It’s easy to get stuck in a food rut, eating the same things over and over again. Making sure we eat a variety of different foods, in a variety of different colors, helps us ensure that we’re getting proper nutrition. Each food has a unique nutritional profile and by branching out, we’re able to bring all of those health benefits into our diet.
Here are six foods that are extremely delicious and jam-packed with healthy nutrients.
Mango. This delicious tropical fruit is rich in vitamins A, B, C and E and should be considered a super-food — especially among women. The specific polyphenols found in the mango have been shown to help decrease breast cancer cell proliferation according to research published by the Department of Food and Science. The same polyphenols were able to reduce inflammation in both cancerous and non-cancerous cells, making it a great addition to a cancer-prevention diet.
Rainbow chard. We’ve all heard that we should be eating plenty of leafy, green vegetables, but rainbow chard is a standout in this category. Its vibrant colors come from the wide array of antioxidants. It contains beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, and zinc among many other disease fighting antioxidants. Rainbow chard also happens to be wonderful for bone health — thanks to its high levels of calcium, vitamin K and magnesium. Chlorophyll and other phytochemicals that contribute to its green color have also been shown to help protect against cancer in research conducted by Oregon State University.
Fermented foods. This group of foods, which includes sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, kefir and fermented vegetables, is highly nutritious and digestible. The process of fermentation predigests foods, making their nutrients more bioavailable — and fermentation can even generate additional nutrients such as beneficial probiotics. Eating these foods will introduce beneficial bacteria into your digestive system, which can help you absorb more nutrients in the foods you eat. Studies have shown a link between probiotic-rich foods and overall health.
Beef liver. Many people object to the notion of eating liver, believing that the liver is a storage organ for toxins in the body. The truth is that while the liver does neutralize toxins, it does not store them. However, it is an important storage organ for very important nutrients vitamins such as A, D, E, K, B12 and folic acid. It also contains minerals like iron and copper, which are important tools for helping the body get rid of toxins. These nutrients are also important to help support healthy eyes and skin, and to produce red blood cells and boost the immune system. Always look for organ meats from animals that have been raised on fresh pasture without the use of hormones, antibiotics or commercial feed.
Dark chocolate. You might think that dark chocolate is an overrated “health food” but in reality, it holds powerful health benefits. It contains antioxidants, which can help cells resist damage caused by free radicals and environmental contaminants. Studies at Harvard have shown dark chocolate can help improve cholesterol and endothelial function, and may even lower blood pressure and blood sugar. Choose organic chocolate that is at least 70 percent cacao, and always check the label to make sure there are no chemicals, fake sweeteners or high-fructose corn syrup.
Walnuts. This simple little nut is packed with protein, healthy fats, plant sterols, antioxidants and plenty of vitamins and minerals. Walnuts also contain several neuroprotective compounds, which means they are an ideal food for brain health. Vitamin E, folate, melatonin and omega-3 fatty acids, along with antioxidants found in walnuts can all help give your brain a boost. According to The American Institute for Cancer Research, the addition of walnuts to the diet is a good cancer-preventative measure.
Jacqueline Banks is a certified holistic health counselor and busy mother. Her focus is on helping other busy moms in all stages of motherhood keep themselves and their little ones healthy and happy. She uses natural and organic solutions to solve individual health problems and promote clean living. Check out her website at www.jbholistic.com.