America is currently in the midst of the greatest obesity epidemic of all-time. This is due in large part to the overwhelming amount of processed, sugar filled, and calorically dense foods that are always available at our fingertips. With such an abundance of unhealthy options continuously surrounding us, it can be difficult to find micronutrient dense foods to fill our diets. Healthy eating can be easily maintained if we make the right decisions.
Certain foods, while low calorie in nature, have an abundance of vital vitamins and minerals that will significantly improve our health and well-being. By consuming these healthier options, your body will thank you for providing food choices that have a positive impact on your health.
These health recommendations, if followed, will boost your energy levels, improve your overall health, while also increasing your mental clarity. Although this list cannot be considered entirely comprehensive, these conventional foods are a surefire way of kickstarting your health into full gear.
- Acai berries: The Acai Berry is an antioxidant rich berry that is reddish purple in color originating from the Central and South American regions. Research has shown that Acai berries may be one of the healthiest berries in existence, surpassing the nutrients found in cranberries, blueberries, and blackberries. The low sugar content and high amounts of iron, calcium, fiber, and Vitamin A make Acai berries a great snack option on their own or as part of the currently popular Acai bowls.
- Kale: Although Kale has garnered a substantial amount of popularity in recent years, it has been widely seen around the health and nutrition community as one of the healthiest foods available. With its high nutrient intake, low calories, and low glycemic index, it is considered a dietary staple. What separates Kale from other green vegetables is its ability to improve health and prevent various diseases.
Some of the benefits of Kale include:
- Cholesterol lowering abilities
- Prevents cancers of the bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate
- Anti-inflammatory properties
- Cardiovascular support and more
Be sure to add a Kale salad or two in your diet weekly.
- Almonds: Almonds have quickly become one of the premiere consumable nuts due to its nutritional properties. Although almonds are high in fat and are calorically dense, there are several benefits associated with them. They contain significant amounts of monosaturated fats, which are typically considered “healthy fats,” with their ability to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. Almonds must be consumed in moderation as only a handful of nuts per day will yield tremendous nutritional rewards, while eating more than a handful of nuts can quickly rack up the calories.
- Eggs: There is no surprise that eggs made the list of the best superfoods. For years, there has been a misconception about eating whole eggs. While egg whites are known for their high protein content, leaving out the yolk will result in missing out on vital nutrients. The yolk is an excellent source of healthy fats including Omega 3’s, which help to lower bad cholesterol while raising the good, and provide an overall healthier heart. Previous generations had correlated egg consumption to various types of heart disease, although this has since been proven to be based on misguided studies.
- Quinoa: Health aficionados in the last decade have taken highly to quinoa as an excellent source of carbohydrates. One of the advantages of quinoa over traditional brown rice and other whole grains is its relatively high protein content. One cup of quinoa contains nearly three to four times the amount of protein in contrast to brown rice. Furthermore, quinoa does not have an overbearing dry taste, as many other types of rice do. It tends to blend well with food it is being paired with, making it a suitable side for most any entrée.
- Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes are considered a preferred complex carbohydrate source for health and fitness professionals. Not only do sweet potatoes taste great but they are also nutrient dense compared to their standard white potato counterparts. The sweet potatoes obtain their orange color due to their high concentration of alpha and beta carotene. These nutrients are then converted into Vitamin A, which is one of the most crucial vitamins needed for healthy eyes, bones, and the immune system. The sweet potato also contains Vitamin C, B6, and Potassium. Sweet potatoes can be baked, mashed, or cut into fries depending on texture preference.
- Chia seeds: Chia seeds have become a staple in the health food community and for a good reason. The versatility of chia seeds lies in the fact that they may be consumed on their own, as an additive to bread, or blended in a smoothie. The nutrients found in chia seeds including dietary fiber, protein, Omega-3’s, Zinc, and Calcium have been shown to have a broad range of health benefits including healthier skin, decreased signs of aging, improved cardiovascular health, improved digestion, stronger bone density, and better muscle growth and recovery.
- Black rice: Black rice is one of the newest additions to the superfoods list. For years, brown rice has been widely acclaimed as a preferred side due to its whole grain makeup. Now, black rice has replaced brown rice for its antioxidant properties. It is an ancient grain with an impressive pedigree of health benefits.
- Dietary fiber for improving digestion;
- Anti-inflammatory properties;
- Prevention of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
Compared to white rice, brown rice, and red rice, black rice contains a higher concentration of protein, iron, and fiber.
- Salmon: Fish is often known as one of the healthiest forms of protein. Aside from its natural buttery taste, salmon also has an amazing nutritional profile. The Omega 3 fatty acids found in the fish promote heart health, lower blood pressure, and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, salmon contains other vital nutrients that protect our skin from the harmful ultraviolet rays emanating from the sun.
- Lentils: You may not think of the lentils in your grandmother’s kitchen cabinet as a superfood, but don’t let their simplicity mislead you. Lentils are one of the least expensive foods to purchase while containing high amounts of protein and iron in every bite. Additionally, they rate extremely low on the glycemic index, meaning no crashes in energy will occur.
The foods you choose to put into your body provide the energy to sustain a healthy lifestyle. Instead of always putting over-processed, sugar-laden garbage into your body, focus on all-natural whole foods to help build the foundation of a healthier way of life. The superfoods we mentioned here are readily available at a grocery store near you. By implementing just a few into your diet, you will be on your way to having more energy and better health for the rest of your life.