20 Super Healthy Foods You Should Add to Your Diet
20 Super Healthy Foods You Should Add to Your Diet HealthifyMe Blog HealthifyMe Blog – The definitive guide to weight loss, fitness and living a healthier life.
Super healthy foods are a wholesome source of essential nutrients. Such food provides vital nutrients, minerals, antioxidants, and a range of other benefits significant for a healthy body. In addition, healthy eating habits lower the risk of high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, and certain cancers. Some food items nourish us, and each of them offers specific benefits.
Healthy Foods for Heart
About one-third of all fatalities globally happen because of heart diseases. Diet has a significant impact on heart health. Specific foods influence heart problems like blood pressure, triglycerides, cholesterol levels, and inflammation. Our body does not produce a lot of compounds needed for maintaining a healthy heart. Therefore it is essential to consume foods that provide us with them.
1. Red Cabbage
Red cabbage contains anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid. They are natural antioxidants operating at the cellular level, and they substantially impact blood arteries, platelets, and lipoproteins. In addition, red cabbage has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and anti-carcinogenic properties. Due to all these properties, red cabbage helps to lower the risk of coronary heart disease.
The heart cells degenerate significantly with age. Lipofuscin deposits in the heart are responsible for the ageing process. It thickens and hardens the valves that regulate blood flow direction inside the heart. Thus, it adds more pressure and makes the heart work harder. As per studies, antioxidants in red cabbage mitigate cell degeneration effectively.
Blueberries have approximately 25 different anthocyanins. In comparison, other berries contain only two or three. Research suggests that consuming anthocyanin-rich fruits, such as blueberries, lowers the risk of heart attacks.
Oxidative stress and inflammation are mainly responsible for initiating and worsening cardiovascular disease. Anthocyanins decrease inflammation by inhibiting stimulation in inflammatory mediators.
Decreased inflammation is favourable for heart health. Anthocyanins reduce arterial stiffness and high blood pressure, both of which cause heart-related issues. In addition, they reduce lipid peroxidation, dyslipidemia, and glucose metabolism. All these attributes of blueberries help in preventing cardiovascular problems.
3. Fatty Fish and Fish Oil
Fish contains unsaturated fats called omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for heart health in multiple ways. First, they lower the chances of developing arrhythmias, a condition with irregular heartbeats. Additionally, they reduce inflammation caused by plaque formation in arteries of the heart.
Omega-3 also removes the blockage in the arteries and promotes improved blood flow. In addition, they maintain triglyceride levels. Triglyceride is a kind of fat in the blood. An increased triglyceride adds to the risk of stroke and heart attacks.
4. Black Beans
Black beans contain vitamin B6 and folate. Vitamin B6 and folate break down and prevent the accumulation of homocysteine, a type of amino acid. It harms the walls of arteries and increases the risk of blood clotting. It also blocks the vessels. An excess buildup of homocysteine in the body damages blood vessels and causes cardiac issues. Black beans are also low in cholesterol. Increased cholesterol narrows the arteries and slows down the natural flow of blood in the heart.
Additionally, black beans are rich in quercetin, a plant flavonol. It has anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation leads to the accumulation of plaques in arteries of the heart and causes blood clots. Inflammation, thus, increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Healthy Foods for Weight Loss
If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s essential to know that few foods help you achieve the goal faster. Different foods that we consume have a different effect on our bodies. Consuming nutritious food that assists in weight loss affects the weight and provides various other health benefits. In addition, they can have a wide range of effects on our hunger hormones and calorie consumption.
1. Salmon Fish
Salmon is a high-protein food. High protein food controls the hormones responsible for appetite, making people feel full. As per studies, it reduces the level of a hunger hormone called ghrelin and increases the level of peptide YY, a hormone responsible for making people feel full.
Consuming fish oil stimulates receptors inside the digestive tract, activates the sympathetic nervous system, and metabolises fats by storage cells.
2. Boiled Potatoes
Boiled potatoes produce a significant amount of resistant starch on cooling. As a result, it is beneficial for controlling metabolism, combating extra fat, and several other health benefits.
Our bodies do not easily digest or absorb resistant starch. However, as per studies, resistant starch’s fibre-like characteristics can improve the thermic effect of food and enhance overall energy expenditure. The thermic effect of food is the amount of energy used to absorb, break down, oxidise, or retain nutrients.
Nutritionists and mainstream media increasingly promote boiled potatoes as a ‘weight reduction wonder food’ due to their potential to boost fat oxidation and decrease fat storage in adipocytes.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has numerous health benefits. Its preparation involves mixing chopped or mashed apples with yeast to turn sugar into alcohol. The alcohol is then fermented into producing acetic acid by microorganisms. That makes apple cider a low-calorie beverage high in potassium, amino acids, and antioxidants. All these are beneficial to your health. It also contains disinfectant qualities, meaning it can fight toxins and harmful microbes in the body.
