berriesWith the wide variety of foods that are available in stores, it is easy to choose the ones that promote good health and help fight diseases. However, the same variety makes it just as easy to pick up foods that do nothing to help people stay healthy. In fact, some of these choices may include foods that work against maintaining optimum health. Research on eating habits and nutrition has provided sufficient data about foods that are the best for maintaining general health and preventing diseases in comparison to those food items that have zero nutritional value.

Let’s take a look at some of the foods to include in your daily diet.

Fatty Fish
The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids have been confirmed by many studies.

  • These compounds help support cardiovascular health, improve joint function, decrease symptoms of depression and prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
  • A good source of these fats is in certain types of fish; mackerel, tuna, smelt, whitefish, salmon and shrimp all contain significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and can be good options for including omega-3 fatty acids in your diet.

Quinoa is a grain plant that has many benefits.

  • It is high in protein and can be used as an alternate source when you are reducing your meat consumption.
  • It is also high in fiber and helps protect the gastrointestinal system.
  • Quinoa is gluten free and does not cause any sensitivities.
  • It has a low glycemic index that metabolizes slowly, which is beneficial for people with fluctuating levels of blood sugar.
  • Quinoa is also high in vitamins and minerals and can be used in a variety of dishes.

Black Beans
The deeper the color of the bean, the more antioxidants they contain. Black beans are a rich source of antioxidants that can help prevent cancer, protect against cardiovascular disease and protect against Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

Tomatoes add flavor and color to so many dishes, which makes it easy to enjoy the associated health benefits.

  • These red vegetables, also categorized as a fruit, contain lycopene, an antioxidant that can help to improve vascular function, aid in blood sugar control and preserve nerve and brain tissue.
  • Tomatoes are also high in vitamin C, vitamin A and folic acid, all important compounds for good health.

Yellow Corn
Yellow corn is rich in carotenoids like zeaxanthin and lutein. These antioxidants help protect your skin and eyes from ultraviolet light damage.

  • Make sure your corn is fresh, not processed, and steamed briefly to preserve its blood sugar lowering and cholesterol-lowering benefits.

The deep-blue color of blueberries is caused by a type of flavonoid called anthocyanin, a type of antioxidant that can help prevent diseases and increase overall health.

  • Blueberries are also high in fiber that aids digestive health, collagen to support skin health, as well as vitamin A, vitamin C and a number of phytonutrients.

Tart Cherries
Tart, red cherries offer many antioxidant benefits, reduce inflammation throughout the body and can help you sleep better. They may also make dieting easier.

  • Tart cherries are not the regular cherries you usually buy for snacking. These are less sweet and can be purchased dried or frozen, without added sugar.

Low-Fat Dairy Products
Dairy products are a good source of vitamin D and calcium for keeping bones and teeth healthy. However, experts advise using no-fat or low-fat types to eliminate the additional animal fat that is associated with cardiovascular disease.

Turmeric is a plant that has been used as a medicine for centuries. It can be consumed to improve joint health, help gastrointestinal and liver problems. Turmeric can also be used to help control blood sugar levels and protect the brain from dementia.

Oregano is chock full of antioxidants.

  • As little as one-half teaspoon can provide the same amount of antioxidants as three cups of raw spinach.
  • It also contains vitamin K, which helps to build bone tissue, and fiber for a healthy gastrointestinal system.

The guidelines for healthy eating often use broad categories for what people should eat. However, it’s a good idea to buy foods based on what best suits your body and lifestyle so you can address specific areas of concern regarding your overall health.

For more information, visit Careworks.

Author: Michele Holincheck, FNP