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5 Foods To Eat Everyday

5 Foods to Eat Everyday

By now, you’ve probably heard that certain foods should be part of your daily diet.  But sometimes, the more you read, the more confused you get on what you should actually buy at the grocery store.  At times I’m just as overwhelmed as the next person.  That’s why I put together this cheat sheet for you to put on your fridge so that you can remember to eat these foods on a daily basis.  It’s simple, it’s effective, and these foods have been proven by science to be important aspects of a healthy diet.

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Here’s a quick rundown of why you should eat each of these foods:

1. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are a powerhouse of omega 3 fatty acids, which are essential fatty acids that your body cannot manufacture by itself.  Omega 3 fatty acids are the nutritional equivalent of gold, and are important to consume on a daily basis.  Omega 3’s promote proper function of your retina, brain, heart, muscle, and skin (to name a few), and protect against inflammation, high blood pressure (hypertension), arthritis, cancers of many varieties, diabetes, and heart disease.

Chia seeds have been eaten by many primitive cultures since the beginning of time, and were popularized in Christopher McDougalls’ book Born to Run.  If you haven’t read it yet, it’s definitely worth a read.  He talks about the fact that Tarahumara tribesmen in the Copper Canyons of Mexico are a tribe of ultramarathon runners who don’t even know it.  Before he met them, they had never heard of the word ultramarathon.  Running is part of their culture, and the only way to traverse the treacherous landscape of the Copper Canyons.

To fuel them on 100+ mile runs, they subsist on chia seeds and corn beer.  Strange.  Because of that, the world became interested in chia seed nutrition, and quickly found out that they are a powerhouse of omega 3 fatty acids and fiber.  Personally, they are not my food of choice for endurance sports, but they seem to do the trick nonetheless.

Omega 3’s can either be eaten as alpha linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentanoic acid (EPA), or docosahexanoic acid (DHA).  Don’t memorize these words.  Save your brain for more important things.

Instead, just remember a few things:

  1. ALA is plant derived

  2. EPA and DHA are animal derived (mainly oily fish)

  3. EPA and DHA are the bioactive forms of omega 3

  4. ALA can be converted to both EPA and DHA by enzymes that most cells in your body possess

  5. Unless you are diabetic, your body most likely converts ALA to EPA and DHA efficiently

So what this means is that you can eat either ALA from plants or EPA and DHA from oily fish.  It’s your choice.  Just know that while the oily fish omega 3’s have been researched extensively and shown to be very beneficial for heart, brain and eye health, mercury contamination has become a real issue in today’s fish market.

Plant based omega 3 (ALA) does not have such a contamination problem.  Studies have shown that consumption of ALA results in sufficient EPA and DHA, and that people who consume between 1-6 grams of chia seeds per day are healthy as horses.

Want some chia seed recipes?  Click on the following links.

Wellness Mama

SparkPeople

Chia Seed Recipes

 Natural News Chia Seed Recipes

I will be putting together an infographic about omega 3’s real soon, so look out for that.

2. Hemp Protein Powder

Protein comes from 2 sources: (1) plants and (2) animals.  For the longest time, plant protein sources have been pooped on for allegations that “plant proteins are not complete sources of amino acids.”  In plain language, that means that plant protein sources do not contain a full array of the building blocks of protein.

Therefore, eating only plant proteins will result in an amino acid deficiency.  Do not accept these types of statements at face value.  This could not be farther from the truth.

The beauty of eating a variety of plant proteins is that if one source is deficient in a few amino acids, then other sources will make up for it.  This is called “protein complimentation” and results in a complete array of amino acids.

For the longest time, lean animal proteins were though of as superior protein sources because they had all 20 amino acids, and were more “bioavailable” than plant protein.  That’s a fancy way of saying that the animal protein is more readily absorbed.  The problem with animal protein is that recent studies have uncovered many unfavorable effects.

Casein, the major protein found in milk has been shown to promote tumor development in laboratory rodents.  In addition, carcinogenic compounds created by the cooking of meat products may increase your risk for developing cancer.  Dr. Fuhrman, author of Eat to Live, has treated thousands of patients with plant-based diets, and written extensively about the effects of animal protein.  I’ll let you read his stuff for now.  It’s gold.

Hemp protein is one of many plant protein choices, together with soy protein, pea protein, rice protein, and sprouted grain protein.  Hemp protein is a complete source of amino acids, is readily digestible, is also packaged with an extensive supply of omega 3 fatty acids, and tastes great.  Overall, a superior choice for plant protein altogether.