Apple Cider Vinegar also contains acetic acid, which helps to lower body fats and further restricts the accumulation of body fat. It does so by inhibiting lipogenesis (fat storage). As a result, acetic acid prevents specific enzymes in the body from producing fatty acids.
As per research, vinegar promotes fatty acid oxidation. That is because of the better gut bacteria that affects how the body burns and retains fat.
Almonds are healthy foods and are high in calories. Many may confuse them as a food that will lead to weight gain, however, it is the exact opposite. Almonds are rich in fibre and protein. These two components help to keep you satiated for longer. Subsequently, the tendency to snack on unhealthy options reduces, resulting in reduced calorie intake.
A study proves that regular almond consumption aids in weight loss. Out of the two groups that were a part of this research, the group that added almonds to their diet lost more weight and belly fat than the other group. Thus, it is safe to say that almonds aid in weight loss and may help you cut down on abdominal fat.
Healthy Foods for Diabetes
Diabetes refers to a condition where the body fails to release enough or respond adequately to insulin. Insulin is a hormone responsible for controlling blood sugar levels from rising too high (hyperglycemia). At the same time, insulin is also responsible for blood sugar falling too low (hypoglycemia). Diabetes, if left untreated, can result in obesity, heart problems, and renal disease. Therefore, consuming the correct type of food is one of the most critical steps.
Broccoli is anti-diabetic and a powerhouse of antioxidants and essential nutrients.
As per studies, sulforaphane in broccoli decreases blood glucose levels. Sulforaphane also lowers blood glucose levels by inhibiting liver enzymes that otherwise increase glucose production. Additionally, broccoli has a high dietary fibre content. Since fibres take quite some time to break down and digest, the body absorbs glucose slowly. As a result, it prevents abrupt blood sugar surges.
The most healthy variant of broccoli is its sprout form. The antioxidants in broccoli sprouts decrease stress to cells and repair pancreatic cells. As a result, it increases insulin secretion and brings down blood glucose levels. In addition, studies suggest that broccoli sprouts improve insulin resistance in patients with type 2 diabetes. Hence, consuming fresh broccoli sprouts reduces blood glucose levels and controls blood sugar levels.
Grapefruits have a low Glycemic index and Glycemic load on average. GI measures how quickly blood glucose levels increase in response to eating a specific type of food. The glycemic load (GL) measures the amount of carbohydrates in food and its insulin demand. Low-GL diets are suitable for people with diabetes because our bodies absorb and digest them at a slower rate. As a result, they ensure slow glucose release and keep the blood sugar level in check.
Hyperglycemia is a condition with increased blood glucose levels. It can enhance lipid peroxidation and oxidative stress markers. Grapefruits also contain polyphenols such as stilbene resveratrol, flavonoid quercetin, catechins, and anthocyanins, which help reduce hyperglycemia.
Grapes are healthy foods that are rich in phytochemicals. They contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies show that free radicals play a role in causing diabetes by enhancing insulin resistance and poor insulin signalling. Therefore, antioxidants that fight oxidative stress can prevent and repair damage caused by free radicals.
Flaxseed is a rich source of lignan, secoisolariciresinol diglucoside, which has an antioxidant effect. Flaxseed is a functional food with high fibre, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids, making it an excellent treatment for prediabetes.
Antioxidants help to reduce inflammation, insulin resistance, and the advancement of diabetes. Insulin resistance occurs when cells in your muscles, fat, and liver cells fail to respond adequately to insulin and cannot absorb glucose from the bloodstream.
As per studies, omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods boost insulin sensitivity and glycemic level. Insulin sensitivity is the degree to which your cells respond to insulin. Strong insulin sensitivity can help you lower your insulin resistance and diabetes risk. Therefore, any person with high blood sugar can help avoid diabetes by adding flaxseeds to their diet daily.
Furthermore, if you have diabetes, flax seeds should be the next addition to your diet. It is due to the fibre present in flax seeds, which help lower blood sugar levels. Research suggests that flax seeds can slow down the release of sugar into the blood because of their insoluble fibres.
Another research study on people with type 2 diabetes showed that those who consumed 10-20 grams of flaxseed powder every day for a month saw an 8-20% reduction in their blood sugar levels.
Garlic is a rich source of Vitamin B6. It is vital in the metabolism of carbohydrates. Garlic helps metabolise carbs at a controlled rate. In addition, allicin and S-allyl cysteine sulfoxide in garlic help elevate insulin levels in the blood.
