04 March 2014

Best Foods for Overall Health

Healthy eating is essential in keeping our body functioning throughout the day, and choosing the “right” food can be a tricky thing. Food companies spend billions of dollars just to advertise their products, and consumers can be duped into purchasing seemingly health food, but in reality, a lot of store-bought food is anything but.

When making good food choices, one should take into account if a certain food contains nutrients and other properties that can directly support the body’s overall health and wellness. Choose foods that are packed with cancer-fighting antioxidants, energy-boosting nutrients and heart-friendly “good” fats, rather than overly-advertised processed foods. Take note that all foods, even those that are considered super foods, should be consumed in recommended portion sizes. Here are several foods that can contribute to overall good health:

Almonds are usually eaten raw or toasted.  They are often used as an ingredient in various dishes because of their sweet, delicate flavor. Almonds are known to reduce the risk of heart disease because of their high monounsaturated fat content. Almonds also help in lowering LDL-cholesterol levels, which is associated with cardiovascular diseases. Based on a study published by the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, those who consumed an almond-enriched low calorie diet had greater reductions in weight than those who didn’t. Almonds are also rich in copper, manganese and riboflavin, which are essential in fighting off free radicals, as well as increasing energy production throughout the body.

Artichokes are a species of thistle plants that are cultivated for food consumption. They can be served as steamed, boiled or stuffed, which is a great way to incorporate other flavors. Artichokes are also ranked as 7th among 1,000 vegetables when it comes to high antioxidant content. Several studies also prove that artichokes can help in cancer prevention because of their rich flavonoid content. They also assist in cancer treatment by inducing apoptosis, (or cell death), as well as reducing cell proliferation. Artichokes are also effective in treating stomach problems such as nausea, stomach pain and vomiting.

This green-skinned, fleshy fruit has a distinct and subtle flavor, and is commonly served in milkshakes, sandwiches and dips. It has numerous health-boosting nutrients, such as fiber, potassium, B-vitamins, folic acid and vitamin E. Avocados are also rich in monounsaturated fats, which support cardiovascular health by reducing inflammation and oxidative risk factors, as well as blood fat levels. Avocados have also been found effective in cancer prevention because of their numerous anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutrients. These nutrients also manage oxidative stress and kill off cancer cells through apoptosis.

Beets, or beetroots, are a cultivated root vegetable, which are grown for their edible tap roots and leaves. They have exceptional nutritional value and have long been used for medicinal purposes. Beets are a unique source of betalains as well, which has been shown to provide anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and detoxification benefits. These phytonutrients are also responsible for giving beets their rich pigment. Many of the unique phytonutrients found in beets function as anti inflammatory compounds, reducing the risk of heart disease and other chronic, unwanted inflammation.

Bell peppers
Bell peppers contain a high amount of vitamin C and antioxidants. Red bell peppers, in particular, contain the highest amount of vitamin C, which helps in keeping the immune system healthy and the skin youthful. Bell peppers also contain capsaicins, which helps in reducing cholesterol levels as well as relieving pain and inflammation. They also have anti-cancer benefits because of their rich supply of phytonutrients, which contain antioxidants and anti inflammatory properties.

Blueberries have the highest antioxidant properties of any food, making them one of the best foods for overall health. They have numerous phytonutrients that help and support different body systems. Anthocyanin, for example, is an antioxidant that helps in defending the body against inflammation and oxidative stress, which are common causes of cancers and cardiovascular diseases among others.

There is much evidence suggesting that flaxseed helps in reducing the risk of numerous diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Flaxseed contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acid, which aid in keeping the cardiovascular system healthy by protecting the blood vessels against inflammation and reducing oxidative stress. Flaxseed also has high lignan content, which helps in reducing the risk of cancers by blocking enzymes responsible for hormone metabolism, as well as inhibiting the spread and growth of cancer cells.

Salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help in reducing the risk of numerous cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack, hypertension, high cholesterol, heart disease, coronary artery disease and stroke. Regular intake of foods high in omega-3 fatty acids can also assist in mood improvement and cognitive function of the brain. Finally, this fatty acid also decreases the risk of brain-related problems and cognitive decline in older people.

If you're eating most of these healthy foods already, good for you! 
But if you're not, then what is your reason for not eating healthier? Is healthy eating too expensive?
Leave your comment. 

About the author:

David Novak’s byline has appeared in newspapers and magazines around the world.  He’s an avid health enthusiast, and frequently is featured in regional and national health publications. He is also a weekly writer for Healthline.  To visit his other stories on Healthline, visit http://www.healthline.com/

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  1. This is such a great and informative list! Thanks so much for sharing! We'd be so happy to have you link this up at {Healthy} Tips and Tricks Tuesday! The perfect set of tips!

  2. Thanks so much for sharing Foods That Help You Lose Weight http://dietfitnessandweightloss101.blogspot.com/2014/02/foods-that-help-you-lose-weight.html

  3. Increase fibre, avoid eating refined flour products as they digest easily. Go for fibrous foods such as whole wheat breads, brown rice, bitter gourd, spinach, mushroom, peas, brinjal and pumpkin to improve satiety. If you want to eat raw salads, blanch it before consuming. Drink 8-10 glasses of water and sip on coconut water, green tea, homemade fruit juices and soups in between to maintain a healthy metabolism rate. To aid weight loss, have two cups of Vitamin C-rich fruits


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