When adopting a healthy diet, adding the right foods is just as important as cutting out empty calories and sugary snacks. This means choosing from a variety of foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and whole grains. To enhance your health, try adding these great foods into your regular menu.
These thin green spears are packed with important nutrients, including fiber, protein and iron. Asparagus is also a good source of vitamin A, which supports your immune system, and lycopene, which may reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Try them steamed with a touch of garlic and olive oil.
Like other berries and blue foods, blueberries are rich in antioxidants. They provide vitamins C and K, and the mineral manganese, and also have soluble fiber, which may help lower cholesterol and regulate glucose. They are easy to eat fresh or toss in with pancakes, salads or other favorites.
This dinnertime staple is more of a superfood than you may realize. It provides a wide range of nutrients including vitamins A, C and K, folate, fiber and antioxidants. These nutrients support your immune system, eyes, red blood cells, tissues and bones.
Coffee has sometimes gotten a bad rap, but some studies show that it may be good for your health. Regularly consuming coffee, either caffeinated or decaffeinated, may offer some protection from heart disease, stroke, diabetes and infections. Drinking three to five cups a day may also be linked to a lower incidence of Alzheimer's disease.
5. Dark Chocolate
While a healthy diet should go easy on fats and sugars, some studies show that dark chocolate has antioxidants, flavonoids and polyphenols that may lower blood pressure and help prevent heart attacks. Stick to small amounts of dark chocolate that is at least 70 percent pure cacao.
6. Fava Beans
Fava beans are a nutrient-rich, low-fat, no-cholesterol superfood. They are also full of fiber, B vitamins, manganese, iron and potassium. Serve them as a side dish, mix them into a bean stew, or use them to create vegetarian casseroles.
7. Greek Yogurt
In recent years, Greek yogurt has become a popular addition to the dairy aisle. This thick treat has more probiotics and protein than regular American yogurt, while also having fewer carbohydrates and less sugar. Choose low-fat or non-fat varieties for the best health benefits.
Green, leafy vegetables are known for their nutrient-rich properties, and kale certainly qualifies as one of these important superfoods. Kale provides omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin K, lutein, calcium and fiber. You can eat it raw in salads, cook it as a side dish or mix it into your favorite soups or casseroles.
High-fiber oatmeal is a whole grain that helps lower cholesterol and promote heart health. It is low in fat and high in protein as well. Choose old fashioned or steel cut oats, and try mixing in raisins, blueberries, apples or other fruits for a satisfying hot breakfast.
Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is a healthy addition to your diet which may help lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart attacks. When possible, choose wild salmon over farm-raised varieties. While a healthy diet includes many different foods, adding these superfoods will enhance your health with a variety of nutrients.