To be healthier and live longer with a life full of energy, clarity and movement a varied diet is most certainly a plus. It is essential that we are rotating the veggies and fruits with the seasons and making sure our food mix is as vibrant as we ourselves would also like to be. Even with the variety, there are 10 healthy foods I eat (nearly) every day to ensure I am living my best life now full of energy and optimal health.
1. Coconut Oil (and Olive Oil or Avocado Oil)
High in healthy fats called MCTs (medium chain triglycerides) that are good for heart health, brain function, among other healthy benefits:
What to look for: extra virgin coconut oil, expeller-pressed, pure & unrefined
How to use: a teaspoon in coffee, in smoothies, for cooking and baking. I generally rotate between coconut oil and olive or avocado oil in my cooking. I add coconut oil each morning to my coffee. I also use it as my toothpaste due to its antimicrobial and oral health benefits; use it on my hair and occasionally slather on my skin (my go-to for skin is shea butter, pure).
2. Almonds and/or Pumpkin Seeds
Both are nutrient packed and rich in healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber and anti-oxidants.
Almonds are a significant source of Vitamin E (one of the highest sources) and Magnesium
Pumpkin Seeds are a significant source of Vitamin K, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Iron, Zinc and Copper. Pumpkin Seeds have also been shown to improve prostate and bladder health (16) and a supplement containing pumpkin seeds has been shown to slow the growth of prostate cancer cells (17)
The healthy fats in these:
Fight Cancer (24)
Magnesium is a critical mineral needed in over 300 processes in the body. It is needed to control blood sugar, energy creation, protein formation plus it is helpful with migraines, sleep, and much more. See more on the benefits of Magnesium here.
3. Chia Seeds
Considered one of the healthiest foods on the planet—a superfood. Chia Seeds are packed with fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids (healthy fats), anti-oxidants, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and other nutrients.
How to Use: I add a spoonful to my morning smoothie and will make it into a chia pudding on some days (works as a dessert or even as a light meal).
4. Flax Seeds
Known for their fiber content and also packed with healthy fats (highest amount of omega-3s in plant form), Magnesium, Manganese, B1 and protein. They have been shown to impart similar benefits as seen above with healthy fats and Magnesium, such as cancer fighting properties, reducing heart disease, cholesterol and blood sugar imbalances. (35,36,37,38,39,40)
Use: Flax Seeds are best used in their ground form for better digestion and use. I sprinkle a spoon full on salads, in smoothies, and on eggs.
Collagen is a protein that makes up about 75% of the dry weight of our skin and has essential amino acids needed to maintain and repair our tendons, joints, bones and improve our hair, skin and nails. As we age, we tend to break collagen down much faster than we can replace it. This is what makes a collagen supplement so attractive.
Use: I add two scoops of this powdered form to my morning smoothie or to my hot water and lemon drink or tea in the afternoon. It completely dissolves, is odorless and tasteless. An easy way to drink in the benefits each day.
While actually a fruit, avocados are known for their high healthy fat content and referred to as a superfood. They are loaded with fiber and a powerhouse of nutrients, some of which are Vitamin K, Folate, Vitamin C, B5, B6, Vitamin E and Potassium (higher than bananas) plus 4 grams of protein.
Use: I add a half of avocado to salads, as a snack, on the side of a breakfast meal, as a topping to soups (like a guacamole), and it is routinely added to smoothies for a creamy consistency. In its oil form it is also resistant to oxidation from cooking, making it a popular choice as a cooking oil.
7. Leafy Greens
Although a broad and general statement, I make sure to have some sort of leafy greens and/or veggies at every meal. Their benefits are indisputable. They are packed with nutrients, minerals, vitamins, and fiber. Known to combat many of the major diseases, plus reduce the risks of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, increases bone health, eye health, cancer fighting, cellular health, digestion, lowers blood sugar levels and the list goes on.
Use: I add greens and vegetables to my plate every day. I add frozen zuchinni to my smoothies (and sometimes powdered greens or kale plus spirulina), sautéed kale or spinach, broccoli or any other veggie to my breakfast egg dishes, in a salad, with meats, and add generously to soups. You can literally add greens and veggies to every dish out there. I love to start my day with some sort of green for that added boost of energy and fuel for the day.
Another fairly obvious and broad entry to my list and one that is also crucial. When it comes to my protein sources I pay particular attention to the source. I am looking for clean, organic, grass-fed or wild caught, sustainably sourced protein.