Doctors and nutritionists agree that the best way to get the proper nutrition is by eating a diet rich in healthy, whole foods. Whole foods are those that have not been processed, or have been processed minimally, leaving them in their natural state. Processed foods often contain high levels of salt, fat, starches and fillers that do not provide any nutrition and can actually lead to weight gain and other health problems. Anyone that wants to get maximum nutrition from their diet should know some of the most nutritious whole foods.
When it comes to the most nutritious whole foods it does not get much better than green leafy vegetables. Most dark green, leafy vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Some people add these vegetables to health shakes as a way to get a day’s worth of vitamins easily. Here are a few of the best green vegetables for nutrition:
-Mustard/Collard greens: These leafy green are packed with vitamins.
-Kale: Kale is considered a “super food” and many use it in health shakes
You should try to eat at least 3-4 servings of these green vegetables every day to get the proper amount of vitamins and nutrients in your diet.
Although green vegetables are some of the most nutritious whole foods, there are others that pack plenty of nutrition. You can find most of these vegetables at a standard grocery store, so there is no reason not to incorporate them into your diet right away. Some of the most nutritious non-green vegetables are:
-Red Bell Peppers
If you are having a hard time getting enough servings of these vegetables you should search for new recipes that are tasty as well as healthy. Other people simply choose to put these into a juicer and quickly get their nutrients in one healthy shake.
Many fruits contain sugar, which is why they are not as healthy as many vegetables. However, some of the most nutritious whole foods are fruits, so it is vital to add them to a diet. Moderation is key, as eating too much fruit can lead to excess sugar intake. Here are some fruits that are very nutritious in moderation:
-Strawberries/Blueberries/Blackberries/Raspberries: Berries are the best of all fruits, as they pack lots of nutrition and are low in sugar.
Not only are these fruits healthy but also delicious so you should try to work a few servings into your diet each day. Avoid store bought fruit juices, as they often contain extra sugar and unnatural ingredients that make them unhealthy.
Although many beans lack some vitamins and minerals, they often contain high levels of protein. This makes them a great way to get lean protein into your body without eating meat. People that get most of their protein from beans are at much lower risk of heart problems, which makes them one of the most nutritious whole foods. Some beans to try:
-Red Kidney Beans
A good approach to eating beans is to use them to replace meat once or twice a week so you are still getting protein, but without the animal fat.
Nuts and Seeds
Another of the most nutritious whole foods are nuts and seeds. These not only provide a lot of protein but many contain anti-oxidants that are great for improving the health of the immune system. Try to incorporate some of these nuts and seeds into your diet:
One problem with nuts and seeds is that they often contain excess sodium and other unnatural flavor enhancers. For the best results try to eat nuts and seeds that do not have any additional salt added.
Variety is Key
Above are some of the most nutritious whole foods you can buy. It is important to remember that variety is important. You should eat a wide range of these foods to ensure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals. If you are unsure about how to incorporate these foods into your diet, be sure to talk to a doctor or nutritionist.
There are good reasons that make a whole food diet optimal, not the least of which is taste. Food that is prepared and eaten in their natural state tends to have more honest flavor compared to foods that have been processed with added salt, sugars, and fats. Also, when you prepare your ingredients in their natural state, there is no guess work regarding what else is in the food such as preservatives and chemicals you can barely pronounce or recognize.
Sadly, American taste for food has been tainted by the “miracle” of processed foods that can be popped into the microwave and eaten on the run. After a while that food starts to supposedly taste good so that when a person is introduced to foods prepared in their natural state they will tend to find the food tasteless. If they were to take the time to get used to the different tastes and textures and avoid processed foods as much as possible, they will find that whole foods actually taste better. Then it just becomes an added benefit that they are also good for you and helps protect you from developing serious illnesses.
Eating a diet with a good balance of whole foods will help reduce some of the risk factors that can lead to cardiovascular diseases and other serious illnesses such as hypothyroidism and diabetes. The balance comes in setting up your meals to take advantage of all types of whole foods rather than just vegetables that many people tend to think of as the only whole foods. Balance your meal with 40% carbs, 30% lean protein, and 30% healthy fats and you may see some of your numbers fall into significantly safer ground next time you visit your doctor.
If you need some more motivation to try a plant based diet you can read this article to learn about how these diets will help improve your health in more ways than just shrink your waistline. Another good bit of news is that a plant based diet doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stop eating all processed foods or avoid eating any meat based proteins. Of course you can certainly benefit from making those choices, but if you would like a bit of something here or there that is fine. The point is to create a diet that will help you stay healthy for better and perhaps longer life.
There are a few different plant based diets that have gained some popularity in recent years. Some abstain completely from any type of meat or animal by-product. Others allow for certain by-products of animals, but still abstain from meat. And then there is a plant based diet that allows only certain types of proteins along with a diet heavy in plant consumption.
Let’s break it down to the different plant based diets and share the facts of their health benefits and what is actually allowed or disallowed for each type.
