All whole, fresh foods have something to offer when it comes to nutrition. However, the foods listed below are especially good for you due to their nutrient profiles. These foods may not be on your typical date, however, if you find ways to incorporate them into your regular diet, you can greatly improve your health. A group of nutritionists from Colorado State University asked 106 women to eat 8 to 10 servings of vegetables a day for 8 weeks. The women who incorporated 18 different varieties of produced into their diet reduced the rate of their DNA oxidation. This can possibly make the body more resilient against disease. The women who stuck to the same 5 foods and ate them, again and again, showed no change at all. If you are going to start incorporating these foods into your diet make sure that you mix it up a little. The foods listed below are a great place to start.
#1 Fresh Figs
In six fresh figs, there are 891 milligrams of potassium, which is known to lower your blood pressure. This also gives you close to 20 percent of your recommended daily intake. A 5-year study was performed in the Netherlands. It found that a diet high in potassium was linked to lower rates of death from all causes in healthy adults that are 55 and over. Also, one serving of figs has almost as much calcium as a ½ cup of fat-free milk. When you are shopping for figs, you should choose the one that is dry on the surface. There are plenty of ways that you can incorporate figs into your meal. You can chop them up and put them in your yogurt, you can put them in cottage cheese, and you can put them in a green salad. If you want to be creative, you can cut the figs open and stuff them with soft, low-fat cheese.
Turnips are an old-fashioned root vegetable. Just one cup of turnips contains just 18 calories and they are rich in glucosinolates, which are cancer-fighting compounds. For a low-calorie, high nutrient comfort food, you can mash the turnips and blend them into your favorite mashed potato recipe.
Lychee is a relatively unknown food. A study was performed in France and it appeared in the Journal of Nutrition. Among all of the fruits involved in the study, lychee had the second highest level of polyphenols, which is great for the heart. It had close to 15 percent more of this nutrient than you would find in grapes. To prepare lychee, you would peel the outer covering and remove the pit with a knife. You can add them to kebabs or stir-fries and they will add a sweet, grapelike flavor to your dish.
Spinach is one of the most popular leafy green vegetables. It is rich in zeaxanthin, lutein, and carotenoids. These can prevent age-related macular degeneration as well as cataracts, which is a common problem for many people. Spinach is also rich in vitamin K, which is essential for bone health in clotting. Finally, it is rich in B vitamins, especially folate, which promotes heart health.
#5 Asian Pears
In just one Asian pear, there are close to 10 grams of cholesterol-lowering fiber. This also gives you about 40 percent of the recommended daily intake. A study was performed and it found that the people who ate the most fiber had the lowest levels of LDL cholesterol, which is the bad cholesterol. Also, these people had the lowest body mass index and waist circumference.
When shopping for Asian pears, you should choose the ones that have no blemishes on the skin. You should also choose the ones with the most fragrant aroma. You can dice Asian pears and put them into salads. You can also make a delicious dessert by simmering two large pears that have been peeled, cored, and quartered and add 1 cup of white wine, 1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger, 1 teaspoon of honey, and enough water to cover the pears.
#6 Bok Choy
Bok Choy is loaded with glucosinolates, which is known for its potent anti-cancer properties. When bok choy is cut or chewed, the glucosinolates are converted into indoles and isothiocyanates. In recent studies, these compounds were found to inhibit or prevent the formation of tumors.
Papaya is an excellent source of beta-cryptoxanthin, which according to recent studies, can protect against lung cancer. Papaya is also rich in lycopene and it contains an enzyme called papain. This can aid in digestion. According to Elisa Zied, RD, a spokesperson for the American Diabetic Association, papain helps break down amino acids, which is the building block of protein.
When you are shopping for papaya, you should choose the fruit with golden-yellow skin. You also want the papaya that yields to gentle pressure. To prepare papaya, you should cut the fruit lengthwise and throw away the black seeds. Next, scoop out the flesh with a spoon and sprinkle it with lemon juice.
When you replace high-fat proteins such as steak and pork chops with whole soy foods such as soy nuts, edamame (whole soybeans), and tofu, you can reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet and boost the amount of fiber in your diet. According to a study performed by the University of Alabama at Birmingham, soy protein ca help to prevent belly fat in postmenopausal women.
#9 Wild Salmon
Salmon is loaded with the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, which a major component in neurons. According to a study published in the Archives of Neurology, people with blood levels that are rich in this mega nutrient are 47 percent less likely to develop dementia. When you are buying salmon, you should choose wild salmon over farmed. Farmed doesn’t have as much omega-3’s as wild salmon does.
According to a study published in Annals of Internal Medicine, a diet rich in walnuts is better than the traditional Mediterranean diet when it comes to lowering levels of LDL cholesterol and lipoprotein, Lipoprotein is a compound that increases blood clotting and can lead to a stroke.