Read newspapers or magazines or watch TV and you’ll find more confusion than clarity about what foods are good for you. Diet fads cloud the picture even more. Most professionals recommend a good balance between seasonal foods and healthy eating habits. Below is a compilation of the healthiest foods readily available.
brown riceA good source of complex carbohydrates that provide twice as much fiber as white rice.
chickenSkinless chicken breast contains only 3 grams of fat and contains vitamin B6, a nutrient for protein metabolism. Eating chicken with the skin on doubles the saturated fat.
corn: a source of fiber and carbohydrates. Fresh corn is best, but alternatives to frozen or canned corn also get extra fiber in your diet. Corn contains almost no fat and is a good source of many nutrients.
macaroni: Loaded with complex carbohydrates for energy. The rich pasta also provides iron and B vitamins. However, there is a lot of variety in terms of the presence or absence of wheat, beneficial fiber or whole wheat. Check the nutritional information.
An apple: A source of pectin, a soluble fiber that can lower cholesterol and glucose levels in the blood. Fresh apples are good sources of vitamin C, an antioxidant that protects the body’s cells from damage.
almondsRich in nutrients – fibre, riboflavin, magnesium, iron and calcium. One serving of almonds provides half the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for your body of vitamin E. The fat in almonds is monounsaturated fat, a healthy type that lowers cholesterol levels.
Broccoli: Besides being a good source of calcium, potassium, folate, vitamins, and fiber, broccoli contains phytonutrients — a group of compounds that may help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer.
Bean: an excellent source of fibre. It is rich in protein and a good source of folic acid. All beans are good but red kidney beans provide iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, copper and thiamine and are also a good source of protein and dietary fiber that is low in fat and low in calories.
salmonAn excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, the kind that make the blood less likely to form clots that can cause heart attacks. Reduces triglyceride levels and arterial occlusive plaques and lowers blood pressure. It is low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
spinachSpinach is rich in vitamins A and C and folic acid. It is also a good source of riboflavin, vitamin B6, calcium, iron and magnesium. The plant compounds in spinach boost the immune system, and researchers have identified 13 different flavonoid compounds in spinach that act as antioxidants and anti-cancer agents.
sweet potatoSweet potatoes are high in the antioxidant beta-carotene, which may help slow the aging process and reduce the risk of some types of cancer. Also a good source of fiber, vitamins, folic acid and potassium. Like most vegetables, it is fat-free and relatively low in calories.
vegetable juiceIt contains most of the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients found in original vegetables and is an easy way to include vegetables in your diet. Tomato juice and vegetable juices, which include tomatoes, are good sources of lycopene, an antioxidant. Some vegetable and tomato juices are high in sodium, so choose the low-sodium ones. Carrot juice is probably the most concentrated source of beta-carotene.
papaya: a treasure trove of nutrients. Half of this fruit provides as much potassium as a banana and more than 100 percent of the RDA for vitamin C, and it’s also a good source of beta-carotene. Papayas are rich sources of antioxidant nutrients and fiber.
wheat germIn the center of the wheat grain is the wheat germ – the part of the seed responsible for the development and growth of the new plant. Despite being a small part of a wheat seed, the germ is a highly concentrated source of nutrients, including niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin E, folate, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, iron and zinc. Spores also contain protein, fiber, and some fats.
Low-fat cheeseGreat sources of calcium, but read food labels carefully. Some don’t have much less fat than the regular kind and can be high in sodium. Choose one that has 5 grams or less of fat per ounce.
TomatoesTomatoes are a staple in Indian food and one of the healthiest. Tomatoes are made up of lycopene, a carotenoid that gives them their colour. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant with cancer-fighting properties that have been shown to be effective in preventing prostate and breast cancer. Like other antioxidants, lycopene destroys free radicals in the body that may damage cells and slow down the aging process. Tomatoes are also relatively high in vitamins A and C and contain small amounts of fiber, potassium, niacin and other trace minerals as well.
Yogurt: or dahi, is another staple in most Indian homes. Not only is it high in calcium, which keeps your bones and teeth strong and healthy, but it’s rich in live bacterial cultures. The live microbes in yogurt stimulate the right kind of bacteria to thrive in your digestive system, allowing you to process food and absorb nutrients better.
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