Looking for a specific food for a specific need? Looking to experience a new gastronomic experience? What are the best healthy foods to eat?
There are certain foods called “Superfoods” that are being hailed as cure-alls. Some of them actually do a good job of helping us stay healthy. Others are more questionable. But there are a myriad of foods that can help prevent disease, lift our spirits, keep our weight at optimal levels, heal us and make us well.
We’ll also get into foods that are quick to prepare, so you’re not in the kitchen all day, and can get your work done, or get out and have fun. So, let’s get started on healthy foods to eat!
1) Organic Vegetables.
I specify organic because pesticides that are used in growing conventional vegetables are harmful. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t eat conventional vegetables, but organic vegetables are much healthier. Given a choice between not eating any vegetables and eating conventional vegetables, you should still go with the conventional vegetables if you have to. In that case, wash your vegetables as much as possible before cooking or eating.
Now you might think that all vegetables are good for you but did you know about nightshades? Nightshade vegetables naturally contain an alkaloid (organic compound) called solanine, which acts as a natural pesticide. Unfortunately for some people they cause insomnia, arthritis, joint pain, morning stiffness, heartburn, GERD, acne, swelling, gallbladder and/or gastrointestinal issues. They also contain nicotine… Yes, the same ingredient that hooks you on tobacco.
Here is a list of possibly problematic nightshade vegetables for SOME people:
- Goji Berries
- Peppers – Bell, Chili, Paprika, Cayenne
If you have any symptoms mentioned above, you might want to stay away from these vegetables for about six to twelve weeks to see if you feel better without them. Some people notice symptom improvement sooner and some experience it later.
Also you must have these, make sure you cook them which reduces the solanine content. You can also supplement with vitamin K, which seems to help some people.
Here is the healthy vegetable list that contain no nightshades…
- beet greens
- bok choy
- broccoli rabe
- brussels sprouts
- collard greens
- daikon radish
- dandelion greens
- green onion
- mustard greens
- sweet potatoes
- water chestnut
All of these are healthy vegetables, as long as you don’t have any allergies to any of them. Bear in mind that if you are experiencing any type of illness, you need to check if any of these vegetables might cause contraindications because of too much of a certain mineral.
For instance, one of my coaching clients came to me because he read somewhere online that spinach would be a great food for him to eat. He then went overboard like Popeye… eating lots of spinach without doing any research beforehand.
I always say, “do the research” first, before making any dietary changes.
Guess what happened? He ended up with GOUT! He learned a painful lesson. Yes, too much of ANY one food can be harmful. “Everything in moderation” should be your slogan.
2) Organic Fruits – Once again, I will reiterate that organic fruit is healthier and safer to consume than conventional fruit because of pesticide use. All these fruits are considered to be healthy but once again, you need to do research if you have any type of illness.
- cucumbers (yes, it is considered a fruit, not a vegetable!)
- dragon fruits
- passion fruit
- star fruit
3) Fish – Always opt for wild caught fish. Also beware of mercury levels. Fish that are higher in the food chain tend to have higher levels of mercury. That means larger fish like…
- Albacore tuna
- Bigeye tuna
- Bluefin tuna
- King Mackerel
- Northern Pike
- Ocean perch
- Orange Roughy
- Sea Bass
On the other hand, the fish that are lowest in Mercury are:
- Atlantic croaker
- Freshwater trout
- North Atlantic mackerel
- Tilapia (though very hard to find as wild catch)
Popular fish such as lobster, light tuna, cod, perch and snapper are considered medium Mercury level, so watch how much you consume.
4) Organic Meat – Much has been said about whether red meat is healthy or not. Regardless, if you must eat meat, make sure that you purchase meat that is organic.
Chicken and Turkey are considered to be the healthiest meets to consume, assuming that you go for the chicken or turkey breast rather than the dark meat versions of each, because the fat content of dark meat is higher.
Secondly would be Beef, Pork and Veal, provided that you are choosing the leanest portions available.
