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Thursday, April 17, 2014

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10 Healthy Foods Missing From Your Diet

HealthyAeon - 3:30 AM

by Amanda Froelich
True Activist

There are some foods that are so nutritious they have columns devoted to their health properties. They’re colorful, appealing, and have a list of health benefits offer your body. But if one doesn’t recognize the great health properties each plant food holds, they’ll sadly be left out of the average individuals’ diet.

Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list of some of the healthiest foods – and reasons to include them – which can easily be added to your daily diet.

1. Chia Seeds

What was the ancient Aztec’s secret for endurance and longevity? Some proclaim chia seeds, as they are contain 5x the amount of calcium as milk, are alkaline-forming, absorb 10x their size in water (making them super hydrating), and are bountiful in healthy Omega-3′s.

This seed also provide a hefty dose of anti-oxidants, protein, fiber, zinc, and iron. Because they’re so nutrient-rich, they’ve been shown to help reduce inflammation, treat or prevent anxiety and depression, and even slow down the aging process.

They can easily be sprinkled on a salad, added to a smoothie, or made into a chia pudding for a delicious breakfast.

2. Garlic

Pungent and spicy, this power-house plant is a disease-fighter which can inhibit the growth of bacteria – including E.coli. The component allacin also works as a potent anti-inflammatory ingredient, and has been shown to help lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

Fresh pressed garlic releases the most allacin, just be sure to not over-expose it to high heat for more than 10 minutes or it loses essential nutrients.

3. Kefir

Healthy bacteria in the gut keeps the colon moving and the immune system strong. Kefir is one of the healthiest foods you can choose to incorporate into your diet as its a high natural source of utilizable protein, digests well for those who are lactose intolerant, is an excellent source of Vitamin D and Vitamin C, and has even been shown to lower cholesterol levels.

Switch your yogurt for a raw goat milk kefir and you’ll feel more energized and healthier in no time.

4. Spirulina

Thinking of eating a blue-green algae may turn you off, but that’s because you haven’t been exposed to the incredible benefits this super-food offers. Spirulina is an incredible source of protein (65%), essential fatty acids (GLA), is high in chlorophyll, rich in iron, and is abundant in the B and C vitamins.

Not only that, this algae has an ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) of over 24,000, which is 4x the amount of blueberries. This is a measure of its anti-oxidants, so basically it’s incredibly beneficial for regeneration and preventing aging.

It also has over 26 times the amount of calcium found in milk, and its high phosphorous content makes it beneficial in any tooth re mineralization regimen. If that’s not enough, it binds with heavy metals and and radioactive isotopes – a concern since the Fukushima incident.

It’s so incredible, and only a fraction of its benefits have been listed here. Click here to learn more and be inspired to include it in salads or smoothies for glowing health!

5. Nutritional Yeast

This is a deactivated yeast that has a ‘cheesy’, nutty flavor, making it great for raw food preparation or even a sprinkle for movie-night popcorn. Nutritional yeast is abundant in B vitamins which protect your brain, boost your energy, and promote healthy skin, hair, and nails. It is also a complete protein, making it a healthy addition to vegetarian and vegan diets.

Sprinkle some on soups, salads, or a savory treat to reap the benefits.

6. Hemp

This miracle plant is incredible as a food item! It is available in seed, protein powder, and oil form, and can be easily added to your favorite meal to boost its nutrient content.

Hemp oil is loaded with essential fatty acids (omega-6 and omega-3′s) more than any other oil, and these “good” fats can help reduce risk of heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and a host of other chronic diseases. It’s also packed with all essential amino acids, making it an incredible source of protein.

7. Broccoli

You might have pushed it around on your plate as a youngster, but that’s just because it wasn’t prepared right. Follow a recipe like this for a broccoli and quinoa Asian salad, and you’ll enjoy this super food so much more.

Why eat this green vegetable? Because one medium stalk of broccoli contains more than 100% of your daily vitamin K requirement, and almost 200% of your recommended vitamin C intake. They’re both essential for building healthy bones, and have also been shown to stave off certain kinds of Cancers.

8. Chocolate

Yep – you read this right. If you consume the high-nutrient, high-antioxidant pure, unadulterated raw cacao, or certain kinds of healthy dark chocolates (often found in health food stores), you’ll be doing your body some good.

Just one fourth of an ounce daily can reduce blood pressure in otherwise healthy individuals. Cacao powder (from the cacao pod – which chocolate is derived from) is also high in anti-oxidants, which have been shown to reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol and increase “good” HDL levels.

Don’t mistake its health benefits for acceptance to gorge on the food, however. Small quantities offer a lot, and more than a few ounces per day is unnecessary.

9. Avocados

They’re creamy, satisfy a green salad, and can even be used in healthy, sweet treats. No other food is as versatile and healing as this fruit, and here’s why you should allow it to be a staple in your diet:

While this food is high in fat, it’s a healthy, satisfying kind which has been proven to lower cholesterol by about 22%. And if you include one in your daily salad, you’ll obtain more than half of the daily recommendation for fiber and 40% of folate – both which have been shown to reduce the risk for heart disease.

10. Spinach

Popeye was onto something. This leafy green has a neutral, nutty taste making it a perfect addition to a leafy green salad, or even a fruity smoothie. Rich in chlorophyl, vitamin C, K, and A, anti-oxidants, manganese, magnesium, and folate, it’s beneficial for many reasons.

Spinach has been shown to assist the formation of strong bones, boost the immune system, reduce certain types of Cancer, and reduce inflammation in the body – a precursor to most modern day ‘diseases.

Get creative, add all of these foods to your shopping list, and enjoy better health by consuming the foods that love you back!

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