward off urinary tract infections (cranberries).
- Oats are a key part of a healthy diet as they provide slow release energy, meaning that they will keep you feeling fuller for longer.
- Grains are notoriously good for your health and the closer they are to their natural state when eaten the better their benefits. This means that whole oats are a particularly good choice.
- Oats contain many minerals, including zinc, iron and calcium and are a good source of B vitamins, which are great for the nervous system. They also have many other health benefits.
- These include helping to reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes, lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure and benefit the digestive system.
- This is a staple in every Indian household, but did you know that curd is full of good bacteria that helps maintain your gastrointestinal health.
- Nutritionist Manoli Mehta suggests that we should avoid frozen curd or curd with added sugar and fruits at the bottom because of its high sugar content; instead have plain curd with berries and flax seeds or muesli.
- Eggs are a good source of protein and they contain all the essential amino acids.
- The yolk of the egg contains most of the nutrients, half the protein, vitamin A, D and E and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) – also known as the “good” cholesterol because it helps remove other forms of cholesterol from your bloodstream.
- Before you get worried about the word cholesterol, here’s an important fact for you. Dietary cholesterol found in eggs has no effect on your blood cholesterol. And in case you have bad cholesterol then lower your body fat rather than throwing that yolk away.
- Tomatoes form the base of most Indian cooking but did you know that they are extremely rich in lycopene, and help prevent cancer.
- The lycopene in tomato paste or puree is four-times more bioavailable than in fresh tomatoes. For this reason tomato sauce, paste, juice, soup or simply tomatoes cooked in oil are preferable to fresh tomatoes.
- Beetroot is one of the most recent vegetables to be hailed as a ‘superfood’. Studies have suggested that drinking beetroot juice can improve stamina when exercising, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, boost heart health and liver function, reduce the risk of dementia and fight against cancer.
- This versatile vegetable is also a good source of many vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, which is important for tissue growth and repair.
- It also provides folate, which is great for pregnant women as it helps to reduce the risk of birth defects in unborn babies, as well as helping to prevent anaemia.
10. Sunflower Seeds
- Sunflower seeds are small, but they’re mighty. They contain healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which may lower your cardiovascular risks and lower blood pressure, and have protein and fiber, both of which help fill you up.
- Sunflower seeds are a source of key nutrients like vitamin E, folate, thiamin, niacin, and iron and also pack in phytochemicals, plant chemicals that protect against heart disease and some cancers.
- Try raw or salt-free roasted sunflower seeds on their own or in salads, stir-fries, or side dishes. You can also boost the nutrient profile of breads and muffins by adding a healthy handful.