Healthy Food for Eyesight
The food you eat has a significant impact on your eye health. Omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E can help protect against macular degeneration and cataracts. In addition, a healthy diet aids in weight control. It results in a significant reduction of obesity and associated disorders such as type 2 diabetes, one of the primary reasons for blindness in adults. Taking conscious efforts regarding your diet and controlling what you eat is one significant and easy move you can adopt to safeguard your eyesight.
Lemon is a rich source of lutein and zeaxanthin, two essential nutrients that prevent macular degeneration and cataracts. Macular degeneration leads to blurred vision and compromised central vision.
Lemon affects the macula, a significant part of the retina, responsible for providing us with a clear vision.
Additionally, lemon contains Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid. It is an ingredient in eye drops because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation in the eyes, also known as Uveitis, damages the middle layer of tissues contained in the eyewall. Its symptoms often arise suddenly and worsen quickly. These symptoms include eye redness, discomfort, and blurred vision.
As per studies, vitamin C has antioxidants that can prevent cataract formation and damage from free radicals. The formation of cataracts in the eyes results in cloudy vision. Vitamin C is necessary for the production of collagen and some neurotransmitters. Collagen plays a vital role in treating eye dryness. It also helps in protein metabolism.
Disorders regarding protein formation can lead to the accumulation of certain substances resulting in structural damage of the cornea. The cornea is the outer layer of the eyes. It controls the entry of light and dirt into the eyes.
2. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E. This potent antioxidant vitamin helps maintain good eyesight because it decreases the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
The antioxidant properties of vitamin E help maintain good vision. In addition, it lowers the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts. The UV rays from sunlight trigger oxidation in the eyes’ lens, causing cataracts. A cloudy accumulation occurs in the lens because of a cataract which impacts clear vision.
Tocopherols are a group of eight fat-soluble antioxidants that make up vitamin E. These nutrients aid in the protection of fats found in cell membranes. The retina of our eyes is high in fatty acids. Vitamin E, therefore, plays a vital role in the nourishment of the retina.
Kale contains lutein and zeaxanthin, associated with vitamin A and beta-carotene. These nutrients are suitable for protecting eye tissues from damage done by UV rays. Additionally, it limits the risk of problems related to ageing, like macular degeneration.
Retina requires a lot of Vitamin A and beta-carotene to stay healthy. Kale being rich in both nutrients is good for strengthening the retina. Retina enables us to see the light, colours, and shadows. It reduces any risk of blockage and leakage in the eye cells.
Carrots are high in beta-carotene. It is a carotenoid used by the body to make Vitamin A. Night blindness happens due to vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin A is required to form rhodopsin, a reddish-purple light-sensitive pigment in the eye’s cells that aids night vision. In addition, vitamin A helps convert the light into a signal conveyed to the brain, allowing clear vision in low light.
When the quantity of free radicals in the body becomes too large, they can cause cellular damage, degeneration, and chronic illnesses, including eye problems. However, as per studies, antioxidants in carrots can significantly lower free radical damage to the eyes.
Healthy Food for Kids
Children and teenagers require the proper nutrition for growth and learning. Therefore, children need foods and beverages high in nutrients but low in calories, fats, and sweeteners to build a healthy life.
Each food group contains specific nutrients that a child’s body requires to grow and function effectively. Therefore, they need a well-balanced diet that includes meals from all food groups to receive a diverse range of nutrients that will help them stay healthy. In addition, their appetites fluctuate depending on their age, growth phases, and level of physical activity, which is why providing the right proportion of nutrients is critical.
Yoghurt is a rich source of calcium. The importance of calcium for growing kids is enormous. Lack of enough calcium from an early age can result in weaker bones, posing severe problems later in adulthood. In addition, vitamin D and calcium are vital for preventing rickets. Vitamin D deficiency reduces calcium and phosphorus absorption.
Rickets is a skeletal disorder caused by a lack of calcium and phosphorus in the bones. It may lead to stunted body growth, joint and muscle pain and softened bones highly prone to fractures.
Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum are bacteria found in yoghurt. They help to maintain the digestive tract and retain good bacterias. Good bacterias are responsible for healthy bowel movements—their disruption results in diarrhoea. Yoghurt’s probiotics help to replenish good bacteria in the stomach, fight infection, and reduce diarrhoea. These probiotics also help to strengthen the immune system of the body.
As per studies, milk also promotes the release of a hormone called ‘insulin-like growth factor 1 hormone’ (IGF-1). IGF-1 plays a crucial role in forming and repairing bone and muscular tissue.
Eggs provide all of the essential dietary protein necessary for cell rejuvenation and new cell formation. In addition, eggs aid in the growth and development of children.
Eggs are high in antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which are necessary for good eyesight. They help provide clear vision and decrease the effects of macular degeneration. They also promote a healthy retina.
