Dieting and healthy eating isn’t just about cutting out certain foods or trimming down on portion size. Much of creating a healthy diet is about getting the proper amount of nutrition – that is, ensuring that what you are eating contains the right balance of protein, carbs, vitamins, minerals, fibre, fat, and of course, calories. By focusing only on calories you may be accidentally ignoring the nutrients you require to stay healthy, fit, and focused.
Getting a balanced diet with complete nutrition means there are probably some foods you should be eating more of. Sometimes these foods are called ‘super foods’ because they pack a bigger nutrition punch than expected, or can improve your healthy in some measurable way, like helping to bolster the immune system, stimulating muscle production, or lowering blood pressure.
With that in mind, here is our list
Foods You Should Be Eating More Of.
We’ve mentioned this food before on our site and even have a a recipe for a Simple Quinoa Veggie Salad. Quinoa is very high in protein and contains nine essential amino acids our body needs to be healthy. It is so packed with nutrition that NASA provides it to astronauts onboard the International Space Station. It’s gluten-free, and contains 120 calories per 100g (3.5oz) when cooked. It is also a source of essential minerals like zinc, iron, and magnesium. Its soft shell, when cooked, adds a gentle crunch and a nutty flavour, which makes it ideal for eating in salads (our favourite method of eating Quinoa). We highly recommend Quinoa as one of the foods you should be eating more of!
It’s not only delicious – ginger is a natural remedy for everything from motion sickness to inflammation and digestive distress. High in manganese, a dietary mineral, raw ginger also makes a great spice, providing a fresh, aromatic flavour to your food. Ginger is used in many cuisines around the world – your favourite curry, stir fry, sushi, and fried rice probably contain at least some either fresh or dried ginger. We like to freeze our ginger to make it easier to grate into noodle and soup dishes, in tea (particularly combined with lemon), or as a marinade for meats. While ginger can also be enjoyed in a candied variety, this version often comes with a high sugar content – but that might be a great way to get your kids to have a little ginger when their tummy is upset. Ginger is definitely on of the foods you should be eating more of.
Garlic is a popular ingredient in many dishes world-wide, and whether your used to eating it or not, we suggest you start eating a little more. Garlic has known effects on lowering blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, lowering your risk of heart disease, even lowering your risk of stomach cancer. Granted, garlic does not have a whole lot of direct nutritional value – in fact some studies have shown that it takes more calories to eat and digest garlic than the garlic itself actually contains – but considering its long list of health benefits it is certainly worth adding to your diet, if you haven’t already.
Packed with nutrients instead of calories, blueberries are believed to be among the highest antioxidant fruits you can find, and they are easier to find in groceries stores than other high antioxidant berries like acai. Blueberries are believed to help against aging, and may even help prevent cognitive decline or help lower the risk of Parkinson’s disease. Blueberries are also good for your heart! With all of these benefits, and their sheer tastiness to boot, there is no reason blueberries should not be part of your diet. Be careful though – what is often advertised as blueberry juice more often than not contains very little actual blueberry, and is mostly grape juice and sugar. Same is true for blueberry jams and jellies, thus it is probably best you go right for the source and eat them raw, as nature intended. Try adding some frozen blueberries to a cup of yogurt and a banana – blend it all up for a great breakfast smoothie!
Most of us look at pumpkins as something we carve up in the Fall, or something we use to flavour pie at the holidays, but pumpkin is definitely a food you should be eating more of. Like blueberries, pumpkin is another great source of antioxidants, but beyond that a study published by the Harvard Medical Journal suggested that many of the nutrients contained in pumpkin are great for your eye sight. Add to this the high fibre content of pumpkin (great for clearing out a stubborn or sluggish digestive tract) and you’ve got plenty of reason to enjoy pumpkin every season. Fun Fact: we blend a little steamed pumpkin into our regular cat food to help keep our felines happy and healthy. They love it and it has certainly improved their digestion. It works just as well for people! Look around online for some pumpkin ravioli recipes – that’s our favourite!
