10 great health foods for eating well

 

Here are your best bets for eating well. 

These 10 health foods are some of the healthiest because they meet at least three of the following criteria:

 

Nuts and Seeds

Although high in calories, nuts often enable people to maintain or lose weight. A small handful eaten between meals or added to salads, grains or vegetables gives a sense of satiety and results in less total food intake. Nuts have great nutritional benefits, as well.

Since nuts are high in fats, they can easily become rancid. Store them in the freezer to extend their life. Nuts are also delicious, so it’s also a good idea to practice portion control. Measure out small portions and take care to not eat them mindlessly from a large container.

 

Apples and Citrus

 

We all know citrus fruits are loaded with vitamin C; one orange has a whole day’s requirement. But that's not all citrus fruits have to offer.

Oranges and grapefruits are in peak season during the winter. Their bright flavors are a perfect antidote to a cold, dreary day. Lemons and limes, available year-round, are especially welcome during summer’s heat.

 

Apples are an excellent source of pectin, a soluble fiber that can lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Fresh apples are also good sources of vitamin C — an antioxidant that protects your body's cells from damage. Vitamin C also helps form the connective tissue collagen, keeps your capillaries and blood vessels healthy, and aids in the absorption of iron.

 

 

Berries

All fruits are stellar sources of nutrients, but strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries stand out from the pack.

Stock up on fresh berries in the summer, when they’re plentiful and inexpensive. Freeze them in small plastic bags to get an antioxidant blast year round. Stir berries into yogurt, sprinkle them on cereal or blend them in smoothies.

 

 

Spinach, Broccoli and Vegetables

Stock your fridge with a rainbow of vegetables and you'll have a natural pharmacy in your kitchen.

There’s no such thing as a bad vegetable. In addition to their phytonutrients, they are packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber, and are a crucial component of any healthy eating plan.

 

Beans and Legumes

 

The inexpensive legume family, which includes beans, peas, peanuts and lentils, has priceless benefits.

But best of all, beans taste great. Dried beans have a superior taste and texture but they take longer to cook. Canned beans offer a quick alternative and most of the same health benefits. Rinse canned beans with water before cooking and you’ll remove as much as 40 percent of the sodium used in processing.

 

 

Salmon

Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids — a type of fat that makes your blood less likely to form clots that may cause heart attacks. Omega-3s may also protect against irregular heartbeats that may cause sudden cardiac death, decrease triglyceride levels, decrease the growth of artery-clogging plaques, lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke. In addition to being an excellent source of omega-3s, salmon is low in

saturated fat and cholesterol and is a good source of protein.

All fish are great sources of protein and low in saturated fat. But cold-water fish, like salmon, mackerel and herring, are premiere sources of omega-3 essential fatty acids. These are fats our bodies can’t produce, so it’s essential we include them in our diet. Omega-3s offer many benefits.

Salmon is an easy fish to obtain. Most grocery stores and many restaurants carry it. It's also easy to cook. The high fat level makes salmon perfect for grilling, roasting or sautéing without sticking or drying out. Although wild salmon can be pricey, it has an amazing flavor and higher levels of omega-3s than farm-raised fish. Look for fresh wild salmon in spring and summer, and farm-raised salmon year-round.

Don’t eat fish? You can get your omega-3s from flaxseed, walnuts, almonds and grass-fed beef, although the oils are of a lesser nutritional quality than the those found in seafood.

 

 

Wheat germ

Why eat wheat germ? At the center of a grain of wheat is the wheat germ — the part of the seed that's responsible for the development and growth of

the new plant sprout. Though only a small part of the wheat seed, the germ is a highly concentrated source of nutrients, including niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin E, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron and zinc. The germ also contains protein, fiber and some fat.

 

 

Olive oil

Olive oil is a staple in any kitchen. It's the base of many salad dressings and is also used as an ingredient in sauces and marinades; as a dip for bread; and for sautéing, roasting, frying and baking. Extra-virgin olive oil can be used as a condiment when drizzled over a bowl of pasta or platter of roasted vegetables.

Extra-virgin olive oil has the highest concentration of Vitamin E and antioxidants. Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil on uncooked dishes, where its assertive flavor will complement your finished dishes. Lighter olive oils like those labeled pure, refined or light contain lower concentrations of nutrients but withstand higher temperatures required for cooking. Although olive oil has great health benefits, it also has a lot of calories. It’s 100 percent fat, and like all liquid oils, contains about 120 calories per tablespoon.

 

 

 

 

 

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