"What foods are good for my health?"
This is one of the most common questions I receive.
It’s also a loaded one. Because with few exceptions, I don’t believe foods are innately good or bad.
A food with a certain nutritional profile can be excellent for you in certain amounts — too much or too little can be a problem.
However, there are four foods that we know can decrease your risk of early death. The bad news is these foods are notoriously under consumed by Americans.
Where does this information come from? It comes from a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
So which foods should you eat to decrease your risk of early death? Read on for the details!
Nuts and Seeds
Low nut and seed consumption is associated with nearly 10 percent of cardiovascular deaths.
Especially considering nuts and seeds are delicious.
Aside from eating nuts and seeds plain, there are easy ways to infuse more into your diet.
- Blend almond butter/cashew butter/sunflower butter into your smoothies
- Sprinkle ground flaxseed on your steel cut oats
- Add shelled hemp seeds or chopped nuts to your salads
- Blend walnuts or cashews into your favorite soups
- Make homemade trail mix with raw nuts and seeds
- Make a sunflower butter and fruit sandwich
If you’re a regular around these parts you know I often sing the praises of vegetables. And for good reason.
Vegetables are one of the most nutrient dense food groups you can eat. Low consumption of veggies is associated with nearly 8 percent of all cardiovascular deaths.
The beauty of vegetables is there is such a wonderful variety and everyone can find ones they love.
A lot of my clients think salads are the only way to get vegetables. This misconception is easy to fix. Here are a few easy (and tasty) ways to get your veggies:
- Blend fresh greens into your smoothies (spinach is particularly mild tasting when blended with fruit)
- Roast carrots, sweet potatoes, and Brussel sprouts with rosemary and a small amount of oil
- Make a succotash with corn, tomatoes, red peppers, and lima beans
- Spiralize zucchini and carrots and use them with pasta sauce
- Add shredded cabbage to noodles
- Stir fry carrots, bamboo shoots, sugar peas, mushrooms, and water chestnuts
Most of my clients come to me thinking fruit has too much sugar so they avoid fruit. But still continue to add lots of sugar to their coffee, eat refined grains, indulge in several sweet snacks a day, and have foods they don’t even realize are loaded with sugar.
While small groups of people may need to limit fruit, it is pretty hard to eat too much fresh whole fruit.
Newsflash: the natural sugar in whole fresh fruit is not the problem. It’s all the added and refined sugar in food that’s the issue.
And low fruit consumption accounts for 8 percent of cardiovascular deaths.
How should you eat fruit?
Eat fruit in the whole and fresh state. This means eating fresh apples instead of apple juice. Or oranges instead of orange juice. And this means NOT adding sugar to your fruit.
Seafood is really getting at omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that are crucial for many bodily processes.
Low omega-3 fatty acid consumption is associated with 8 percent of cardiovascular deaths.
Certain seafood is rich in omega-3s. Typically, it is your fatty fish (like salmon). But there are other ways to get omega-3s. The easiest way is through algae consumption (eaten or taken in supplement form). Algae is an excellent option if you are concerned with fish contamination or you enjoy a vegan diet.
There are other ways to get omega-3s through diet, but they require your body to convert them first. This is less efficient than eating seafood or algae, but you still should consider the following foods:
- seeds (ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds)
- soybeans (tofu)
- vegetables (spinach, broccoli, tomatoes)
I love recommending foods to ADD to people’s diet instead of focusing on what to ELIMINATE.
Now you know the best foods to eat for your health: nuts and seeds, vegetables, fruit, and seafood.
So take an assessment of what you eat and determine where you can add health boosting foods.
Until next week,