Top 20 Healthy Foods You Should Be Eating Every Single Day

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

When you think about the words “healthy eating,” what does it mean to you? Some people think about the freshness of ripe fruits, others imagine plates full of colorful vegetables. But too many people think that healthy eating means boredom, boredom, and for a change of pace, bored to death.

Well, nothing could be further from the truth! Healthy eating is the way nature intended us to live life. It’s normal and natural; however, due to processed foods, we have moved far, far away from what Mother Nature had in mind.

 

Reasons To Eat Healthy Foods

It’s hard to break the habit of donuts for breakfast, fast food for lunch, chips as a snack, take out or frozen dinners for dinner, and ice cream while watching Netflix, but the benefits of changing your diet are huge! Here’s just a small example of what you can expect:

  • You will be happier — This is a fact! Natural foods stimulate the production of dopamine and other feel-good chemicals in the brain.
  • You will feel less stress — Certain foods moderate our bodies’ production of the stress hormone cortisol.
  • You will control your weight easily — Making healthy choices, such as replacing soda with water, baked sweet potatoes instead of French fries, will save you tons of calories and make watching your weight easy.
  • You will be more productive – Your brain and body need quality nutrients to work at their optimum. Eating a healthy diet gives your brain fuel and your body energy to spare!
  • You will age better — If you don’t want to look 10 years (or more!) older than you are, a healthy diet can help you. Fruits and vegetables give your skin the antioxidants it needs to look younger.
  • You will live longer — Of course, there are no guarantees in life, but study after study has shown that those who eat healthy, natural diets live longer than junk food junkies.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

Want to Know How to Get Started?

It’s easier than you might think! Rather than throw out all the food in the house and swear that you will never look at chocolate chip cookie again, it’s much more practical to start with baby steps. Start by adding one fruit or vegetable to your day each week. Replace one soda with a glass of water or cup of herbal tea. Little by little, you will overhaul your diet. One day you will realize that you would rather than have an apple than a slice of apple cheesecake because it makes you feel so much better!

Keep reading! We are going to fill you in on the top 20 healthiest foods on the planet. Start adding some of these foods to your diet for super energy and a body that will last a lifetime.

 

1. Yogurt

Several studies have found that those who eat yogurt each day live longer than those who do not. This is most likely because yogurt with active cultures feeds the good bacteria that live in your digestive system. Since about 90 percent of your immune system lies in your gut, this makes perfect sense. Be certain that the yogurt you buy states it has “live and active cultures,” as these are the probiotics that your digestive system needs to be healthy.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

2. Beans

Oh yes, that magical fruit! Although they might make you toot, they are super good for you! You don’t need to eat a big bowl to get all their benefits either! Just half a cup of beans can lower cholesterol levels, give you plenty of fiber (which fights certain types of cancer) and tons of heart protective flavonoids. Burrito night is sounding pretty good right now, isn’t it?

 

3. Salmon Or Other Fish

Who doesn’t love salmon? You should try to eat at least two servings of fish each week. Cold water fish, such as salmon, tuna, and sardines are loaded with healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which fight against arthritis and heart disease. Omega-3s can also help to lower blood pressure and prevent irregular heartbeats. Worried about mercury? Don’t be! Studies show that the benefits of eating fish outweigh any risk of mercury contamination.

 

4. Nuts

It’s time to go nuts for nuts. Tree nuts are loaded with healthy monounsaturated fats, vitamins, and very low levels of saturated fats. In fact, studies show that people who eat tree nuts, such as pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios, even pine nuts, at least four days each week have lower rates of heart disease than those who don’t enjoy nuts. Although we said that you can go nuts, you really shouldn’t go overboard with them. One ounce (about a handful) of your favorite each day is all you really need to get all the health benefits these crunchy treats have to offer.

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Chopped chocolate

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5. Dark Chocolate

See? We told you that eating healthy was not boring! Studies show that eating moderate amounts (one to 1.5 ounces) of dark chocolate each day slightly thins the blood, which can help with blood pressure and heart health. Dark chocolate also improves the immune system while reducing inflammation. The active ingredient in dark chocolate is epicatechin, which keeps the blood vessels flexible. Always choose a dark chocolate that has at least 70 percent cocoa. Milk chocolate and chocolates with less than 65 percent cocoa do not contain enough epicatechin to offer any real health benefits.

 

6. Tomatoes

Mama mia! It’s time to bring back spaghetti Sunday dinners! Although all vegetables have health benefits, tomatoes have a little something extra called lycopene. Lycopene works in combination with other vitamins and minerals to prevent chronic disease and cancer! One of the great things about tomatoes is that when we cook them, such as in lasagna or spaghetti, the lycopene they contain only becomes more available to the body. Who could ask for more?

 

7. Apples

Apples have long been associated with good health, and now we have scientific studies to back this up. One study performed on more than 34,000 women over 20 years found that those who ate apples frequently had the lowest risk of stroke and heart attacks. The powerful antioxidants in apples — epicatechin, kaempferol, epigallocatechins, and quercetin — all play a role. These compounds stop cholesterol from building up as plaque in the arteries. Apples are also a good source of vitamin C, which supports a healthy immune system.

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Pomegranate Juice

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8. Pomegranates

These hard-to-eat fruits can reduce the buildup of plaque in the arteries, which leads to better heart health and lower blood pressure. Fruits that have deep, rich colors, such as beets, blueberries, and raspberries, contain powerful polyphenols like anthocyanins, tannins, and other super good for you antioxidants. Since pomegranates are rather difficult to eat, most people opt for juice. Be certain that the juice you choose is pure and organic, not a sugar-filled pomegranate “drink.”