The fattier parts of meat contain loads of saturated fats resulting in high cholesterol levels, adding to heart disease risk.
Bottom line, meat is inflammatory and can create oxidative stress that can lead to everything from chronic kidney disease to diabetes to autoimmune diseases to Alzheimer’s to cancer. And whatever you do, stay away from processed meats which is known to be carcinogenic!
5) Organic Grains – Grains are not included in our healthy list, because while whole grains are a great source of fiber, they are also high in carbohydrates and studies show that they can be contaminated with mycotoxins. Mycotoxins can contribute to a number of diseases found in the body, and a diet high in carbohydrates, might contribute to underlying, pathogenic fungal infection inside the body. Read more about the trouble with grains here.
6) Organic Seeds/Plants – Substituting seeds for grains is a great idea, especially using quinoa or amaranth in place of rice or pasta or even bread can really make a difference in your health. One exception might be sunflower seeds because they can be contaminated by fungus so we won’t include them here.
- Chia Seeds
- Hemp Seeds
- Pomegranate seeds
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Sesame seeds
7) Organic Nuts – Here is a list of the healthiest nuts you can eat…
- Brazil nuts
- Hazel nuts
Peanuts and pistachios are actually beans, not nuts, but unfortunately, they are both on the same list that grains are, which is to say they are not included here, because of mycotoxins, as explained above.
8) Organic Legumes – did you know that legumes are actually a type of vegetable?They have no cholesterol, are naturally very low in fat, and are high in calcium. They also offer high fiber content along with antioxidants and essential amino acids. In addition, they can help you in lowering heart disease risk and type 2 diabetes risk, and in lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. If you do have diabetes, they improve glycemic and lipid control. The one caveat is that if you are cooking any of these types of beings, you need to soak them before cooking to remove harmful lectins and saponins.
- Black Beans
- Chickpeas AKA garbanzo beans
- Black-eyed peas
- Great Northern beans
- Kidney beans
- Lima beans
- Navy beans
- Pinto beans
9) Fluids – The best fluid you can drink is plain old water. Eight glasses of water per day is recommended.
If you need some type of flavoring to it, you can add a bit of unsweetened lemon juice or cranberry juice. Other than that, the aforementioned lemon juice or cranberry juice is recommended in moderation.
You can also get yourself a juicer and have any type of vegetable or fruit juice that you like directly from the fruit itself. The problem with purchasing pre-made fruit juices is that without the pulp, you are losing vitamin content. Also, if you must purchase premade fruit juice, make sure that it is just the juice with nothing added. So many juices today contain additional sugars and other ingredients that are completely unnecessary.
Green Tea is also tremendously healthy. It offers a myriad of benefits for a healthy life.
Coffee is a bit controversial, because previous studies indicated that it might not be healthy, although more recent studies have shown that coffee might offer protection against certain diseases like Parkinson’s, type II diabetes, liver disease, liver cancer and heart attack and stroke.
Coffee does contain quite a bit of caffeine and can raise blood pressure cholesterol levels, so if you do consume coffee, make sure it is in moderation.
10) Natural Sweeteners – While natural sweeteners are also a bit controversial, it seems that Stevia is most linked to being the healthiest. The second healthiest is xylitol. The problem with honey and maple syrup is that they affect your glycemic index and add to your carbohydrate intake. In addition, they contribute to the overall sugar level in the body which feeds fungus, like Candida which is widely prevalent. It’s best to stick with either stevia or xylitol for those reasons. (Always in moderation!)
11) Superfoods –
Always in moderation is said over and over again because that is one of the keys to staying healthy. Too much of any one thing is going to create an imbalance in your body which you don’t want.
It’s important to vary your diet is much as possible so that you get the benefits of all of the above, rather than focusing in on one or two or three of your favorite foods over and over again. It is simply not healthy to overdose on any one thing!
That’s it! The above lists offer so much variety, and notice it doesn’t include any junk food, LOL. Hope this helps you in making the right choices for your next meal, and for your entire life!
Also, please read this