Salmon is a healthy source of protein, and it contains high levels of Omega-3 too. Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid which is great for for heart health, can help with attention and memory, is great for the skin, is linked to lower cancer risk, prevention of arthritis, and is a great source of Vitamin-D (a 75g portion providing 100% of our daily requirement). That’s a lot of benefit for something so lean. Many nutritionists suggest that fish should be your primary source of protein at least twice per week, and we certainly think it is a food you should be eating more of.
Popeye knew what he was talking about! Spinach is a great source of iron, and like salmon, it is a good source of Omega-3, which makes Spinach a muscle building food, another one that helps ensure your heart remains healthy, and can even aide blood flow. Not a fan of the strong flavour of kale? Fresh spinach is a great substitute for lettuce or other leafy greens, and is a food you should be adding to your diet ASAP. We like to put spinach on both our regular and Veggie Burgers to give them a little green kick. Its delicious and its good for you. Its low in fat, low in cholesterol, high in fibre, niacin, and zinc. Whats not to like?
Full Disclosure: Broccoli is my favourite vegetable. I love it raw, I love it steamed, even roasted – and thats just because it tastes soooo good. Add to this its detoxifying effects on the body, and that many nutritionists consider it to be the best vegetable for lowering your risk of cancers, broccoli might not be considered a full-on superfood but its certainly a food you should be eating more of. Broccoli’s an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B1, fibre, and it contains both potassium and manganese. Thats a lot of benefit for a single vegetable and definitely makes it worth eating more of. Have a hard time getting broccoli in to your diet? Mix it in with your mac and cheese, if you must. Nobody can say no to broccoli with cheese!
Oatmeal is loaded with potassium and calcium, which help to lower your blood pressure. Further, oatmeal is a protein rich food source, and it’s a carbohydrate, which provides a long lasting energy boost. That makes oatmeal the perfect way to start the day. Eating oatmeal will also provide a slow rise in glycemic levels, which is great for keeping you fueled up for fat-burning exercise. In fact, many nutritionists suggest that you consume a small bowl of oatmeal two or three hours prior to your daily workout to help boost endurance, so you can build-up a good healthy sweat. Further, oatmeal is an appetite suppressor due to it’s high fibre content, letting you feel fuller longer which helps guard against overeating – it’s the perfect feel-full breakfast for anyone who is watching their weight. The low glycemic levels in oatmeal also works to prevent diabetes. It’s definitely a a food your should be eating more of.
Fair warning again – while broccoli is our favourite vegetable, tomatoes are our favourite fruit (yes, they are a fruit!) and rare is the day where a tomato is not in some way a part of our daily diet. There are many benefits to eating more tomatoes. These delicious fruits are loaded with vitamins (specifically A, C, and K), and they are also a significant source phosphorous, potassium, manganese, and magnesium. This makes them a great antioxidant, a cancer fighter, and a preventer of cardiovascular diseases. They are a staple of many cuisines around the world but beware, when we say tomatoes are a food you should be eating more of we are speaking specifically of fresh tomatoes. Canned tomatoes or tomato based sauces (like store bought pasta sauce or salsa) are often loaded down with added sugar and unnecessary preservatives. This artificial sweetness offsets the health benefits that these juicy treats offer naturally. So while they are a food you should be eating more of – stay fresh to stay healthy.
Changing your diet for the better doesn’t mean going without, or feeling hungry all the time. A proper healthy diet takes into account the need to consume healthy foods (not just lowering the amount of foods you are eating). As a rule, try to enjoy fresh foods over packaged foods, and try to make as many meals as possible on your own so that you know exactly what you are eating. The more natural your foods are the less likely they will be hiding artificial substitutes, excess sugar, or other ingredients you neither want, nor need. By preparing food at home you can be much more vigilant in what you are actually eating and while there are plenty of options at your local market, try incorporating some of the foods from this list into your daily diet.