The Healthiest Foods you Need in your Diet 

The Healthiest Foods you Need in your Diet 

We exist at a time when lifestyle diseases are at an all time high. Diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and certain types of cancer are heavily linked to our lifestyle choices. Still, a healthy diet and some good physical activity will help you steer off these diseases. 

But what is a healthy diet? The World Health Organization (WTO) defines a healthy diet as one that protects you against malnutrition and all its forms. Such a diet also protects you from noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. Similarly, healthy foods are nutrient dense foods that enhance nutrient absorption and don’t trigger insulin. Such foods are low carbs. 

That said, let’s look at the ten healthiest foods that you need in your diet. 

  1. Eggs 

Eggs were once demonized as high cholesterol food. There were claims that consuming them resulted in heart disease. However, recent research shows that eating eggs does not elevate the risk of heart disease. Although there is still much debate on the topic, studies reveal that eggs are packed with other nutrients that include vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fats and proteins. 

Eggs are a great meal to have, especially during breakfast as they make you feel full. Research differs on how many eggs you should have a day. However in most cases, 1-2 eggs a day are okay for a healthy adult [1]. 

  1. Walnuts 

Walnuts are a highly nutritious food that’s packed with healthy fats, minerals, and fiber. This nut is high in antioxidants compared to any other nut. Studies also show that consuming a walnut rich meal helps the body heal from the damage caused by ‘bad’ cholesterol [2]. Walnuts are a source of omega 3 which helps keep your heart healthy. This food helps prevent certain cancers, improves the health of your gut, and may decrease inflammation. 

Inflammation in the body can lead to diabetes type 2, Alzheimer’s disease and others. 

You can incorporate a bit of walnuts into your diet. Try not to eat too much as they may cause gastrointestinal discomfort. Preferably, you can have 7-10 walnuts per day [3]. 

Image 1: Walnut

  1. Olive Oil 

Olive oil is one of nature’s golden foods. This oil comes power-packed with antioxidants and healthy fats. Olive oil also has anti-inflammatory properties making it a great ally for fighting Alzheimer’s, diabetes type 2 and certain cancers. 

Adding olive oil to your diet may also help prevent strokes. In developed countries, stroke is the second leading cause of death after heart disease [4]. Olive oil does not lead to weight gain or obesity. In fact, it can contribute to weight loss. You’ve probably seen the extra virgin olive oil in the market. This oil is resistant to high temperatures. Therefore, you can use it for frying, and for preparing all kinds of foods. 

  1. Oatmeal 

A popular question people ask is ‘What does oatmeal do for your body?’ Yet most people don’t realize that oatmeal is one of the healthiest grains on earth. They are an excellent source of carbs, fiber, proteins and essential amino acids. 

Similarly, oats are packed with important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants such as vitamin B1, B5, Zinc, folate, Iron, and many other vitamins. Oats are the most nutrient-dense food you can add to your diet. Lastly, oats contain a special kind of fiber known as beta-glucan. This fiber is essential in lowering bad cholesterol levels in the body. 

  1. Arugula/Sweet Rocket 

Arugula is a cruciferous vegetable that’s related to kale, broccoli, and cabbage. This vegetable has a peppery, spicy taste that makes it a favorite for making salads. You can find other versions of this vegetable in the market, such as the ‘baby arugula,’ and ‘wild arugula.’ Regardless of which one you buy, you are likely to get the nutritious benefits of this vegetable. 

Arugula is a cancer-fighting food. A substance called glucosinolates which is found in this vegetable may help protect you from breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancer. Arugula is also a nutrient-dense food that’s rich in vitamins C, K, A, calcium, potassium, and folate. This vegetable is low in sugar, fats, carbohydrates, and calories. 

Arugula is also called sweet rocket, salad rocket, Italian cress, and rucola. 

Image 2: Salad with Arugula veggie

  1. Sauerkraut (fermented cabbage)

Sauerkraut or fermented cabbage is believed to have originated from China, some 2000 years ago. Back then, people prevented food from going bad by fermentation. However, fermented cabbage quickly became a popular side-dish. This food derives its name ‘Sauerkraut’ from Germany, where it quickly became popular. 

Sauerkraut has more nutritious benefits than fresh cabbage. It is rich in fiber, minerals, and vitamins (over 12 vitamins and minerals). This vegetable is particularly nutritious because it undergoes fermentation. The fermentation process promotes growth of beneficial probiotics which are also found in yogurt. Sauerkraut boosts your immune system, helps improve digestion, and can help you lose weight. 

Sauerkraut can be high in sodium. So if you’re watching your salt intake, this food is not for you. You can buy Sauerkraut readily in the market or you can make sauerkraut from home

  1. Nuts and seeds (Pumpkin seeds; chia seeds, almonds, macadamia seeds)

A healthy diet is one that has a good supply of nuts and seeds. These foods can help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other health issues. Pumpkin seeds for instance are rich in antioxidants, magnesium, zinc, and unsaturated fats. These seeds are associated with improved fertility, better heart health, and blood sugar control. 

Chia seeds are another highly nutritious food that’s loaded with antioxidants. These seeds can help you with weight loss and in improving bone health. 

Macadamia nuts improve heart health and can protect you against diabetes and other conditions. Macadamia also boosts brain health and provides anticancer properties to the body. 

Other healthy seeds you can add to your diet are: sesame seeds, flax seeds, Fenugreek seeds, and hemp seeds. Other nuts to consider include: Cashew nuts, Pecans, Pine nuts, and Brazil nuts. 

  1. Fish & seafood 

Fish and other seafood are healthy and nutritious. These foods are rich in omega 3 and can boost brain and heart health. Fish like trout and salmon contain protein, omega-3, and some vitamin D. The inexpensive tilapia, for instance, is an excellent source of proteins and nutrients. It contains niacin, phosphorus, Vitamin B12, Selenium and potassium. 

Shrimp is another popular seafood that’s rich in protein. It also provides selenium and vitamin B12. Selenium is a mineral that helps boost the immune system, improves hair and nail health. It also promotes a healthy thyroid. 

A word of caution: where you buy your fish and seafood determines whether it will be beneficial to your health or not. So, buy from a trusted source. 

  1. Legumes 

Legumes are a great source of proteins, iron, and fiber. They are naturally low in fat and since they are plant-based, they lack cholesterol. Studies show that legumes play a vital role in the prevention and management of a number of health conditions that include diabetes type 2, and hypertension. They also help lower bad cholesterol [5]. Each kind of legume comes with its unique nutrient types. As such, it is important to diversify your legume intake so that you can get the benefit of each variety. 

Image 3: Legumes

  1. Organic yogurt 

Organic yogurt is made from organic whole milk that’s fermented by adding a live bacteria. Its health benefits include improved bone health, and healthy intestines. Yoghurt contains calcium, vitamins B6 and B12, riboflavin, potassium, and magnesium. It is important to note that there are many types of yogurt with varying levels of health benefits. As such you should be careful with the brand that you buy. Similarly, yogurts with added sugar and unnecessary additives may not benefit your health. You should go for organic yogurt that is low in calories and high in nutrients. 

In conclusion, there are many other healthy foods that are not mentioned here. Still, these ten foods can significantly boost your health and help protect you from noncommunicable diseases. You deserve to live a long and healthy life. Therefore, include these foods in your meal plan. Limit saturated and trans fats, sodium, and added sugars. Emphasize vegetables, nuts and seeds, healthy oils like olive oil, whole grains, fish and eggs. 

This Post Has One Comment

Leave a Reply