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9 Of The Best Foods To Make A Part Of Your Diet

October 3, 2014 by Mark DeNicola

We recently released an article entitled ‘10 Of The Worst Food Ingredients To Never Eat Again,’ which as the name suggests outlined 10 commonly found food ingredients we may want to consider cutting out of our diet. This article is designed to outline 9 (of the many foods) that would be an excellent addition to your diet.

This list is designed to be a starting point for a cumulative conversation. Once you have gone through the list, I encourage all of you to add your own great and healthy food finds to the list through the comment section below. If we all work together and share this growing list with our friends and networks we can make this a truly incredible resource for anyone looking to overturn their diet.

Here are the starting 9, in no particular order:

1) Berries

Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and acai berries are just 4 of the many delicious berry varieties that are easy to find and ready to be a part of your regular diet. Berries are amongst the most antioxidant rich foods out there, with the acai berry topping the list in that department. Antioxidants, as most of us already know, are credited as being quite powerful in preventing cancer, heart disease, aging and much more. Another factor that sets berries apart is their high levels of phytochemicals, which help to protect the cells within your body from damage. (1)

2) Avocados

Like berries, avocados also serve as a source of antioxidants however they also come with a very high natural fibre content that aids in digestion and helps to regulate blood sugar. For those, like me, who are looking to gain a bit of weight but in a healthy way, avocados are one of the best solutions out there with approximately 200 calories for every 100 grams consumed. (2) Because of their ability to cleanse the intestines, avocados are also considered as one of the ways to cure bad breath, which may come in handy with the next item on the list.

3) Quinoa

It’s fast and easy to prepare and is quickly establishing itself as one of the best gluten-free alternatives to pasta. Quinoa is high in protein, a good source of riboflavin, part of the B family of vitamins and is low in calories by comparison to any of its wheat or grain based counterparts. Just be sure to rinse your quinoa thoroughly before cooking it to remove any saponin, a toxic chemical. (4)

4) Potatoes

We’ve all heard that spinach and broccoli are incredibly healthy for us, but did you know that one red potato contains approximately an equal amount of folate to a cup of spinach or broccoli. (6) Folate, which is also a part of the B family of vitamins, support red blood cell production and helps nerves to function properly. (5) If you can however, opt to buy and consume organic potatoes as often as possible, as they made our previously released list of the 12 Most Chemically Ridden Produce Items You Should Buy Organic.

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5) Oatmeal*

I put the asterisk next to oatmeal to signify that I’m not suggesting all oatmeals are equally as beneficial for you. Many oatmeal options exist and unfortunately most pre-packaged ones tend to contain a number of chemicals and artificial sugars that outweigh the benefits the oats on their own offer your body. When I say oatmeal I’m referring to actual rolled oats, which can still be prepared by simply mixing in some boiling water. By simply adding fresh fruit and/or organic honey you can quickly make your bowl of oatmeal taste just as good -if not better -than what they managed to accomplish in the pre-packaged alternative. Oats offer manganese, phosphorus, copper, vitamin B1, biotin, which helps to prevent hair loss and much more. (7)

6) Hemp Seeds

On their own, most of us would probably find hemp seeds a difficult food item to incorporate as a part of our regular diet, primarily due to their strong, nutty taste. But used in moderation, such as being sprinkled on a salad or added to a fruit or vegetable smoothie, hemp seeds are a very high quality protein source. They also feature both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which ties them to an ability to boost your immune system and combat fatigue. (8)

7) Almonds

Almonds are certainly not the only nut worth considering to make a part of your regular diet, but they make this list because they contain the most fibre -about 3 grams per ounce. Almonds also happen to be rich in vitamin C and are an antioxidant (a recurring theme amongst this list). (9) I particularly love soaking almonds in water (which I change twice daily) for a couple of days prior to eating them, I personally find that it brings out the flavour more profoundly while softening the overall texture. Soaking the almonds also happens to make them easier on your system to digest, so it is certainly something worth considering.

8) Peanut Butter*

Like oatmeal, peanut butter also comes with an asterisk next to its name due to the differentiation that has to be made between brands such as Skippy, Jif or Kraft and organic peanut butters whose ingredient list consists of nothing more than organic peanuts. If you opt for the second option peanut butter provides you with healthy fats, fibre, potassium and nutrients like vitamin E and B6. (10)  Peanut butter is also pretty filling and even makes for a great addition to any smoothie looking for an extra protein boost.

9) Lentils

Lentils make for a great main ingredient in a hearty soup, an awesome consistency provider to a vegetarian burger patty and a great base to many spreads amongst many other things. In addition to this lentils also just happen to help lower cholesterol, aid with digestion, reduce your risk of heart disease and provide you with protein. (11)

Sources:

(1) http://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition-pictures/amazing-health-benefits-of-berries.aspx#01

(2) http://www.undergroundhealth.com/15-amazing-health-benefits-of-eating-avocados/

(3) http://authoritynutrition.com/11-proven-health-benefits-of-garlic/

(4) http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/diana-herrington/7-benefits-of-quinoa_b_3363619.html

(5) http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=63

(6)http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipes/healthy-eating/superfoods/the-10-healthiest-foods-on-the-planet/#page=4