A vegan diet allows absolutely no meat, eggs, or dairy. Those who consume this restrictive diet experience a 20% reduced risk of heart disease factors. Also they tend to experience a 27% less likelihood of dying from cardiovascular diseases. Among those who confirm they live on a vegan diet the development of heart diseases is reduced by 15% to 25% compared to others who consume meat, eggs and dairy.
Individuals who eat a mostly plant based diet along with dairy product, but no eggs or meat will experience similar benefits to that of a vegan. Although, nutrition scientists do note that those who drink and eat lower fat dairy products do better than those who consume whole fat products.
Men and women both typically diet for the same reasons, to lose weight. What many women do not realize is that all diet foods are not created equal. The best diet foods for women will not only help them lose weight, they will also help provide the nutrients that are most important to a woman’s unique health needs.
The first thing to understand when choosing the best diet to follow is that fad diets are never a good choice. While they may yield fast results, nearly every single one will deprive the body of at least one nutrient that is required for healthy and sustainable weight loss. A healthy weight loss diet should be one that includes foods from all of the food groups in order to meet the nutritional requirements that every woman needs.
One of the best diet foods for women are foods that contain calcium. Women are more likely than men to suffer from osteoporosis, and calcium rich foods significantly reduce these risks. Foods such as low fat milk, yogurt, and cheese all provide high levels of calcium, and should be included in any weight loss diet. Additionally, yogurt and milk contain protein and healthy fats, which are important for sustaining energy and heart health.
Raw vegetables should also be included in any weight loss diet. Vegetables are high in fiber and other essential vitamins, and have very few calories. Eating a colorful array of vegetables will help ensure that the body is receiving the vitamins and minerals needed for optimal health, and the fiber will help curb hunger and maintain a healthy digestive system.
Fruits are another of the best diet foods for women. Fruits that are high in vitamin C, like oranges, mangos, strawberries, and kiwis help promote healthy skin and hair. Vitamin C is also important for immune system health and cell production, and aids in the absorption of iron, which is also important for a woman’s health.
Iron rich foods are a must for any woman, so it is no surprise that foods high in iron are some of the best diet foods for women. Iron is important for a strong immune system, facilitates the movement of oxygen throughout the body, and is also needed for proper cell growth. Since women are more likely to suffer from iron deficiencies, a healthy diet needs to include leafy greens like spinach and kale, lean red meats, fish, poultry, and legumes to help maintain the most optimum levels needed for the body to function properly.
Whole grain foods should be a staple for a healthy diet. Whole grains are packed with fiber, which means they help maintain a feeling of fullness. These foods take longer to break down, so the body feels satiated for a longer period. Grains are also a great source of energy, which will help make sure a woman is not too tired to hit the gym to further her weight loss goals.
Soybeans are the fruit of a plant originally from Asia. Soybeans are used for a variety of products such as milk, oil, soy sauce, and soybean protein products such as miso. Soy products are versatile, low in fat, and high in protein. While it’s almost a universal knowledge that proteins are essential building blocks for our muscles, it is becoming rapidly clear that the source we get our protein from does make a difference. For many years, Americans have used animal products as their main source of protein, and it’s only recently that new findings and researches have started to revolutionize the way we eat, by suggesting vegetation proteins such as soy, might be a much better way to go.
Soy proteins provide us the protein our bodies need, without the side effects of consuming animal proteins. Consuming red meat, for example, is one way to receive all the protein necessary for one’s diet, but with consuming red meats, we also consume unwanted substances such as saturated fats and cholesterol. Supplementing 25 grams of soy proteins daily to satisfy our dietary need for protein, not only will omit the saturated fat from our diet, but it will reduce the cholesterol which will in turn help reduce, or all together prevent, different cardiac problems. Moreover, soy proteins can help weight loss and the control of hyperglycemia which in turn, will benefit both diabetic and non-diabetic consumers with lowering the risk of obesity and maintaining a healthy level of blood sugar.
More health advantages of soy proteins is in their possible effects on cancer prevention and reducing the menopausal symptoms. Consuming red meat has been known to correlate with higher risk of breast cancer and bowel cancer, and has a direct relationship with bone-loss, arthritis, and osteoporosis. Meanwhile, new studies show that replacing animal proteins with soy proteins could prevent bone-loss in menopausal women, and soy protein have been known to positively effect the calcium balance in our circulatory and skeletal systems. When digesting animal products, an acid is produced that by entering the blood stream, reacts with the calcium in our bones and eventually can cause bone problems. When consuming vegetation proteins, one will not face such a problem and as a result can enjoy having healthier, denser bones for a longer amount of time.
Regardless of all the benefits of soy proteins, many people are still reluctant to give up their meat, or they might argue that soy products do not taste quite as good as animal products. The good news is, that there is a solution. Changing one’s diet, even slightly, to contain more soy protein and less animal protein can result in prevention of many different diseases, and contribute to a healthier happier future. To make these changes, consider the following tips:
Experiment with different soy product, and enjoy a healthier life style without giving up the tastes you enjoy.