 

9. Popcorn

Most people think that eating healthy means giving up all the good snacks, but this is just a myth. Popcorn is one of healthiest foods around! Besides being a great snack, popcorn gives you more healthy polyphenols than kidney beans or cranberries. Popcorn is actually a whole grain, so you get plenty of colon cancer-crushing fiber and a lower risk of heart disease with every cupful! Ditch the microwave popcorn, however, as those little bags contain tons of dioxins and other known carcinogens. Go for the old fashioned pan popped corn, or better still, use a hot air popper!

 

10. Green Tea

Although we said we were going to talk about food, this beverage has so much to offer that we simply cannot leave it out! Research studies have found that those who drink at least 12 ounces (which is about 1.5 cups) of green tea each day cut their risk of having a heart attack by 50 percent! That’s not all — real green tea from Japan contains antioxidants called catechins, which stop inflammation as well as fighting the bacteria that causes gum disease. Read labels carefully. Bottled or canned green teas are highly processed and contain little or no catechins. Get real green tea from Japan and brew it fresh yourself.

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lemons

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11. Lemons

You gotta love lemons — just looking at them makes you smile and think of sunshine! Did you know that the juice from one lemon contains 100 percent or more of your daily requirement for vitamin C? This strengthens bones, is vital for growing new skin, and supports your immune system. Also, the citrus flavonoids in lemons are a natural anti-inflammatory agent. Other studies have found that lemons can help to stop or slow the growth of cancer cells. You don’t need to pucker up and suck on a lemon, however. Add the juice to salads, vegetables, water, and don’t forget to add some to your tea. Studies also show that adding lemon to your tea increases your body’s ability to absorb the healthy antioxidants found in most teas by an incredible 80 percent!

 

12. Oatmeal

Take out your box of oatmeal, and you will see it contains a little heart shaped seal on the front. This is because oats contain a compound called beta-glucan. This is a type of fiber well-known for lowering cholesterol levels when consumed regularly. Steel-cut oats are your best breakfast choice here, as they contain much more fiber than the quick oats, but the truth is that any type of oatmeal is good for you!

 

13. Chia Seeds

These tiny little seeds are one of the most nutrient-dense foods anywhere in the world. One tiny ounce has 11 grams of healthy fiber, along with good doses of manganese, calcium, protein, and a mineral that most people are deficient in: Magnesium. Chia seeds are super easy to add to your diet as they go with just about anything you can imagine.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

14. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has so many health benefits, it’s impossible to list them all here. This natural oil is full of powerful fatty acids called medium chain triglycerides. Eating about two tablespoons of coconut oil each day has been linked in studies to lower levels of belly fat and a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, and it even kills Candida and even certain types of cancer cells.

 

15. Bananas

Bananas are probably nature’s most perfect snack. It comes in its own container and is naturally sweet so that it kicks those sweet tooth cravings right to the curb! Bananas are a great source of resistant starch, which is known to keep you feeling fuller for a longer period of time. Slice one in some yogurt, in your oatmeal, or eat them just the way they are! Bananas are a great source of potassium as well, which is a natural electrolyte that lowers blood pressure. If you have hypertension, bananas are the perfect choice for you.

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Ripe watermelons on wicker tray on table on wooden background

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16. Watermelon

Is there anything more refreshing than watermelon on a hot day? As the name suggests, this fruit is full of water, which is perfect for rehydrating the body, but what most people don’t know about this juicy, red fruit is that it is also a good source of lycopene, the same healthy compound found in tomatoes. Lycopene is important for a healthy heart, good vision, and even the prevention of certain types of cancer. Watermelon is also a dieter’s best friend! With only 40 skinny calories per cup, this fruit will cause you to burn calories by simply eating it!

 

17. Blueberries

Blueberries not only taste good, numerous studies have shown that these little blue jewels can do everything from improving your memory, to lowering your blood pressure, to improving motor skills, and even speeding up your metabolism. Wild blueberries have the highest levels of anthocyanins, which are potent antioxidants, but even farm-grown blueberries have a lot to offer! Best of all, when blueberries are frozen, those healthy antioxidants only get more powerful! It’s almost as if Mother Nature knew that one day, we would have freezers to store blueberries when they are out of season.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

18. Strawberries

Although all types of berries are good for you, some are just outstanding in their field. Red, juicy strawberries are super high in antioxidants as well as being high in vitamin C. One cup of super delish strawberries has all the vitamin C you need for the day, along with fiber and folic acid. Strawberries are also good for your heart. One study found that women who ate more than three servings of strawberries or blueberries were much less likely to have a heart attack. Always opt for organic strawberries as conventional ones are loaded with pesticides, which are definitely NOT healthy.

 

19. Cantaloupe

Like most melons, cantaloupes are full of water, which means they can be your best friend when you want to watch your weight. About a quarter of a large cantaloupe has only 50 calories as well as all the vitamin A and C you will need for the day. Both of these vitamins are important for healthy skin, eyes, and a properly working immune system. Add a slice of cantaloupe for breakfast or as an afternoon snack for some real sweet satisfaction!

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

20. Kale

Just about any vegetable you choose is going to be full of health benefits. However, kale deserves special mention in the world of cabbage, broccoli and spinach. Kale has super cholesterol lowering benefits, especially after being steamed. Kale is also a super cancer preventer with studies showing that it can lower the risk of at least five different types of cancer. Kale also supports the body’s own natural detoxification system. On top of all this, kale is full of fiber, which is good for your entire digestive system and is known to greatly lower the risk of colon cancer.

 

READ ALSO: The Top 12 Most Unhealthy Foods on the Planet

 

Of course, the list of healthy foods goes on and on. This is just one small list to help you get started with some of the best nutritional choices on the planet. Never stop experimenting with food from Mother Nature. Keep in mind that if it doesn’t have a list of ingredients, it’s good for you!

References:

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

www.researchgate.net

www.citeseerx.ist.psu.edu