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Nutritious Foods Worth Adding To A Balanced Diet

3 weeks, 2 days ago

2528  0
Posted on May 24, 2024, 8 p.m.

A balanced diet starts with making healthy sensible food choices. You don’t need to be a master chef to create nutritious and delicious meals, it just means being more conscious about what you are planning on eating. Luckily most of us have mobile phones that make it easier to look up things when we are not sure. 

Wandering around a grocery store can be frustrating and overwhelming, making a list of what you need before you go can help to ease some of the tension. Look for nutrient-dense foods that are low in sodium and limited in bad fats. Fresh whole foods are among the best options, when that is not available check the freezer section for frozen fresh choices. 

Try to include a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet every day, they are typically free of trans fats, they fill you up, and help to lower your risk of many serious and chronic health conditions. Whole grains, healthy protein sources, and non-tropical plant oils are small choices that can help to promote heart health. Choosing minimally processed foods, avoiding added sugars, cutting down on salt, and limiting alcohol intake also go a long way to help improve your heart health. 

You may have heard of superfoods, simply eating these foods alone will not make you healthier, but adding these nutritious foods to a balanced diet can help to promote health benefits. 

Beans and legumes are economical, planted-based sources of protein that are low in fat and provide ample amounts of fiber, magnesium, and phytonutrients. Adding these to your diet may help you to feel full for longer due to their higher fiber content. Additionally, substituting them for red meat on Meatless Monday can help to lower blood cholesterol which is a risk factor for heart disease. 

Berries contain high levels of flavonoids that can help to lower the risk of heart attack. These little berries are bursting with flavor and are a great source of fiber, vitamin C, antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties, and anthocyanins that are linked to healthy gut microbiomes, a lower risk of high blood pressure, and improved cognition. 

Dark leafy greens are low in calories and carbohydrates while being rich sources of nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants. Kale, Swiss Chard, arugula, and escarole are all examples of dark leafy greens that are loaded with nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that bring a lot to your plate other than taste. 

Nuts and seeds provide a potent punch of protein, fiber, and unsaturated fats as well as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Keep in mind that the best options for nuts and seeds are unsalted. Healthier choices include almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts. Walnuts in particular are especially high in heart-friendly omega-3 fatty acids.

Oats are one of the most popular inexpensive choices of whole grain sources of dietary fiber that can help to lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Dietary fiber is important for digestion, it can also help to improve blood cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. 

Pumpkin is a great source of fiber, potassium, and vitamin A. Pumpkin is easier to find during autumn, but you can find it canned, organic options are a nutrient-loaded choice off-season.

Yogurt contains high amounts of calcium, protein, and vitamin D. Keep in mind that the best options are low sugar and low or fat-free choices.  The calcium content helps to promote strong bones and teeth, while vitamin D helps to regulate blood pressure. Yogurt also contains probiotics that may help to improve gut health and boost immunity. 

Salmon, like most fatty fish, is a protein source that is also loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. EPA and DHA are found in high levels in salmon which can help to promote cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. 

Skinless poultry is leaner than beef and it is versatile tasting great, grilled roasted or baked. Protein is essential for building muscles and keeping strong as we age. Protein also helps to make you feel full and satisfied until the next meal. 

Making simple lifestyle changes one step at a time, like making healthier dietary choices, can create lasting beneficial changes in your health and life. These changes can help to reduce the risk factors for heart disease, stroke, and heart attack. These changes can also help to prevent or delay the development of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure, as well as make blood pressure medications more effective.

You have more to gain than lose when you eat smart and move more.

Be well. 

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 

Content may be edited for style and length.

References/Sources/Materials provided by:

T.W. at WHN

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