Balanced eating is the cornerstone of optimal health. As a dietitian, I'm often asked about the best foods to incorporate into a daily diet. Here's a list of ten nutritious foods that will work wonders for your well-being and help you maintain a healthy diet.
1. Leafy Greens
Spinach, kale, and arugula are examples of green vegetables that are nutrient-rich, packed with vitamins and minerals. They provide a significant amount of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as essential minerals like calcium and iron. Consuming about one serving a day of leafy greens can help slow age-related cognitive decline (National Institutes of Health, 2021). You can easily add them to a smoothie, toss them into a salad, or cook them into your favourite dishes like omelettes and quiches.
Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are not only delicious but also loaded with antioxidants, fibre, and vitamin C. Their nutrient content supports the immune system and contributes to healthy skin. Epidemiological studies link regular and moderate blueberry consumption to a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and better weight management (National Institutes of Health, 2020). Berries can be added to pancakes or muffins for an antioxidant-rich breakfast.
3. Nuts and Seeds
Almonds, walnuts, and chia seeds are superfoods due to their high content of omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, and dietary fibres. Daily consumption of nuts and seeds can reduce the risk of diabetes, heart diseases, and even prolong life (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 2017). One way to include them in your diet is to sprinkle nuts or seeds over your salads, incorporate them into your bread recipes, or use them as a healthy snack.
Lentils, chickpeas, and black beans are fantastic sources of plant proteins. They are also high in fibres, which can help regulate blood sugar and promote fullness. Legumes can be the base for delicious curries or stews, served mashed as hummus, or added to salads for a protein boost. Roasted chickpeas also make a crunchy and tasty snack.
5. Fatty Fish
Salmon, mackerel, and sardines are known for their high omega-3 fatty acid content. These fish contribute to good heart health and can help reduce inflammation in the body. Here's how to integrate them into your diet: salmon can be grilled, baked, or added to pasta and salads.
Eggs are a complete source of protein, meaning they contain all the essential amino acids. They also provide important B vitamins and trace elements like selenium. Eggs are quite versatile. They're as good in a sandwich or in a salad as they are for breakfast.
7. Fermented Dairy Products
Natural yogurt and kefir are rich in probiotics, beneficial for digestive health. They also provide calcium and proteins, essential for bones and muscles. Natural yogurt can be enhanced with fruits and granola for breakfast or a snack, while kefir can be drunk on its own or used as a base for smoothies. You can also use yogurt in sauces or marinades.
8. Whole Grains
Quinoa, oats, and brown rice are whole grain foods that are excellent sources of fibres and B vitamins, crucial for energy and metabolism. Whole grains can be used in breads, cakes, or as a base for nourishing bowls.
Sweet potatoes and potatoes are highly nutritious and contain fibres, vitamins B6 and C, as well as potassium. Sweet potatoes can be roasted, turned into oven-baked fries, or mashed. Potatoes are perfect boiled, mashed, or diced and added to stews and soups.
10. Stone Fruits
Avocados, rich in monounsaturated fats, are excellent for the heart, while peaches and nectarines provide fibres and vitamin C. Avocados are great in guacamole, sliced on toast, or mixed into salads. Peaches and nectarines are delicious when grilled and served with cottage cheese or as pie filling.
By integrating these foods into your diet, you promote healthy living habits, reduce the risk of long-term diseases, and increase the variety of foods you eat.
Taking Care of Your Health with TeamNutrition
Looking to optimize your diet to support your well-being? The registered dietitians at TeamNutrition are here to guide you. Book an appointment with a registered dietitian today for a personalized journey towards a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. Contact us to discover the joy of eating well, without the restrictions of strict diets.
- Morris MC, Wang Y, Barnes LL, Bennett DA, Dawson-Hughes B, Booth SL. Nutrients and bioactives in green leafy vegetables and cognitive decline: Prospective study. Neurology. 2018 Jan 16;90(3):e214-e222. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000004815. Epub 2017 Dec 20. PMID: 29263222; PMCID: PMC5772164.
- Kalt W, Cassidy A, Howard LR, Krikorian R, Stull AJ, Tremblay F, Zamora-Ros R. Recent Research on the Health Benefits of Blueberries and Their Anthocyanins. Adv Nutr. 2020 Mar 1;11(2):224-236. doi: 10.1093/advances/nmz065. PMID: 31329250; PMCID: PMC7442370.
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. (2017). Why nutritionists are crazy about nuts. https://www.health.harvard.edu/nutrition/why-nutritionists-are-crazy-ab…