Please enjoy the following guest article from Cassie Phillips, a fellow health and wellness blogger. Her food tips are worth the read!
Food is tough. For many of us, it may be one of the single greatest challenges to overcome. Ironically, it’s not because of scarcity either; there’s so much food available in the first world we’re often struggling to figure out what not to eat.
Rather than take a negative view on food, it’s more productive to stay positive. Instead of worrying about what not to eat, we should be focusing on what we should be eating. By picking out a selection of healthy foods, we lose space in our day to eat the junk because we’re filling up on what’s good for us.
If you’re looking to make some instant improvements to your diet, stick with some of the foods we’ve listed below.
- Green Tea
Does it seem odd to start your day with tea rather than something you can chew? It shouldn’t; a large portion of what you put in your body each day should be in fluid form. That’s because your body needs plenty of liquids to keep things moving.
Green tea is particularly advantageous because it contains a relatively small amount of caffeine, and it’s rich in antioxidants as well as polyphenols. Certain types of caffeine also contain generous amounts of L-theanine, which has been shown to reduce levels of anxiety and help produce a calm mind. It’s also beneficial for burning fat.
If you find yourself an aficionado of green tea, try Japanese matcha powder. The green tea produced by the crushed-up leaves has a pleasant, slightly sweet and bitter flavor and a beautiful green color. It goes well on its own or mixed with other ingredients.
In spite of the war on fat fought in the later part of the last century, the overall consensus in the scientific community is that your body needs fat. So why not give it a healthy fat that’s also delicious and filled with fiber? Avocados provide a number of key nutrients, including pantothenic acid and vitamin K. They’re also excellent sources of natural folate, which future moms need.
You’ll find avocados are quite versatile; not only do they make a great spread for sandwiches, but they also slice well into salads, make excellent dip, and can even be crushed up with cocoa powder to form a delicious pudding.
Fun fact: You can actually eat the pit of an avocado, but because there hasn’t been much research done on consumption, the California Avocado Commission recommends against it.
- Sweet Potatoes
If any starch has been the victim of poor naming, it is the humble sweet potato. Despite a similar appearance to white potatoes, sweet potatoes aren’t even part of the same genetic family—white potatoes are part of the nightshade family Solanaceae while sweet potatoes come from the Convolvulaceae family—and are far healthier.
Rich in fiber and Vitamin A, sweet potatoes make an excellent dish, as they are extraordinarily filling and can satisfy your sweet tooth. They’re easy to prepare and can be used in a variety of dishes.
Note that fried versions of sweet potato (such as sweet potato fries) aren’t particularly healthy. Stick with cooking your own, preferably by steam or baking methods.
Quite a few dieticians and nutritionists recommend the consumption of nuts, and they aren’t wrong. Walnuts are a particularly beneficial type of nut to have in your diet, both for your physical and mental health. As a healthy source of omega-3 fats, walnuts help to balance our otherwise omega-6-laden diets.
Other than beneficial fats, walnuts also help with the production of melatonin. Melatonin is a very busy hormone, playing an important role in our brains as a precursor to serotonin (one of our main neurotransmitters). It also helps with our circadian rhythm, which allows us to go to sleep when the appropriate time comes.
Just be sure to eat the whole walnut. While the flaky skin can sometimes taste a tad bitter, it contains many of the beneficial tannins and flavonoids that are so beneficial as part of the walnut. They make a great addition to quite a few dishes (salads especially), so if you don’t enjoy them on their own, use them as a garnish!
While a bit fishier than other fish, salmon deserves its place as the king of healthy fish for its incredible omega-3 content. Its benefits don’t stop there either; salmon is loaded with Vitamin D which is something we all need in our diets because, let’s face it, we don’t sit in the sun enough to absorb all we that need.
Salmon is no slouch on B vitamins either, containing several of the essentials in dosages far exceeding the minimum recommended amount, especially B12. B vitamins are essential for nervous function in our body and particularly needed for maintaining healthy everyday brain function.
While fresh is always best, salmon is available in canned form. You can use it in place of tuna for greater health benefits. Avoid farmed salmon unless you can personally verify the safety of the farming practice, as salmon farms tend to be highly unsanitary and produce relatively low-quality products. Alaskan salmon are best.
A Healthier Diet
Eating well and eating healthy don’t need to be separate outcomes. Most of the healthiest foods available help curb your appetite and may keep you from overeating to begin with. Just be warned that there are always less nutritious versions of healthy foods out on the market, so aim for the raw stuff as much as possible.
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If you’ve got tips of your own to share about nutrition, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.
About the Author: Cassie is a health enthusiast and technology specialist. She regularly blogs about a variety of topics, including modern advancements in health and fitness. When not writing, she enjoys spending time outside and cooking tasty foods.