Eating healthy is sometimes a challenge, but you have to start somewhere. While no one should expect to overhaul their diet overnight, you can make improvements in fairly short order.
Start by picking out a few healthy items and adding them to your diet. But that is easier said than done. Instead of making you do the leg work, we’ve put together a list of things you can eat right now and gain benefits from the moment you start eating. You’ll find that most of our choices are whole foods, so be ready to do a little preparing.
Don’t worry too much about finding recipes either. The internet is a nearly endless cookbook. Although you may want to make sure you’re searching over a secured network, as things such as public WiFi present big risks unless you’re accessing with a Virtual Private Network.
1. Wheat Grass
Our first item is wheat grass. While not the tastiest thing on its own, wheat grass is packed with essential vitamins, minerals and proteins. Turning wheat grass into juice makes its consumption efficient and gets all the necessary items into your body quicker.
There are a few ways you can go at it. You could drink wheat grass “shots” if you prefer to just down it all in one gulp, or you could mix the juice into a smoothie with fruits of your choice. One of my favorite combos is actually with a bag of mixed frozen fruit, a little almond milk and some wheat grass juice mixed in.
When you’re finished juicing, you can chew on the remaining “juiced bits” for additional nutrition—if you want. They don’t taste especially great, but they’re good for you.
2. Sweet Potatoes
Despite their name, sweet potatoes actually contain fewer carbohydrates than traditional white potatoes and house the ever-valuable vitamin A in huge quantities. They’re pleasant to eat and can be cooked by boiling, roasting, steaming or, if you’re in a time pinch, by microwave. My personal favorite is chopping them up into slices and baking them covered until they caramelize.
In addition to their great flavor, sweet potatoes may be linked to improved control over blood sugar as well as reduced levels of inflammation and oxidation. Their high fiber prevents rapid absorption of carbohydrates and assists in cleaner bowel movements.
Eaten with their skin, apples are high in fiber and extremely filling. They contain many antioxidants and nutrients critical for daily function. And eating just a single one puts you as much as a third toward your daily recommended fruit intake.
Apples are a conveniently portable snack and are usable in a number of dishes, including salads and (if you so indulge) various baked goods. There are quite a few different kinds of apples as well, so you aren’t just stuck eating just sour or just sweet. Just be sure you eat the skin, as it’s an important part of the nutrition. Though we recommend organic apples as conventional apple skins are heavily sprayed with pesticide and coated in food-grade wax.
Apples are seasonal, so you get a variety throughout the year. While some apples are available year-round, it’s best to go with seasonal choices to keep your diet more diverse.
Because they contain vital levels of healthy fat, avocados are an essential part of your diet, especially if you eat little or no meat. Despite false claims in the last century that fat was the major cause behind heart disease, more carefully curated research shows healthy fats are beneficial to cardiovascular health.
Their creamy texture makes them a great part in many different recipes, including pudding. We use them for many dishes, with my favorite being a basic staple—sandwiches. Besides contributing good flavor, avocados make a good “food glue” to keep the rest of your goodies held together, so you don’t make a big mess.
Plus, avocados are easy to grow in some states and are often available organically. The two main types you’ll run into are Hass avocados and Florida avocados. Hass avocados are small and have either slightly green skins or a blackish skin, both highly textured. Florida avocados are huge and green, with a slightly different flavor.
As an essential seasoning to thousands of dishes, garlic also affords numerous minerals and nutrients. But garlic’s nutritional facts are a tad deceptive. A cursory look might fool you into thinking garlic’s nutritional content is fairly low. A full serving doesn’t even contain more than 15 percent of any daily requirement.
One of the most important elements in garlic is a sulfur compound known as allicin. It’s the part of garlic that imparts some of its more unusual properties. Garlic has been associated with helping to fight infections, including antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria, and allicin is the reason for that association.
The same compound is responsible for other beneficial effects, including reduction in hypertension. But aside from the health benefits of garlic, it can also be prepared in different ways. Try roasting some garlic for hummus, or add it as a key spice to an otherwise dull dish.
About the Author: Cassie is an internet technology specialist and health advocate. In a world that surrounds us by technology, she sometimes enjoys taking some time to write about the simpler things we can do to improve our lives with or without the help of tech.
Do you have a favorite healthy food?
We’re interested in what kinds of foods you think can make a big impact on your diet straight away, so leave us a comment below.