From goji berries to spirulina, these 20 healthy diet foods will help you cut down on late-night McDonalds and live a balanced lifestyle.
Loaded with healthy fats, fibre, protein, magnesium, and vitamin E, almonds help to reduce hunger and promote weight loss. A study from the Harvard’s School of Public Health found that this nut, one of the best healthy diet foods, can help lower blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol and, if eaten at least twice a week, could reduce the risk of heart failure by 20%.
Not only are avocados a great source of vitamins C, E, K, and B6, they are also high in healthy, cholesterol-lowering monounsaturated fats. Avocados also offer both insoluble and soluble fibre – one half-cup serving of avocado can give you nearly 20% of your daily dose – and contain lutein, potassium, beta-carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids, helping to protect the eyes.
A breakfast burrito staple, black beans are a great source of fibre as well as potassium, folate, and vitamin B6, which help to prevent heart disease and support heart health. Black beans are also high in calcium and iron, helping to maintain healthy bones, as well as antioxidants and magnesium, which help maintain nerve and muscle function.
Often touted as a ‘superfruit’, blueberries are fibre-packed and are an excellent source of vitamin C, helping to boost the immune system and offering protection against immune system deficiencies. Studies even show that blueberries can help lower the risk of heart disease as well as type 2 diabetes. These berries also contain antioxidants and double as an anti-inflammatory.
A nutrient powerhouse of fibre and protein as well as iron, potassium, calcium, selenium, and magnesium, broccoli lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease by reducing bad cholesterol (LDL). Broccoli is also a great source of vitamin C, an immune system booster, as well as vitamin K, which helps ensure that blood is clotting properly.
Made from cracked wheat that has been dried and steamed, bulgur is jam-packed with vitamins, minerals, and fibre. High in protein, calcium, potassium, and B vitamins, bulgur helps to lower the risk of chronic disease, improve digestion, promote weight loss, and boost gut health. Bulgar is also said to improve metabolism, heart health, and longevity.
Dark Leafy Greens
As it turns out, Popeye the Sailor Man had it right: dark, leafy greens like spinach and kale are filled to the brim with important nutrients like iron, calcium, potassium, and vitamins C and K which help to reduce blood pressure levels, improve eye and bone health, lower the risk of cancer, and ensure proper blood clotting.
Eggs are a traditional breakfast staple and are a perfect way to add a quick boost of protein to your day. Egg yolks are also packed with vitamins A and B12, as well as choline, which help to reduce inflammation and improve brain development and function. Research also shows that eating eggs helps to increase good cholesterol (HDL) in the body.
Long revered in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) herbal books for their revitalising tonic benefits, goji berries (or ‘gou qi zi’) have since been widely adopted by the West as a ‘miracle fruit’ containing a myriad of beneficial properties for health. Known to boost immunity and prevent illness, this fruit contains large amounts of vitamins A and C. Goji berries are also believed to improve eyesight, protect the liver, and prevent cancer.
Surprisingly, one kiwi contains almost as much potassium as a banana and double the amount of vitamin C as an orange. The fuzzy fruit is also a powerhouse of antioxidants and is loaded with fibre, helping in the digestion of proteins in the body as well as to induce sleep. Kiwis also help to support immune function and reduce blood pressure.
Often used as a meat substitute in vegetarian dishes, mushrooms are the only plant source of vitamin D, which helps to regulate calcium and phosphate levels in the body. Mushrooms also contain significant amounts of selenium, which helps to prevent cell damage. Many types of mushrooms are also immunity boosters and have cancer-fighting properties.
A staple of the Japanese diet, this red algae is so much more than a sushi wrapper. In particular, nori is loaded with iodine, which helps to regulate thyroid function; potassium, which helps to lower your blood pressure; and vitamin B12, which helps to form red blood cells and support the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system.
An increasingly popular food amongst healthy eaters, quinoa is a type of herbaceous plant that is high in nutrients like fibre, which is highly beneficial for the digestive system. Quinoa is also a complete protein, containing all eight essential amino acids, and is a great source of magnesium, manganese, iron, calcium, potassium and several B vitamins.
Hailed by the Mayans as the ‘food of the gods’, this raw form of dark chocolate is one of the richest naturally occurring sources of antioxidants. As one of the highest magnesium-rich foods, raw cacao is linked to cancer prevention and the lowering of blood pressure, which can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, making it one of the most nutritious, healthy diet foods.
Packed to the brim with nutrients, spirulina is a blue-green algae that is as good for you as it is for the environment. Not only does it boast 60% of protein content, but spirulina also contains a host of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C and selenium, which are antioxidants that help to protect our cells and tissues from damage.
Sweet potatoes are full of beta-carotene, which can be converted into vitamin A. Vitamin A is linked to eye, bone, and skin health, and is credited with boosting the immune system, helping to protect against diseases like cancer and heart disease. Beta-carotene can also help to regulate blood sugar levels and slow down cognitive decline.
Studies have shown that having a diet of tomatoes can help to strengthen the immune system, and may reduce the risk of prostate and lung cancer. A salad staple, tomatoes are also loaded with nutrients like potassium and vitamin C and can help to lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and maintain healthy growth of hair, skin, and nails.
A rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, walnuts can help to lower your risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure and reducing bad cholesterol while boosting good cholesterol (HDL) in the body. A diet rich in walnuts also promotes gut health and supports weight control by helping to suppress the appetite.
One of the best healthy diet foods, salmon contains relatively low mercury levels as opposed to other types of fish, and are a good source of nutrition and protein. The fish is also full of omega-3 fatty acids, which help to maintain skin and heart health as well as reduce the risk of cancer. Wild salmon also contains fewer toxins than farm-raised salmon.
Yoghurt is rich in probiotic bacteria, which help to maintain good digestive health and boost immunity. Yoghurt is also packed with calcium and B vitamins, helping to maintain healthy bones and teeth. In particular, Greek yoghurt contains more protein than other yoghurt varieties, which helps to support metabolism and regulate the appetite.