By Terres Gacek
We all want to be healthy but who has the time to research everything they eat? Here is a list of 6 foods that have been proven to have health benefits and are easy to add to your diet. Each item contains a description of the food as well as, sources for more information about nutrition and recipes.
1# Extra virgin olive oil
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Extra virgin olive oil is considered a healthy fat for your diet. The oil is squeezed directly from the olives with no added chemicals and no diluting alike cheaper oils. The more pure the oil is, the better it is for you.
There are many nutrients that are found in this type of oil such as: vitamin E and K, Omega 3 and 6, and antioxidants, according to authority nutrition. Extra virgin olive oil is rich in antioxidants. The antioxidants found in the oil are anti-inflammatoires that can help protect you from blood clotting, lower your LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, and improve the lining of your blood vessels. The main antioxidant found in this oil called oleocanthal, has been proven to have an effect similar to ibuprofen which is a widely used anti-inflammatory drug. Among the list of diseases that extra virgin olive oil can help lower your risk from cancer. Cancer is linked to oxidative damage due to mutated cells. The antioxidant can reduce the oxidative damage.
Adding extra virgin olive oil to your diet can be as simple as replacing the butter you use to cook foods like eggs with this amazing oil or you can drizzle it over vegetables or even meat. You can also use it raw, such as in a vinaigrette salad dressing. Try adding some to your next meal, but remember to look for PURE extra virgin olive oil.
2# Nonfat Greek yogurt
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Are you one of those people who love sweets? Do you look for desert after a meal or do you want to eat healthy but still want the satisfaction of having a desert? Nonfat Greek yogurt is a perfect solution for those who crave a sweet healthy treat. One cup of this yogurt is about 140 calories and contains 17 grams of protein. Keep in mind that flavored verities of nonfat Greek yogurt can vary in the amount of sugar they contain. I would suggest using plain because you can always add fruit or honey to make the yogurt sweeter.
This type of yogurt makes for a great snack for in between meals, after workouts, or when you’re in the mood for some desert. As mentioned you can add fruit and or honey to add flavor or put the yogurt on top of already made oatmeal. This also makes for a quick and easy breakfast for those who have busy lifestyles.
Some of the benefits of nonfat Greek yogurt are like most yogurts, it contains probiotics or live micro bacteria that help improve our digestion and immune system. Yogurt is especially good for those with digestive problems such as constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. It’s also a good source calcium and Vitamin B12.
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Honey is a natural energy boosting carbohydrate, which means it is able to strengthen your body in a fast and effective way. It’s also a great way to add some sweetness into your diet without high fructose corn syrup or all the chemicals. Honey can also help your immune system because of its antioxidants and anti–bacteria properties. These powerful antioxidants found in honey have also been studied as a possible cancer fighter and great for those days when you have a tough cold.
There are so many ways you can use honey in your food. I use honey in my homemade salad dressing. I use just nutmeg and honey over a spinach, chicken, and strawberry salad. You can add honey for a healthier meat glaze over any kind of meat or add it to your yogurt as mentioned before as a desert. You can even drop in a teaspoon when making a smoothie, the possibilities are endless.
I would recommend buying organic honey or pure honey. Most honey is found in a supermarket contains chemicals to increase its shelf life and unnecessary sugars. The best way to get honey is at your local farmers market. So the next time you want something sweet, add some honey.
Benefits and recipes: http://www.benefits-of-honey.com/health-benefits-of-honey.html
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There are so many options when it comes to beans: black, red, kidney, Lima, pinto, chickpeas, and more. Unlike meat beans won’t hurt your wallet. You can usually get a can of beans for about $1.50 or less depending on the type, and if it’s organic. Sometimes they are even less than $1 a can. Having a can of beans can be super convenient for those days you’re tight on funds or when you don’t have time to run to the store. A can of beans can be stored in your pantry for a while.
Beans are an excellent source of nutrients. They are full of protein and fiber, antioxidants, as well as vitamins, and minerals. Beans can help you get those nutrients that we often don’t get enough of such as iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and zinc according to a Huffington Post article. They can also help keep your heart healthy, balance your blood sugar, and lower your risk for cancer and did I mention they are low in fat? So pick some beans today.
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Quinoa is a magical grain. It’s higher in nutrients than most other grains and contains protein and fiber. About one cup of cooked quinoa has 222 calories, 4.4 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and only about 2 grams of fat. This kind of grain is similar to rice or I like to think of it as a crunchy version of cuscus.
Quinoa has many health benefits; it can help lower your blood sugar, help you lose weight, its gluten free, and contains most of the vitamins and minerals found in beans. It’s also easy to cook with, it’s cooked in the same way as you would rice, boil the water and add the grain. You can you use it as any side grain, have it for breakfast with eggs, use it in a salad or instead of rice and beans, make quinoa and beans. Try replacing your typically grain with quinoa in your next meal.
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If there is one food you remember from this list, remember kale! Kale is an all-star super food. According to authority nutrition, it’s one of the most nutrient dense foods on our planet; it’s classified as a vegetable and related to other veggies like cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. Just to give you an idea of all kale’s nutrients, one cup of raw kale contains only 33 calories, vitamins A, K. C, B6, manganese, calcium, copper, potassium, magnesium, only 6 grams of crabs and 3 grams of protein. This super hero vegetable also is home to powerful antioxidants that can help lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk for cancer and heart disease. The nutrients in kale are also good for protecting your eyes and help you lose weight.
You can eat kale raw, cooked, or even baked in a chip. Some people use raw Kale leafs in a salad or blend them in a morning smoothie to start the day. You can also cook kale as a side or in a vegetable medley and add meat or beans and quinoa for a complete meal. Experiment with kale and get healthier!