When navigating the complicated world of diet and nutrition, many terms are thrown around with little regard for their true meaning. Coming up with a list of healthy foods can be difficult.
The term healthy is not a black-and-white term. Some foods may contain comparatively high levels of fat, but be full of essential vitamins and minerals. Others may have no fat at all, but also lack any particularly nutritious properties.
As such, when you hear the term “healthy”, it is best to play the role of the skeptical consumer and inquire as to “why”. While one could fill multiple books with a complete list of healthy foods, here are the most common ones and why they have been designated as such.
1 Fruits and Vegetables
Before the days of vitamin supplements, humans met their nutritional requirements the old fashioned way through fruits and vegetables. Practically every single fruit or vegetable has its own unique benefits for the human body.
Carrots have Carotene, which is metabolized into Vitamin A, an essential component of good vision. Avocados, bananas, apricots, and even soybeans are all excellent sources of Potassium.
Oranges, grapefruit, and tangerines are all extremely high in Vitamin C, which helps bolster the immune system and fight off disease. Broccoli, many an individual’s childhood enemy, has high amounts of Vitamin C, Selenium, and carotenoids.
Fruits and vegetables, when eaten in a diverse combination, are a great way to ensure that you meet your RDA of vitamins and minerals the all-natural way. Additionally, they are an excellent source of fiber, which helps keep you full and helps the digestive system function.
2 Nuts and Seeds
There are few foods that can pack as much nutrition into such a small serving as nuts and seeds. Peanuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and even pistachios are all excellent sources of fiber, protein and various vitamins and minerals. They make for excellent snacks, as they can be eaten in various amounts throughout the day.
Nuts and seeds are also generally high in “good fats” (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated). Flax seed in particular is high in ALA, a very potent Omega-3 fatty acid.
It is not quite a nut or a seed, but whole grain may be in a category of its own. Nonetheless, it is one of the healthiest things you can eat as it will probably replace its all-white cousin in your diet. Substituting whole-grain for white bread reduces your risk of Type-II Diabetes and Cardiovascular disease, and adds a huge dose of fiber to your diet.
“Staying healthy” often means ensuring that your body gets everything it needs to function at an optimal level. To do this, you need a veritable grocery list of various vitamins and minerals that you may not always be able to ingest naturally. As such, supplementation may help you tremendously; especially if you have a particular condition or sensitivity.
Has your doctor told you that you need more biotin? Purchase a biotin supplement. On a restrictive diet? Take a multivitamin to ensure that you lack nothing nutritionally. Feel a cold coming on? Take some Vitamin C pills.
While supplements are not an ideal substitute for the real thing, they are a valuable weapon when trying to maintain your health. When you combine a list of healthy foods with supplements, this will help you have a healthy diet.