Get the most out of your diet by adding these five basic foods to your day (you'll love number 5!)
One of the best foods to add to your diet if you haven’t already. They are incredibly nutrient dense, and provide vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, are excellent sources of fiber, folate, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, and iron. Try kale, spinach, arugula, swiss chard, or bok choy. These can be enjoyed in smoothies, sautéed, added to salads, sauces, chilis – you name it. To take full advantage of their high vitamin K content, sauté briefly in oil or enjoy raw with an oil based salad dressing. I typically buy two types per week and toss them into meals whenever I can. I also love to sauté with garlic, red onions, and peppers.
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and Seeds are both extremely nutrient dense and can contain huge amounts of protein, fiber, essential fatty acids, minerals AND vitamins. They are also easy to toss into meals; breakfast smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, salads, stir fry, sautéed vegetables etc. Raw, unroasted, and unsalted forms are always best as some nutritional value is lost in the roasting process. Try almonds (20 almonds = 6 grams of protein), brazil nuts (2 nuts = entire daily intake of selenium) pistachios, cashews, or walnuts. For seeds try chia (1/4 cup = 14 grams of fiber!) flax, hemp, and pumpkin. Always grind your seeds and store in the fridge or freezer for maximal nutritional content and to prevent spoilage.
Properly fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, traditional yogurts, and kombachu are a fantastic source of digestive enzymes, probiotics, and also have a high nutritional content. The process of fermentation is simple, budget friendly, and an ideal way to preserve food long term. One small serving of fermented vegetables can provide billions of pre and probiotics. Fermentation occurs when the natural bacteria feed on the sugars and starches in the food, producing lactic acid.
Allium Sativum by gardeners and botanists alike, garlic truly is a superfood. Garlic contains allicin, a compound that has been studied extensively for reducing atherosclerosis (the thickening of arterial walls), improving lipid and cholesterol levels, lowering blood pressure, as well as having anti-inflammatory properties. If that isn’t enough to convince you, garlic is also anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal. It’s also one of the richest sources of potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and selenium. A 100g serving provides almost 100% of your daily vitamin B6, and over 50% of your daily vitamin C. The closest to raw you can tolerate the better. Also, if you haven’t tried local organically grown garlic, DO. It is so much more flavourful and nutritiously superior to the generic grocery store variety.
A food you love
Changing dietary habits is hard, and for most people (myself included) it is the culmination of many different, small changes, which over the months and years add up to a healthier way of eating. Dieting and denying yourself is just not sustainable. Sooner or later we’re all gonna crack, fall of the wagon, and end up right back where we started (and probably more frustrated than ever). Sometimes indulging in a food we love, or crave, will help keep us on track and focused on the “big picture”. Which is a healthier, happier, you. Not just tomorrow, or next week, but 5, 10, or 20 years from now.
So yes, load up on the healthy greens, garlic, fermented foods, and healthy nuts, but don’t forget to nourish your soul as well! In this way you can stay motivated and happy about making healthy, sustainable changes to your everyday diet.