Good health is not something we can buy. However, it can be an extremely valuable savings account. – Anne Wilson Schaef
What we put in our bodies is just as important as what we do with our bodies. Often times, we exercise to maintain our health; however, health is much more than physical fitness. It is a balancing act and the food that we eat plays a big role in maintaining that overall health. Below, we have compiled a list of nutritious foods to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.
1. Heart Health
- Oatmeal: Oatmeal helps to lower bad cholesterol. To do this, it soaks up the bad cholesterol before it enters the bloodstream. We recommend skipping instant oatmeal and going for the real stuff; instant oatmeal contains extra sugars. Add blueberries on top to not only add some flavor, but to lower your blood pressure.
- Dark Chocolate: That’s right, we said dark chocolate! Not only is it a tasty treat, but adding a bit of dark chocolate to your diet may help lower risk of clotting, high blood pressure, and inflammation.
- Walnuts: Eating between 0.5 -1 ounce of walnuts each day can help improve heart health. The healthy fats contained in walnuts help to lower the bad cholesterol and increase the good cholesterol.
2. Eye Health
- Dark Leafy Greens: Kale, spinach, and other leafy greens and chock-full of lutein and zeaxanthin which aid in the effort to protect your eyes. These nutrients help protect against macular degeneration, cataracts, and more. Eat your dark leafy greens with avocado, almonds, or other healthy fats to ensure your body absorbs as much of their benefits as possible.
- Sweet Potatoes and Carrots: Sweet potatoes and carrots are great sources of beta carotene. Beta carotene is known for slowing the production of macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss. Like your leafy greens, make sure to eat these with some sort of healthy fat to receive optimal benefits!
- Salmon: The omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon help to prevent dry eyes, provide structural support to the cell membrane, and help in the fight against macular degeneration. If you aren’t a fan of fish, walnuts and flax also contain omega-3 fatty acids.
3. Digestive Health
- Beans: Beans, otherwise known as the “magical fruit”, aid in the process of digestive health. They contain fiber which helps guide the digestive tract work smoothly and efficiently. It is recommended to consume about 25 grams of fiber each day.
- Yogurt: The live cultures and probiotics found in yogurt will help your system perform more effectively. Probiotics can help those with an irritable bowel or frequent constipation. If dairy does not agree with your body, a probiotic supplement will give you the same results!
- Ginger: Ginger is a natural way to settle the stomach. It helps to move food from the stomach to the intestines more efficiently. Not sure how to get more ginger into your diet? You can eat it raw, or consume it in candies and tea!
4. Overall Health
- Apples: Apples contain pectin, a fiber that is known for its positive affects on the body as a whole. It has been found to lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of breast cancer and colon cancer, and decrease the severity of diabetes.
- Green Tea: Green tea has been proven to not only lower bad cholesterol and high blood pressure, but also improve brain function and blood flow. It is good for your heart, brain and body and gives you a boost of energy to make it through the day!
- Quinoa: This grain is perfect for anyone, including vegetarians, vegans, and those who are gluten free. It contains copper, iron, and a lot of protein. The high amount of magnesium found in quinoa can also help to decrease the intensity of migraines.
It is important to remember that when we feed ourselves we are feeding an entire system. Everything we put in our bodies should serve a specific purpose. Utilize the list of healthy and helpful foods above to maintain a healthy and happy life.