(7) http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=54

(8) http://www.livestrong.com/article/217904-hemp-seeds-health-benefits-or-hype/

(9) http://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-and-nutrition/0406/why-you-should-go-nuts-for-nuts.aspx#03

(10) http://www.healthambition.com/health-benefits-of-peanut-butter/

(11) http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-5488/7-Health-Benefits-of-Lentils.html


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14 Great Sources Of Clean Protein

BY NADYA ANDREEVA     DECEMBER 21, 2013 

Clean protein is harder to come by than you might think. Pesticides, heavy metals, and antibiotics are abundant in almost all factory-produced nonorganic meat, poultry, fish, dairy, and eggs. Fast food joints pump almost all of their items with food flavorings and chemicals to increase shelf life. To avoid all the negative health effects, go for the following foods whenever possible. Make friends with farmers at the closest farmers’ market, read food labels at the stores, and ask questions at the restaurants. You deserve to know where your food is coming from.

Almonds

Almonds are strongly anti-inflammatory, and are a good source for healthy fats, fiber, and protein. To make almonds easier to digest, soak them overnight and peel the skins. Nuts aren’t a complete protein since they don’t have a full range of amino acids, but they serve as a great addition to a healthy diet.

Spirulina

Spirulina is one of the great superfoods. It’s approximately 65 to 71 percent complete protein in its natural state, higher than virtually any other unprocessed food. And unlike most other forms of protein, the protein in spirulina is 85-95% digestible. Since spirulina has no cellulose in its cell walls, it’s extremely easy for the body to break it down. While spirulina is great, make sure it’s collected from a clean body of water, not public lakes that allow boats. It also can’t serve as a main source of protein since it would be hard to take it sufficient qualities to make up for body’s demand for protein.

Wild Fish

While most nutritionists would say that fish is healthy, not all fish is equal. The origin matters a lot. Farmed fish is the same as a caged chicken. They aren’t fed a natural diet, are often sick, don’t have as many desirable omega-3s, ant might be full of antibiotics and dioxin. Wild is the way to go if you consume fish on a regular basis.

Quinoa

Quinoa is a “complete protein” pseudo-grain. It tastes great and is easy to cook, even for kitchen newbies. Buckwheat is another grain (seed) that is a complete protein and can be substituted for quinoa.

Cage-free eggs

Eggs are a rich source of thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, folic acids, vitamin B12, biotin, vitamin D, vitamin E, and phosphorus. Eggs can be a great easy-to-digest food if chickens had a healthy diet, were cage free, and got to run around outside. Whole eggs are also much more nutrient dense than egg whites, since egg yolks contain most of the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. Buy whole organic eggs, not mechanically separated, chemically altered egg whites.

Hemp Seeds

Sixty-five percent of the total protein content of hemp seed comes from the globular protein edestin, which is easily digested, absorbed, and utilized by the human body. It’s also hypoallergenic. Hemp contains about 30% protein.

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Chia Seeds

This miracle food offers complete protein that’s mildly anti-inflammatory, easy to digest, and easy to cook with. Chia seeds are a good source of calcium and phosphorus, and a very good source of dietary fiber and manganese. Chia seed pudding can be a great easy-to-make breakfast option or a healthy fiber- and protein-rich snack.

Whey Powder

Whey protein is the second most abundant protein derived from milk (casein is the most abundant milk protein). It’s found mainly in meal-replacement powders, protein powders, and ready-to-consume drinks. Whey contains all of the essential amino acids and is particularly high in the branched-chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) and glutamine (an immune-boosting amino acid). Make sure it’s grass-fed, organic, and hormone free.

Lentils

While they’re not a complete protein, lentils are a great source of amino acids, healthy carbs, and filling fiber. When combined with grains, they form a complete protein. They will keep hunger at bay and are easier to digest than larger beans.

Organic Chicken

Chicken contains all of the essential amino acids, but make sure to choose chickens that were raise in humane conditions, fed a variable nutrient-dense diet, and got to see sunshine, not just a sad cage. It makes a difference in taste and its effects on the body.

Cottage Cheese and Greek Yogurt

If you aren’t sensitive to dairy, plain cottage cheese and Greek yogurt can be a good addition to a balanced diet. Both are pretty low in sugar, have a good amount of protein, and healthy fats. Choose organic to avoid hormones, chemicals, and hidden antibiotics. If you have any symptoms of dairy intolerance, it’s best to do an elimination diet or get blood work done at a qualified center.

Tempeh

Tempeh is made out of fermented soy and can be a great source of clean protein for vegans if they don’t have soy sensitivity. Make sure it is organic and not genetically modified. It’s been shown that soy protein is comparable in digestibility to other high-quality protein sources such as meat, milk, fish, and egg. Avoid processed “fake” soy meats, and don’t rely on soy alone for your protein.

Grass-fed Beef

Beef is loaded with zinc, iron and all the amino acids as well. If you consume meat, make it grass fed, not grain fed. It’s cleaner, more flavorful, safer, and with more nutrients.

Pea and Rice Protein Powder

The combination of rice and pea protein actually provides one of the best-tasting protein concentrates available. The end product is 80-90% pure, hypoallergenic, easily digested protein.