Try incorporating more of these nutrient-rich foods into your diet this week to gain more healthy nutrients and experience some potentially new, delicious flavors.
Kiwifruit are only 46 calories per fruit and contain a full daily dose of vitamin C. According to a Norwegian study, eating two or three kiwis per day will lower your risk of heart disease by lowering triglyceride levels and reducing blood clot formation.
Almonds pack a triple threat of protein, healthy fats, and fiber thatalso help keep you feeling full longer. Swapping out a snack of complex carbs with a handful of almonds has been shown to aid in weight loss and lower cholesterol levels. A handful a day is ideal, just don’t go too nuts as almonds also pack in 170 calories in each ¾ of a cup.
These little seeds which are native to South America are chock-full of ogema-3 fatty acids, fiber and minerals, like calcium, phosphorus, manganese and magnesium. The combination of fiber, protein and the gelling of the seeds when added to liquid help keep you feeling full and satisfied. Sprinkle one 60 calorie tablespoon of chia seeds over your yogurt, oatmeal or salad to boost your nutritional value and feel full longer.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
The largest study to date of the Mediterranean diet and heart disease, revealed that people at risk for heart disease who ate a Mediterranean diet rich in extra- virgin oil lowered their risk of heart attacks, strokes and death by 30%! Replace butter with extra virgin olive oil to lower cholesterol. Look for EVOO packaged in dark bottles for the most health benefits.
Yogurt is packed with protein, calcium, and immunity boosting, cholesterol lowering, gut-proactive live cultures called “probiotics”. Probiotocs help maintain the health of digestive system, boost the immune system, and prevent vaginal yeast infections. Why go Greek? Greek yogurt is higher in protein which leaves you feeling full longer and contains less carbohydrates and lactose due to the straining process. Choose non-fat, low sugar options with “live & active cultures.”.
A dietary mainstay of Eastern cultures, studies where people drink more than four cups of green tea per day have been linked to lowering cholesterol, preventing obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Green tea’s health benefits lie in it’s powerful antioxidants, called catechins. Green tea leaves are minimally processed, making its antioxidants more potent.
Mushrooms have been used for centuries in Japan and China to boost immunity and fight cancer. All mushrooms are a mere 15 calories per cup yet high in nutritional value. They are the only vegetable-based source of vitamin D (like humans, mushrooms produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight).
Quinoa may seem like a grain but it is actually a protein rich seed. It is gluten free, rich in riboflavin and magnesium and a good source of dietary fiber. It is an excellent substitute for rice or pasta and comes in a variety of colors- red, orange, pink, brown and black. Serve it warm or cold, and enjoy 8g of protein and 5g of fiber in each 223 calorie cup.
Avocados are calorie-dense but rich in healthy mono-saturated fats which have been linked to lowering bad LDL cholesterol and increasing good HDL cholesterol levels. Avocados are are also high in fiber and provide more potassium per gram than bananas. The think skin of the avocados protects it from pesticides so going organic is not necessary. Just keep in mind that half a heart healthy avocado is 140 calories.
One of the most ancient foods, beans are one of the most inexpensive and virtually fat free sources of protein. Beans are a nutritional powerhouse, chock full of fiber, folate, B vitamins and iron. They are known to help normalize blood sugars and also linked to reducing cancer risk. You can use most beans, chickpeas, lentils, back-eyed peas, black, white, navy or kidney beans, interchangeably in recipes. So explore which you like and slowly introduce them into your diet.