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Five healthiest foods to include in your diet
This post is to give you a brief idea on the top 5 healthiest diet foods and how to include them as part of your daily diet/cooking. Most of you might already be using them in your regular cooking routine and for others, it’s never too late . 🙂
1. Flax seed
What is it? Flax Seed powder is milled from Flax seed, which has a very high fibre content and also beneficial in a number of ways. Adding flax seed powder to your diet makes you feel fuller, longer. The fibre properties also make flax seed powder a good laxative. Once laxatives take effect and elimination occurs it aids in weight loss.
Flax seed is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids which our body can’t produce on its own. More than 50 per cent of that fat is essential fatty acids or omega-3 fatty acids, making flax seed the highest plant source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Non-vegetarians can get their omega -3 fix from fish, which again is a very good source. But if you are a vegetarian like me, then flax seed powder helps in achieving that.
Flax seed powder in your diet on a day to day basis: This is what I do. I try to add flax seed powder in my diet wherever possible. You have the option of getting flax seeds and grounding them if you can do it, or get the flax seed powder directly from stores. I add some to chapatti dough, sometimes when I make buttermilk and a teeny tiny amount to milk. Sprinkle some on oatmeal/any kind of cereal you take. This helps a lot in maintaining a healthy weight. Also, while making cakes and brownies this can be added instead of eggs if you want a low-cal desert. It will not give you the taste any cake with egg can, but it sure is a healthy option for desert lovers.
Flax seed is easily available at all grocery stores and is priced nominally too. Just make sure you store it properly since it’s easily perishable.
2. Olive oil
Pure, extra virgin olive oil is not only a light and delicate addition to many wonderful dishes, it is one of the most health-promoting types of oils available. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat, a type of fat that researchers are discovering has excellent health benefits.
Make sure you get the extra virgin version at the stores. Get only olive oil and not olive oil blends as it can contain other vegetable oils and will give a weird taste.
Olive oil in regular cooking: Make olive oil your primary cooking oil. I know food is not that tasty when deep fried in olive oil, so let’s not use it for that. Apart from, that I have started using olive oil for all my other cooking needs. Making everyday dhals , frying vegetables and making sabzi with olive oil works best for me. The more virgin the oil is, the better the benefits are. Virgin olive oil, a much richer source of polyphenols than refined olive or other refined oils, is the best vegetable oil for heart health too.
3.Fruits and vegetables that are brightly hued:
Fruits and veggies that are brightly hued such as carrots, tomatoes, brinjal, pomegranate, strawberries, oranges, spinach etc are high in essential nutrients and phytonutrients. These phytonutrients are beneficial for eye health, cancer prevention, wound healing and gum health. These fruits and vegetables are also good sources of lycopene and ellagic acid. Naturally red and blue foods may reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. Naturally orange and yellow hued fruits and veggies contain the phytonutrients alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, hesperitin, and beta-cryptoxanthin, and are associated with eye, skin and cardiovascular health.
Do I need to say where to use these fruits?
Make a healthy diet salad of all the brightly hued fruits. Boil some sprouts; add onions, carrots, tomatoes and you’ve got yourself a healthy diet salad. Make a diet fruit salad with some of the brightly hued fruits and throw in a handful of nuts to make it tastier.
You don’t need to think in terms of scientifically-named nutrients to reap the most health rewards from your fruit and vegetable consumption. Simply think in terms of naturally bright-hued foods and eat your colours! 🙂
4. Antioxidants from various sources.
Antioxidants are found abundant in beans, grain products, fruits and vegetables and in the easiest form as green tea!
They are substances or nutrients in our foods which can prevent or slow the oxidative damage to our body. When our body cells use oxygen, they naturally produce free radicals (by-products) which can cause damage. Antioxidants act as “free radical scavengers” and hence prevent and repair damage done by these free radicals .
There are various supplements available in the markets that contain anti-oxidants but, it is best to obtain these antioxidants from foods instead of supplements. The more anti-oxidants you take, the more your immune system’s defence mechanism enhances.
Anti-oxidants on a daily basis: The best sources of these are as I said above, all of the brightly hued vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains such as soy, and all forms of berries. Strawberries, blueberries and cranberries are packed with anti-oxidants. All these diet foods contain anti-oxidants but the ratio varies. Green tea comes packed with a whole load of health benefits. A couple of cups of green tea a day helps in improving general health and also improves the ratio of good (HDL) cholesterol to bad (LDL) cholesterol.
Got left over green tea bags? Pop them in the fridge for a while and place them under the eyes to soothe the eye area and de-puff eyes.
5. Beans and sprouts
Beans and grains are a time-honored way to get plenty of protein with low fat, high fiber and no cholesterol. Beans, such as Kidney beans,(also called double beans), Red Kidney beans(Rajma),Black beans, are naturally low in total fat, contain no saturated fat or cholesterol, and provide important nutrients such as fiber, protein, calcium, iron, folic acid and potassium.
Diet Including beans may reduce your risk of heart disease and certain cancers
Sprouts on the other hand, contain significant amounts of vitamins A, C and D. Soy and mung bean (red and green) sprouts are the most consumed amongst Asians and are the most beneficial too.
Green Mung beans, when included in your diet also helps in growth of luscious hair and beautiful skin.
How to use them on a daily basis:
Make sure you boil the beans and use them in salads. This way, you also add other vegetables to your diet. Take a break from your usual breakfast and have salads with beans/sprouts instead. Add a dash of lime if you need some zing. Sprouts and beans diet can also be included for making side-dishes for rotis.
Although these are a good source of protein, too much of beans can lead to formation of gas in the digestive tract. Also, always store beans dry and wash them in cold running water and drain. Soaking them over night and a very brief cooking time helps retain the nutritional value.
Apart from the above 5 diet foods, make sure to include a good serving of greens on a daily basis and don’t forget those glasses of water you have to guzzle down 😉 I hope this article helps you incorporate these healthy foods as part of your regular diet. Eat healthy and stay happy 🙂