Eggs are a good source of choline, which aids in developing cell membranes. It is also necessary for the proper functioning and growth of the brain and vital for the brain chemicals that signal the nerves.
Eggs are also high in vitamin D, vitamin E, calcium, zinc, vitamin K, and vitamin B6.
Bananas have a high amount of soluble fibre (especially pectin) and a high percentage of water, with 75% of their mass being water. Therefore, it helps facilitate intestinal transit and digestion in the body. A single banana offers around 15% of a person’s daily fibre requirements. Additionally, since it contains a lot of simple monosaccharides, it induces the secretion of many enzymes that help digestion and help cure constipation.
Furthermore, bananas are rich in iron. Consequently, they benefit people with anaemia by stimulating the formation of haemoglobin in the blood. However, iron supplements are difficult to consume for children with anaemia. For this reason, bananas are a great alternative.
We instinctively take medicines and chemical supplements to treat any illness or physical disorders. We tend to forget that nature already has the solution for most of our problems. The world is gradually shifting from chemical-based products to organic products, and rightly so. It’s high time we all realise the many fascinating qualities of the natural food around us and focus on building a naturally balanced meal plan.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What are the ten most healthy foods?
A. Going by their nutritional composition, the ten most healthy foods are almonds, oatmeal, apples, bananas, blueberries, eggs, kale, lemon, broccoli and red cabbage. However, choosing the foods as per your body’s needs is essential.
Q. What are the three healthiest fruits?
A. Apples, blueberries and bananas are the three healthiest fruits. They are full of beneficial nutrients, vitamins. In addition, they are rich in antioxidants and are excellent in promoting overall health.
Q: What fruits should be avoided?
A: It depends on your individual needs and what you are trying to achieve. In general, you should avoid fruits that you are allergic to.
Q. Which fruit is best for weight loss?
A. The two key fundamentals of weight loss are healthy balanced diet intake and a healthy gut. Therefore, fruits low in calories and rich in fibre are the best for weight loss. Some examples are grapefruit, apples, berries, avocados and kiwifruit.
Q. Which fruit burns the most fat?
A. Apple is the best fruit that helps burn fat. They contain healthy flavonoids and fibres that may help burn fat. They are particularly rich in pectin fibre that breaks down slowly. Additionally, tomatoes are also excellent for burning fat.
Q. What is the best fruit for diabetics to eat?
A. Grapefruit; because they have a low Glycemic index and Glycemic load. Low-GL diets are suitable for people with diabetes because our bodies absorb and digest them at a slower rate. As a result, they ensure slow glucose release and keep the blood sugar level in check.
Q. What vegetables can cure diabetes?
A. Leafy green vegetables can be your best choice to cure diabetes. They are low in calories, highly nutritious and low in digestible carbs. So they don’t significantly affect blood sugar levels. In addition, spinach, kale, and other leafy greens are good sources of many vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C.
Q. What is the best food to reduce sugar?
A. Foods with a low glycemic index are the best to reduce blood sugar levels in your body. You can choose a balanced diet consisting of foods like whole-wheat bread, most fruits (apple, avocados, blueberries and plums etc.), most nuts (almonds, pistachio, walnuts, cashew etc.) and green leafy vegetables.
Q. Which food is good for the heart?
A. Eating a diet with the appropriate calories and fats is essential for your heart. However, some foods are particularly beneficial because of their nutrient profiles. Therefore, the American Heart Association suggests a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, and nuts.
Q. What foods prevent heart attacks?
A. The best foods for preventing heart disease are fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fish, poultry, and vegetable oils. In addition, you should avoid alcohol, red and processed meats, refined carbohydrates, foods and beverages with added sugar, sodium, and foods with trans fat.
Q. What are healthy foods that kids will eat?
A. Children and teenagers require the proper nutrition for growth and learning. Therefore, children need foods and beverages high in nutrients but low in calories, fats, and sweeteners. The best foods are milk, bananas, eggs and yoghurt.
Q: Which food is good in winters?
A: Almonds, sweet potatoes, turnip, dates, nuts and whole grains are good foods to consume in winters. They keep the nervous system active, keep the insulin level in check and keep the body warm.
Q. What foods improve eyesight naturally?
A. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E can help protect against macular degeneration and cataracts. As a result, they are excellent for your eyesight. Some examples are carrot, lemons, kale and sunflower seeds.
Q. Which fruit is best for the eyes?
A. Red berries, kiwi, tomatoes, and fresh juices made from guava, grapefruit, and orange are best for the eyes. They are rich in vitamin C, essential for your eye health.
Q. Which food is bad for the eyes?
A. Any form of unhealthy food is bad for the eyes. For example, processed meats, fried foods, sweetened drinks, table sauces and dressings, toppings and ready-packaged meals are the worst foods for your eyes.
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