In a world of processed foods like chips, burgers, and sodas, it’s not always easy to stick to a healthy nutritious diet. A walk through a supermarket will prove this as almost every aisle contains foods that are high in sugars and trans fats as well as preservatives, added flavors, and artificial coloring.
Natural whole foods are the best way to go, whether you are trying to lose weight, maintain a healthy body weight, or just trying to eat healthy. So here’s a list of the top 10 healthiest foods on earth.
The 10 Healthiest Foods
Eating apples on a daily basis for just six months causes a 4 % increase in good cholesterol (HDL) and a 23 % decrease in levels of bad cholesterol (LDL)
While it may seem cliché to say that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, current research shows that this could be closer to the truth than we ever realized. Apples are an excellent source of antioxidants, which prevents the damage caused by free radicals in our bodies. These free radicals are also involved in the aging process and several lifestyle diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, and obesity.
In fact, some studies suggest that a type of antioxidant called polyphenols which are found in apples may even help to increase a person’s lifespan. Recent research shows that eating apples on a daily basis for just six months causes a 4 % increase in good cholesterol (HDL) and a 23 % decrease in levels of bad cholesterol (LDL).
Almonds contain potassium, healthy carbs, dietary fiber, Calcium, Iron, magnesium and Vitamin B-6
Almonds make it to the list of top 10 healthy foods as they are a storehouse of vitamins and minerals which is why they have always been an important part of the Indian diet. Almonds contain potassium, healthy carbs, dietary fiber, Calcium, Iron, magnesium and Vitamin B-6. These nuts are also an excellent source of healthy fats.
A recent review found that the unsaturated fatty acids in almonds help to maintain cholesterol levels and are an excellent heart-healthy snack. Furthermore, research shows that eating lightly salted dry-roasted, lightly salted almonds every day reduces hunger but does not increase body weight which makes it the perfect mid-day snack for people on a weight loss diet looking to shed a few excess kilos.
Just half a cup of spinach will meet your daily requirement for vitamin K which helps to build strong bones and prevent heart disease
Popeye, the popular cartoon character had it right! Spinach is a nutrient-dense food that contains a wide variety of vitamins including vitamin A, several B vitamins, and vitamin C. It is also a good source of minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, and manganese.
Just half a cup of spinach will meet your daily requirement for vitamin K which helps to build strong bones and prevent heart disease. You can chop and sauté spinach along with an onion, a tomato and a few herbs and use this to make an omelet for your breakfast – a healthy power packed meal to kick start your day!
4. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate improves blood flow and lowers blood pressure
Chocoholics everywhere can rejoice – as recent research shows that dark chocolate is a great source of antioxidants and can provide modest heart health benefits. Dark chocolate also improves blood flow and lowers blood pressure which makes it the perfect dessert option for people with blood pressure problems.
Furthermore, dark chocolate is also a natural mood enhancer which means that people who suffer from hypertension brought on by stress will receive double the benefits! However, this does not mean that you can munch through slabs of dark chocolate – as with anything, moderation is key so have just one or two small squares of dark chocolate a day.
Bananas are often called the poor man’s fruit but this fruit should be a part of everyone’s diet. The banana is a high-energy fruit that is a good source of healthy carbs. Bananas are also a good source of several B vitamins, vitamin C and healthy protein. This fruit is especially beneficial for bone health as it contains modest amounts of magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and potassium.
Bananas are also a good source of iron and zinc which are essential nutrients for a healthy immune system. The high potassium content in bananas also provides cardioprotective benefits. Research shows that consuming bananas increases the levels of “happy hormones” such as dopamine and serotonin which help to counter depression.
6. Oily Fish
Oily fish are an excellent source of oil-soluble vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. These oils have cardioprotective effects as they help to prevent heart disease and improve overall heart health. The fatty acids in fish also boost the functioning of the nervous system and they help to reduce the pain and discomfort of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.
Research has also shown that fish oil supplements can slow the progression of prostate cancer and can reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. If you include just one serving of oily fish every week in your diet, you can cut your risk of risk of rheumatoid arthritis by as much as 50%. The best oily fish in India include Raavas (salmon), Bangda (mackerel), and Pedvey (sardines).
Broccoli is high in calcium, potassium, and folate which is why it is one of the best foods for developing kids and pregnant women.
Broccoli was common in Europe and America and came to India only a few decades ago. When it first arrived in the Indian market, it was considered rare and exotic, but today every bhajiwalla stocks it! Broccoli is known for its high nutrient content which is why it is often listed as a superfood. Broccoli is high in calcium, potassium, and folate which is why it is one of the best foods for developing kids and pregnant women.
Broccoli also contains phytonutrients which reduce the risk of heart disease, certain types of cancer, and diabetes. Broccoli is very high in vitamin C and vitamin K – while vitamin C helps to boost the immune system, vitamin K reduces bone loss and reduces the risk of fractures which is why broccoli should be included in the regular diet plan of any elderly person. Just one cup of this vegetable will meet your daily requirement for both these vitamins.
8. Sour Lime
The compounds in sour limes increase “good” HDL cholesterol levels and improve bone health
Lemons have received more attention than sour limes over the years, but sour limes may actually have a few additional health benefits as they contain higher quantities of certain compounds. Sour Limes are an important part of Indian cuisine and in fact India leads the total world production of sour limes.
While sour limes are most well known for their high vitamin C content which boosts immunity, resent research shows that compounds called limonoids in sour lines and lemons help to fight several types of cancer including cancer of the mouth, stomach, colon, breast, and lung. The compounds in sour limes also increase “good” HDL cholesterol levels and improve bone health. Squeeze a little lime juice over your salads or even over your food or have it as a refreshing drink after a long day at work.
Lentils have always been a part of the Indian diet; in fact, for most of us, dal soup was the first food we ate as babies. Lentils are high in fiber and protein and vegetarians often use them as a meat substitute in traditional meat recipes. Lentils contain a lot of fiber, folic acid, and potassium which support heart health. According to the AMA (American Heart Association), increasing your fiber intake can reduce your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels beyond what you can achieve through a diet low in saturated and trans fats alone.
Furthermore, the potassium, calcium, and magnesium in lentils decrease high blood pressure naturally which in turn improves heart health. Lentils are also a good source of iron which helps to beat fatigue so the best thing you can do at the end of a long work day is chow down on mum’s famous dal makhani!
Eggs are so nutritious that health experts often refer to them as “nature’s multivitamin”. Eggs have a high protein content and several “brain nutrients” which is why it is ideal for growing children. Eggs are one of the world’s healthiest foods because they contain almost every vitamin and mineral we require, including calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, vitamin A, several of the B vitamins, and vitamin E.
They are also a good source of antioxidants and healthy fats. While people may worry about the cholesterol content in eggs, research shows that eggs can actually improve heart health. Eggs also keep you feeling full for a longer period so have an egg along with your breakfast to stave off hunger pangs.
In addition to this list of the world’s healthiest foods, there are several other foods that are healthy and nutritious – the important thing to keep in mind is that your diet should consist of a wide variety of natural and unprocessed foods. The easiest way to give up junk food is to switch to wholesome and healthier options – for instance, instead of giving up on chips altogether, you can make your own kale chips at home or make your own healthy nacho cheese dip instead of using the store-bought varieties. Make a conscious choice today so that you can have a healthier body tomorrow!
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February 9, 2018