3. Your Favorite Vegetables

Vegetables are powerhouses of micronutrients.  They contain high levels of the stuff that your body loves, which it uses to promote proper tissue function.  These micronutrients include vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and thousands of phytonutrients (plant-based nutrients) that scientists don’t even know about.

Vegetables are your ideal choice of food for dinner time, as they are not high in calories, contain a large amount of fiber, and are high in water content.

Those on weight loss regimens will benefit from the consumption of 10-15 servings of vegetables per day, simply because they are high in volume and low in calories.

If you’re an active individual, and exercise on a daily basis, then vegetables will also help you recover quickly.  The micronutrients that vegetables contain promote the repair of muscle tissue and the storage of carbohydrate, which will helps you to return to the gym quickly.  For athletes, I recommend between 10-20 servings of vegetables per day.  Simply stated, they work wonders.

4. Your Favorite Fruits

Fruits are magical calorie packets that some authors claim to be the most beneficial food for humans to consume.  Much like vegetables, fruits contain a large dose of micronutrients, however they also contain the single most important nutrient for your body: glucose.

Glucose may sound like a bad thing, but any nutrition guru can tell you that glucose is the most widely used fuel in the human body.  Every tissue runs on glucose for energy.  Your brain is the most important consumer of glucose in your body, and runs on glucose for 99% of your waking life.

Think of glucose as a bead on a necklace, and carbohydrates as the necklace itself.  Fruit contains a high content of carbohydrate energy in which the glucose molecules are connected to each other via a series of bonds that require separation.  This process of digestion takes place in your mouth and intestine.

The result is that within 15 minutes after the consumption of fruit, glucose is available in the bloodstream.  The glucose is then distributed to tissues in your body that need it.  Again, the brain is the largest consumer, followed by muscle tissue.

Many people avoid fruit because it’s high in “sugar.”  Please do not use the word sugar in place of glucose.  “Sugar” is what you buy in the grocery store.  It is white and granular.  Glucose is the breakdown product of carbohydrate energy, and is absolutely essential for an active lifestyle and disease protection.

People who avoid fruits because they are high in “sugar” fail to understand that the glucose in fruits is required by all tissues in your body for energy.  What this means is that restricting fruit intake is synonymous with restricting carbohydrate intake, which may lead to a host of long term health complications which I’ll write about in more detail at a later date.

More importantly, fruits come packaged with a host of antioxidants and fiber.

Dr. Oz Talks About the Power of Fruit

Michael Pollan’s Rules for Healthy Eating

Dr. Graham on the Benefits of Fruit

For now, eat fruit to your heart’s delight.  Fruit will not make you fat.  Ever.

5. Leafy Green Stuff

Leafy greens are probably the most powerful disease fighting food that scientists have ever studied.  The color in leafy green vegetables (which is sometimes yellow, red, orange, and purple) are compounds called antioxidants which the plant uses to protect itself against sun exposure.

The benefit to humans is that when we eat leafy vegetables, those antioxidants then help protect our bodies against free radicals, compounds that deteriorate tissue function at the cellular level.

The best part here is that you can consume leafy greens in unlimited quantities.  Leafy greens are considered the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, are are the best predictors of extreme longevity in humans.  Numerous studies have shown that leafy greens protect against the development of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and aging.  No, aging is not a disease, but eating leafy greens can slow the process down.

Much like vegetables, leafy greens are high in volume, and low in calories, which means that you can eat them until you pass out and not be at risk for the overconsumption of calories.

For superior health, aim to eat 1 head of leafy greens per day.  It doesn’t matter what variety it is – kale, collard greens, lettuce, arugula, chard, spinach, cabbge etc.  Just eat it.  Your body will love you for it.

Click on the following links for more information about leafy greens.

Web MD Lists Healthy Leafy Greens

Care2 – 8 Healthiest Greens

Dr. Fuhrman on Greens and More

Happy eating!

 

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Photo credit: epSos.de / Foter.com / CC BY

 

About The Author

Cyrus Khambatta

Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 22, I have spent over a decade learning the fundamentals of nutrition at the doctorate level. My goal is to share my knowledge of practical nutrition and fitness with people with prediabetes, type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is an OPPORTUNITY to attain excellent health. Reversing the effects of insulin resistance can be a fun and enjoyable process if the right system is in place. That's why I've spent over 10 years developing a rock solid system that can minimize blood glucose variability and insulin resistance.

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