When people ask me about nutrition, I always tell them it's about quality of food, rather than how much you eat of it. Instead of counting calories, just focus on putting GOOD quality food in your body. Here, I give you my top 5 foods with amazing benefits to your health!
It's no secret that avocados are healthy for you- the health benefits are endless! The best part is that it's loaded with monounsaturated fats, which are our healthy fats. Saturated fats lead to higher levels of cholestorol in your blood, which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke, which makes avocados great since they are super low in saturated fat! In addition to having loads of healthy fats, it contains more potassium than bananas, which most people don't get enough of. Studies have shown that having a high potassium intake is linked to lower blood pressure, strokes and kidney failure. To add on to all of that, avocados have lots of fiber. On average, one avocado (100g) holds about 7g of fiber, which can contribute to weight loss, and the soluble fiber helps feed our good bacteria in our intestine, which is a very important function in our bodies. These are just some of the many benefits to avocados! I like to add avocados to my salads and to my morning eggs.
2. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are very underrated. I love topping my salads with chia seeds because they are loaded with awesome health benefits. One serving has 12g of carbohydrates, but guess what- 11g of those carbs are fiber, which means one serving has only 1g of net carbohydrates! The fiber in chia seeds absorb more water, which will expand in your stomach, making you feel more full, therefor making it easier to eat less. And again, fiber helps feed our friendly bacteria. Now, if you look at the nutrition label for chia seeds, the amount of fat might scare you, but guess what- most of that fat is our healthy, monounsaturated fats that we need! Chia seeds contain more Omega-3 Fatty Acids than salmon, which is great- but your body may not be able to use all of it. The form these fatty acids in chia seeds take is ALA (alpha linolenic acid) which we are not good at converting into the active forms. Basically, we won't use most of the fatty acids. I reccomend taking fish oil to supplement this issue.
Lentils are great! Getting past the taste is easy- you just have to know how to cook them! Like the previous two entries, lentils are loaded with fiber. I think I've spoken enough about fiber as it is, but just to reitterate, this will help lower your blood cholesterol and lower your risk of heart disease. Lentils also have a lot of magnesium which can improve blood flow, oxygen, and nutrients through the body. As far as legumes/nuts go, lentils are one of the highest in protein. If you are on a vegetarian diet, you may be lacking in protein. Lentils are a great way to combat this! If you find yourself tired often, you could be defecient in iron, so start eating lentils! They're a great source of iron. With daily consumption of the first three super foods I have listed, you should always easily hit your dietary fiber goal.
Spinach is so easy to eat; there's no reason to not eat spinach. But here's a couple reasons you should. Iron is something many people are missing, and one serving of spinach has 35% of the average person's daily need, and only has about 41 calories. All that iron for just those calories? Awesome! Spinach also comes equipped with calcium which helps our bones fight injury. The antioxidants in Spinach, like most leafy green vegetables, can be great for your skin by encouraging a healthy skin tone, not to mention helping to increase collagen production, which can strengthen capillaries for a smoother skin tone. The high amounts of vitamin A in Spinach can help you retain more water to fight dry skin.
5. Coconut Oil
My #5 for this list is actually my personal #1. I start everyday with one serving of coconut oil in my coffee. Coconut oil is a funny one-that's because all of its calories come from saturated fat-nothing else. Usually this should be a red flag in your brain, but coconut oil is the exception. Coconut oil has lauric acid, which can fight bacteria and create a hostile environment for bacteria. Coconut oil is also easy to digest, and creates a longer sustained energy and can increase your metabolism. It also can improve digestion. If coconut oil is take at the same time as omega-3 fatty acids, it can make them twice as effective.
These 5 Super Foods are easy to fit into your day. In fact, avocados, chia seeds, and spinach can be knocked out in one meal with a salad! Coconut oil can be placed in your coffee or protein shake and improve flavor. Lentils are a great side for just about any meal. By adding these foods into your diet, you will have loads of healthy fiber, omega-3 fatty acids (although I still reccomend using a fish oil supplement or eating salmon), lower your cholesterol and risk of heart disease. Give these foods a try, and after a couple weeks, you'll feel the difference!