9 Powerful Healthy Foods to Start Eating Today

foods for optimal healthI often get asked the question “what should I eat to lose weight and be healthy?”  This list of 9 powerful healthy foods to start eating today are some of the most nutritionally potent, anti-aging, anti-diabetes, weight-stabilizing, blood sugar normalizing, mood-enhancing bang-for-your-buck super foods nature has to offer.  Along with eating these foods, it is important to remove processed carbohydrates and sugars from your diet because they can strip the body of nutrients, canceling the benefits of eating nutrient-dense, high quality foods such as the following:

Grass-fed Beef

A six-ounce portion of grass-fed beef contains between 2 and 6 times the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats of regular beef and averages about 100 fewer calories. Grass-fed beef is a great natural source of protein and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) a fatty acid known to reduce body fat.

Great alternatives: organic or pasture raised pork, chicken; grass-fed bison.

Wild Salmon

Wild salmon remains one of the world’s best sources of beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fats can only be obtained through your diet, and they help to nourish your brain, reduce your risk of heart disease, and improve overall health.  In general, choose wild, cold-water, and fatty fish to farmed, warm-water, and processed fish.    Serve this flavorful lemon pepper crusted salmon for dinner.

Also smart: sardines, tuna, oysters, anchovies.

Blueberries

Though all berries (and most fruits) contain beneficial amounts of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants, blueberries are nature’s most potent free radical. They’re also quite high in fiber and relatively low in calories (about 80 calories per cup). Aim to get this cancer-fighter into your diet on a weekly, if not daily, basis.

Awesome alternatives:  cranberries, cherries, strawberries, grapes.

Eggs

Eggs are rich in protein, vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. Choose the DHA enhanced version available in most stores for an extra boost of Omega-3′s. Or, generally more expensive, eggs from pasture raised chickens are worth the additional nutrients compared to the commercial raised variety.

Kale

Kale is one of the world’s top 10 healthiest foods.  Known as a cancer-fighter, cholesterol reducing ability, liver detoxifier, anti-inflammatory agent, kale is worthy of including in your daily diet.  Enjoy kale with onions and garlic sautéed, raw in smoothies or chopped in salads.  This sauteed kale recipe gets rave reviews everytime. 

Garlic

Aside from being delicious, garlic is beneficial for heart health and may also reduce blood pressure and appears to possess antibacterial properties. Garlic is rich in antioxidants as well. Fresh is absolutely best.

Also awesome:  leeks, shallots, scallions, onions, ginger.

Macadamia Nuts

 Most nuts and seeds are naturally quite healthy (but remember, a peanut is not a nut!).  Macadamia nuts in particular are a high energy food and heart healthy, with 78% of fat content being the healthy monounsaturated variety. Good source of protein, calcium, potassium and fiber.

Sweet Potatoes

If you’re going to eat a starchy vegetable, this is a brilliant choice. Sweet potatoes contain high levels of vitamin A (as beta carotene), vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, calcium, and iron. One serving of sweet potato has 7 grams of fiber.

Also smart: yams, yucca, and squash.

Broccoli

Broccoli is a cruciferous cancer-fighting vegetable and may stimulate healthy hormone production. It is incredibly rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, yet low in calories. This delicious, sturdy and versatile veggie goes with nearly everything and soaks up tasty sauces and healthy oils quite well.   Try this delicious recipe for garlic roasted broccoli.

Also smart:  cauliflower, brussel sprouts, Swiss chard, collard greens, spinach.

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Eat Wholesome Foods for Optimal Health

Good Wholesome Foods

Why do some foods cause horrible side effects on the body and brain?  Particularly within 24 hours of eating breads, fried foods, and sugary desserts, I feel bloated, gassy and experience brain fog.  My ability to think is impaired quite a bit and I am more irritable and fatigued than ever.  These feelings after eating certain foods often impair my otherwise good mood and energetic nature.  Over the years I have realized that eating these foods at the expense of feeling optimal is not worth it.  Thankfully, I have learned the importance of eating whole foods full of nutrients, staying clear away from processed foods and rancid oils.  By eating this way, I thrive both mentally and physically.  And most importantly, I LOVE eating this way.

So What To Eat?

If you google ‘healthy diet’ the search engine will bring up over 185,000,000 results!  Within that total, I would guess there are over a million different types of ‘healthy diets’ being advocated.  So for the average Joe (or Josephine) who rightfully is seeking to follow a ‘healthy diet’ there is a high chance that he or she will  fall prey to many false claims selling quick fixes or products.

Fortunately, the solution is more simple than most people think:  just eat whole foods.  When I say whole foods, I mean food that is as close to nature as possible.  Things that only have one-ingredient are a prime example i.e. what are the ingredients in an avocado?  Avocado.  What about a container of strawberries?  Just strawberries.  Sounds simple right?  Although an easy concept to understand, to the newbie trying to follow the path of whole-foods eating, the task can be quite a difficult one.  Food manufacturers put so much junk in foods including sugars, soy, wheat, and rancid oils. A chicken vegetable salad from the local Cafe can be packed with inflammation causing vegetable oils and sugar in the dressing.  In this instance, without any knowledge, good intentions can wreak havoc on one’s health.

What Foods Cause Issues?

In a nutshell, sugar and refined carbohydrates, plant oils, soy, gluten/wheat, and even non-glutinous grains and legumes can keep one away from their goals of optimal health.  For those that are sensitive, dairy can be a culprit as well.  Many of these foods lead to fat gain, heart disease, diabetes, inflammation, accelerated aging, autoimmune conditions, congestion, sleep issues, etc.  Simply removing these foods from the diet has been shown to reduce, if not reverse, many of these ailments.

Health

Value Health

With this blog, my goal is to expose you to the world of whole-foods eating:  the benefits and the good it will bring you in all aspects of your life.  As a foodie (someone who absolutely loves food), I can assure you that eating exclusively whole-foods is a luxury in my life. I do not feel like I am missing out on life because I choose to say no thank you to crappy, nutrient-poor food.   In fact, I am sitting in a local Oakland coffeeshop that is offering free samples of brownies and something they call “cookie muffins”.  People are coming in, curiously taking a bite and then greedily ordering 2-3 of each.  I guess they are that good?  I can absolutely positively say that despite any indirect peer pressure, I do not have any desire to eat those “treats”.

For one, I am satiated from a whole-foods meal I ate close to 3 hours ago (that’s the beauty of eating good food:  it keeps you full and satisfied and cravings-free).

Secondly, I know that if I take even a small bite, it will probably lead to a 2nd and then a 3rd (sugar is addictive if you didn’t know).

And thirdly, I just don’t want any and I am completely fine with that.  It used to perplex me how people could say no to free food.  Now I am happy to report that I am one of those people.

What about you?  What are your thoughts about eating wholesome foods?  How do you deal with temptation and peer pressure?  Share your thoughts in the comments.