Some best healthy foods are so good for you that they end up on any nutritionists’ list of top bets, and others that just don’t get the attention they deserve. Until now.
All the foods you’ll see here are whole foods that are widely available, affordable, full of natural nutrients and taste good too.
Let us take you beyond blueberries, nuts and salmon, and introduce you to some others that are loaded with nutritional goodness and might just make it into your diet once you learn more about them.
First up, beans and lentils… two of the most overlooked options you’ll find. Beans are rich in protein, fiber, complex carbs, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Even if you use the canned variety, you can make them healthier by looking for lower sodium options or rinsing the beans with water.
Most of us don’t come close to eating the three cups of beans a week recommended by the 2005 Dietary Guidelines. To help, add beans to soups, stews, salads or grain medleys. There are other recipes you might consider; the internet is a great source of new ideas.
Second on the list is watermelon, the favorite of summer. It’s sweet, fun to eat and juicy, but best of all low in calories and full of vitamin C. A, potassium, and lycopene. Being high in water, it even helps meet your fluid needs for the day. The thick peel protects the flesh from pests which has earned it a place on the Environmental Working Groups “clean 15” produce.
Next are sweet potatoes, a staple of Thanksgiving dinner, and though often thought of as high in calories and carbs, these are nutritional all-stars. They’re an excellent source of beta-carotene, vitamin C. fiber, and potassium. What’s more, this veggie is versatile and sweet tasting, so it doesn’t need much to make it great.
Try topping a sweet potato with a sprinkle of cinnamon, applesauce or crushed pineapple, or black beans and salsa. Also delicious mashed, sliced into French fries or baked until golden.
Fourth on the list is red cabbage, a cruciferous veggie that’s an excellent source of fiber, vitamins A, D and K, folate and trace minerals. What’s more, they’re only 22 calories in one cup of chopped cabbage. It can be eaten raw, cooked, sweet or savory, like a coleslaw. It can be added to soups, salads, casseroles, burgers or sandwiches. This veggie can boost cancer-fighting enzymes.
Fifth on the list is canned tomatoes because Cooking tomatoes release some of the lycopene, a disease fighter.
A 2009 study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that a diet rich in vegetables might help prevent prostate cancer, and maybe other types of cancer as well. Use canned tomatoes for pizza, sauces, and homemade salsa. You can add some into soups, stews, casseroles, or pasta dishes. If you don’t like canned veggies, consider low sodium vegetable juices.
The sixth best healthy foods are plain nonfat Greek yogurt, a standout among the many options on the market today. All yogurts are excellent sources of potassiurn,calcium, zinc, protein, and vitamins B12 and B6 . Greek yogurt is creamier and thicker. It has probiotic cultures and is lower in lactose, and has two times the protein content of other yogurts. This protein will help keep you feeling fuller, longer. You can pair the tart taste with the natural sweetness of fresh fruit or whole grain cereal.