We all live busy lives and sometimes keeping up with the latest nutritional facts on what to eat and when to eat it is difficult to manage and can be downright confusing. But eating healthy can be simple. Just incorporate these 7 Nutritional Superstars – along with a little protein, into your diet every day.
Yogurt has enjoyed a centuries-old reputation as a health food. One-cup (8 oz) serving contains 30 – 40% of your daily calcium needs, plus about 9 grams of protein and is an excellent source of potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc and vitamins B2, B3,, B6 and B12. Beyond these important nutrition basics, the live and active cultures found in yogurt are thought to provide additional health benefits. Keep in mind that not all yogurts are probiotic, so make sure to check the label which should read “live and active cultures.” Aim for 1 cup of yogurt a day.
A nutritional powerhouse, spinach is a rich source of plant-based omega-3s and folate, which help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and osteoporosis. It’s also packed with lutein, a compound that fights macular degeneration and is a rich source of vitamins A and C and K. You should try to eat 1 cup fresh spinach or 1/2 cup cooked per day.
Tomatoes contain the antioxidant lycopene and studies show that a diet rich in lycopene can decrease your risk of bladder, lung, prostate, skin, and stomach cancers, as well as reduce the risk of coronary artery disease. You want to get about 22 mg of lycopene a day, which is about eight red cherry tomatoes or a glass of tomato juice.
Blueberries are high in antioxidants and rich in fiber and vitamins A and C. Studies show that blueberries can boost cardiovascular health. Aim for 1 cup fresh blueberries a day, or 1/2 cup frozen or dried.
All beans are good for your heart, but none can boost your brain power like black beans. That’s because they contain anthocyanins which are antioxidant compounds that have been shown to improve brain function. A daily 1/2-cup serving provides 8 grams of protein and 7.5 grams of fiber. It’s also low in calories and free of saturated fat.
Richer in heart-healthy omega-3s, loaded with more anti-inflammatory polyphenols than red wine and high in protein, walnuts are one of the best nuts around. Most other nuts combine only one or two of these features, not all three. A serving of walnuts–about 1 ounce, or 7 nuts–is good anytime, but especially as a post workout recovery snack.
Oats are one of the best sources of soluble fiber with 10 grams of protein per 1/2-cup serving, so they are an excellent source of energy. Oats can also help reduce total cholesterol along with LDL or “bad” cholesterol and oat fiber can also help control blood sugar. Try to eat ½ cup serving each day.