What foods should you be eating every day to feel good, have energy and live healthily? We’ve gathered a go-to list from black beans and spinach to blueberries and walnuts. Eaten daily, these foods will keep your energy high and your health balanced. Scroll down to find the reasons why you should start eating these top 13 fabulous foods today.
Black beans are full of fiber and protein. They also provide a healthy dose of flavonoids, phytochemicals, magnesium, iron, folate and phosphorus to boot. These nutrients strengthen digestion and heart health, and protect against diabetes. Black beans regulate the colon, reduce inflammation, and balance our blood sugars levels.
A 2015 study at the University of California, Davis showed that black beans, when added to the diet of participants, raised antioxidant markers and lowered blood insulin. This suggests that black beans protect against heart disease and prediabetes, a precursor to type 2 diabetes.
On the antioxidant A-team — blueberries make the grade. Small in size and sweet tasting, these power-packed berries are remarkably high in antioxidants, which protect the brain, heart, tissues and cells from free radical damage. This guards against age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s, heart disease and cancer.
Blueberries kick in even more nutrients: potassium, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and phytonutrients — all important for daily health.
A 2014 study in Nutrition Research of 25 sedentary adults showed blueberry powder increased natural killer cell counts and decreased arterial stiffness. Natural killer cells respond rapidly — in the immune response — to neutralize virus and tumor cells. Decreased arterial stiffness is associated with decreased risk of heart disease. This study is a good example of the antioxidant and heart-protecting abilities of blueberries.
We love the fact that blueberries protect our health today and for the future.
Go green! Spinach is a superfood packed with antioxidants. Antioxidants not only take on free radicals, some also protect against certain cancers.
Spinach has an outstanding supply of vitamin K, vitamin A, folate, manganese and magnesium:
- Vitamin K helps new bone growth and wound healing.
- Vitamin A is essential for normal cell growth.
- Folate is important in making cells and DNA.
- Manganese helps with PMS and osteoporosis.
- Magnesium is key in nerve function and blood sugar regulation.
Whew! Popeye was right, spinach is good for your body.
A Johns Hopkins University study of 590 women showed that carotenoid (an antioxidant in spinach) may protect against the development of breast cancer. We recommend trying to fit more spinach in your diet, in whatever way you can.
You say tomato, I say tomato. Tomatoes are not only loaded with lycopene, they also have a valuable amount of vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and potassium. Even more, tomatoes provide thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, magnesium, phosphorus and copper.
These nutrients protect against cardiovascular disease and cancer.
A study in the journal Neurology of 1,212 Finnish men showed that high serum concentrations of lycopene (from tomatoes) decreased their risk of stroke.
What’s up, Doc? Not only do carrots give a beautiful boost of beta-carotene, they are a good source of lycopene, too. Beta-carotene is an amazing antioxidant, and lycopene is a key cancer-fighter. Carrots also contain calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper and manganese. All needed to keep you healthy.
A study in Nutrition Journal showed carrot juice may protect the cardiovascular system by increasing antioxidants and decreasing free radical cell damage. We’re on board for this heart help, are you?
In a nutshell… walnuts provide a powerful protein punch, plenty of plant omega-3 fats, along with high amounts of copper, manganese, molybdenum and biotin. These nutrients help prevent heart disease and cancer. Walnuts taste yummy, too.
A study at the Medical College of Georgia showed the beneficial relationship between walnuts and heart disease — in other words — walnuts are good for the heart.
Oatmeal is a favorite morning meal for many. Oats are abundant in the soluble fiber beta-glucan. Beta-glucans are important to heart health and glucose regulation in diabetes. The fiber and glucose balancing effect of oats helps you stay fuller longer and improve long-term health. So let’s hear it for the oats!
A study of 20 adults at the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Ottawa University, showed a decrease in LDL cholesterol and no change in HDL cholesterol. Oats improved their cholesterol profile.
Aaah, creamy, buttery and smooth… Not only are avocados high in good fats, they are also cholesterol and sodium free. Avocados are best known for their heart benefits, but they are also a good source of vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B6, and vitamin E and fiber.
A study at David Grant Medical Center in California showed avocados significantly decrease “bad” triglycerides, which helps prevent cardiovascular disease.
Flaxseeds are not only filled with fiber and protein, they also have super-antioxidant power. Flaxseeds contains the antioxidant alpha-linolenic acid. These nutrients help with exercise recovery and protect against liver and heart disease. It’s not surprising though, flaxseeds have been around since 3,000 B.C.
A study at Oklahoma State University showed that bile acid synthesis is a contributor to the cholesterol-lowering properties of flaxseed oil.
We don’t recommend putting all your eggs in one basket. However, we do advise eating them daily. Eggs provide 6.28 grams of high-quality protein. The quality comes from diverse amino acids. In fact, there are 19 different types of amino acids in eggs. Protein is important in the building and repairing of cells, muscles, organs, and more.
Eggs also provide omega-3 fatty acids, all of the B vitamins, and other nutrients that are hard to find in food (but required for a healthy diet).
Some think eggs may not be good for the heart. A recent study (2016) in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed eggs were not associated with increased coronary artery disease, even in susceptible people.
We love coconut oil (especially in place of cream in our coffee). Coconut oil contains healthy natural medium-chain fats. These fats not only boost energy and immunity, they’re also good for the liver, heart and gut. We recommend fitting coconut oil into your diet.
A 2015 study at the School of Medicine of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro showed extra-virgin coconut oil increased HDL cholesterol. High levels of HDL cholesterol protect us from heart disease. Let’s help our hearts.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away… It’s true. Apples are full of fiber, which helps digestive flow (both constipation and diarrhea). Apples are also a good source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that protect the organs and cells. A study in Human and Experimental Toxicology showed the antioxidant and protective liver effects of apple in mice.
We all know that brown rice is better than white rice. Natural brown rice is healthier than its processed counterpart because it’s a whole grain. Whole grains can help you maintain regularity. Brown rice also contains antioxidants that you won’t find in white rice.
A study at Harvard School of Public Health showed substituting brown rice for white rice may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Our recommendation is to choose whole grains instead of refined grains, whenever possible.
Stock up on all 13 of these healthy foods. We recommend buying the healthiest version (within your budget, of course) of these superfoods: whole grain, organic and free-trade whenever possible.
Who knew getting healthy could be so tasty!
-The Well Daily Team