I wanted to share with you my top 10 list of healthy foods. These are not just my favorites; I have researched them extensively and have devised the list based on firm research. Many of these foods are lacking and even completely absent in the average American’s diet. I hope that this list will help open your mind and expand your shopping list. So here they are!
Top 10 Foods
1 Coconut – This would include coconut meat, milk, and oil. Coconut products are not only delicious but extremely healthy. Coconut products are high in fat but it is the good fat. 92% are MCT’s (medium chain triglycerides) which metabolize very easily and give quick energy rather than being stored. Coconut products have the following properties: antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antiviral. They are high in antioxidants, fiber, potassium, magnesium, and low in sugar. They provide quick energy to the body, carry vitamins, and regulate hormones. MCT’s are proven in cancer prevention, weight loss, and boosting athletic performance. Coconut oil is the absolute best to cook with because can withstand medium to high heat making is less vulnerable to oxidation and rancidity. I cook with coconut oil, add coconut milk to smoothies, curries, and raw coconut in both cooking and for a snack.
2 Olive Oil – Olive oil has long been touted as a health elixir of sorts. It is used extensively in Mediterranean diets which are notoriously healthy. Olive oil is high in phenols (antioxidants), monounsaturated fats, and oleic acid. Olive oil has been shown to help lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and raise HDL (good cholesterol), lower blood pressure, prevent cancer. It is important to buy Extra Virgin Olive Oil because it is not processed helping it keep all of its vitamins, fatty acids, and antioxidants in tact. Olive oil should not be heated too much as it has a low smoke point causing oxidation/rancidity. It is best used on salads or sprinkled on foods after they are cooked.
3 Avocados – Avocados are another good fat that are often overlooked by many people. It, like olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats like oleic acid. Avocados are high in mono and beta sitosterols which have been shown to help lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease. They also contain lutein which is an antioxidant with the ability to support healthy skin and eyes. Avocados are high in fiber, folate, vitamin A, and beta carotene. They are a filling snack or a great addition to many different foods.
4 Greens – This would include kale, chard, spinach, and collards. Kale actually has the dubious distinction of having the highest ORAC rating (measures antioxidants). The amount of antioxidants in these green leafy vegetables is amazing. They are high in sulfur, which helps the body detox, calcium, iron, Vitamins A, C, & K, beta-carotene, fiber, and protein. Because of the high levels of antioxidants, they are proven cancer preventers and fighters. If you are not a big fan of greens yet try putting them in soups or smoothies (you won’t even taste them). But whatever you do, get them in your diet!!!
5 Grass Fed Beef – Did you know that cows were meant to roam pastures and eat grass and NOT grain? By changing the cow’s diet to grains, it has made beef much less nutritious and honestly, unhealthy. Grass fed beef, on the other hand, has 60% more Omega 3’s (the good fats that have so many proven benefits in disease prevention). Grass fed beef is also high in congegated linoleic acid (CLA) which is also touted with many benefits. Grass fed beef is free of chemicals, pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics that our conventional beef is full of. It is high in iron, Vitamin B12, monounsaturated fat, and zinc. If you would like resources on where to find grass fed beef, just contact me.
6 Wild Caught Fish – Fish is a very healthful food but just like beef, a distinction must be made. Wild caught fish is the way to go as opposed to farm raised. Farm raised fish are fed grains instead of their natural diet of krill and shrimp. This obviously changes their composition making them less healthy. Wild caught salmon for instance is high in astaxanthin (an antioxidant) and farm raised salmon is not. Farm raised salmon has also shown approximately 16 times as much PCB’s found in wild salmon. Wild caught fish is a great source of omega 3’s, calcium, selenium, and protein. Fish helps regulate blood sugar, improves heart function, helps the brain and mood, prevents disease, and boosts metabolism. Remember, as far as mercury contamination is concerned, the smaller the fish the better, cold water fish are better, and stay away from Atlantic fish.
7 Broccoli – Broccoli is a super-vegetable. Among many other things, it is high in isothiocanates (anticancer phytochemicals). Broccoli is especially healthy for women because of its high levels of indoles, an antioxidant which has a positive effect on estrogen. It is high in sulforaphone which helps fight carcinogens in the body. Broccoli is high in protein, fiber, potassium, calcium, and vitamin C. In fact, it’s calcium content can rival milk and it’s vitamin C content can rival citrus.
8 Nuts – (preferably raw) Nuts are great because they have so many health benefits yet they are delicious and offer a great, portable snack option. Nuts have been shown to lower heart disease, prevent cancer, and lower cholesterol. They are loaded with protein, good fats, fiber, magnesium, and antioxidants. They are best raw (and soaked for that matter) as the heating/roasting process diminishes some of the nutritional value. Nuts are also great made in to nut butters like peanut, cashew, and almond butter (my favorite both nutritionally and taste wise).
9 Berries – Berries are an incredible food. They are absolutely loaded with antioxidants , help fight inflammation, and have a low glycemic index (they will not spike blood sugar.) They, like greens have some of the highest ORAC values. They have amazing cancer fighting abilities and have been shown to help with memory and brain health. They are high in fiber, calcium, magnesium, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K.
10 Free Range Eggs – Eggs are terrific because they are inexpensive, versatile, contain all 9 amino acids, and are high in vitamins. (And yes, even the yolks! It is a package deal) Eggs are good for cancer prevention, the cardiovascular system, brain function, liver support, and cell membrane health. Eggs are high in choline which is an essential nutrient that can only come from the diet which helps prevent the accumulation of cholesterol in the liver. The distinction must be made however, between conventional eggs (chickens treated with hormones, antibiotics and feed with pesticides) and organic free range eggs that are free of all the things listed above.