There are a few dietary changes you can make on a weekly basis that can greatly increase your health. Not only can these changes boost your nutrient intake, but they can also protect you against environmental toxins by increasing your antioxidant levels. Even better, many of these foods are budget-friendly.
Kale is a highly nutritious dark leafy green that can be used raw or cooked in a variety of ways. You can dry kale into chips, sauté it with mushrooms as a great side dish, or chop it fine into a salad. One of the things that people dislike about kale is that it can be fibrous. If you’re using it raw, consider chopping it in a food processor to make sure you break it down enough that it’s not too chewy. One serving of kale provides a wide variety of nutrients, including Vitamins C and A, iron, calcium, folate, and magnesium. If you’ve given kale a try and just can’t learn to like it, try spinach as a raw option or try cooking swiss chard or collard greens in place of kale.
Fresh blueberries are a treat as a snack or incorporated into fruit salads, as a cereal topping, or in baked goods. Try to use or refrigerate them soon after bringing them home from the market as they can lose their flavor quickly. Make sure to rinse them well and check each berry for stems. Let them dry on a paper towel before putting them in the refrigerator to make sure they aren’t at risk of mold. Don’t limit yourself to blueberries, either. Strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. According to ASEA, other berries contain a large number of antioxidants, too.
Eggs are a terrific and low-cost source of protein, Vitamins A & B, and iron. While it’s true they are high in cholesterol, you can use eggs as a replacement for high-fat meat products and actually increase your intake of HDL or “good” cholesterol. If you struggle to find time to cook healthy foods, check out some make-ahead recipes that feature eggs. With these dishes in your refrigerator, breakfast can be both healthy and quick.
The Mediterranean Diet is considered one of the healthiest diets in the world, and olive oil is a huge part of it. According to the California Olive Ranch, different grades of olive oil are best for different purposes. For example, extra virgin olive oil is a great option for salad dressings but may not be the best for frying as it has a low burn point and cooking at a high temperature may be carcinogenic. Check the color of your olive oil. The darker the oil, the lower the burning point, so try to stock a few different grades for different uses. This versatile oil can help reduce inflammation and lower your risk of developing diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
Every time you pick up a fork, you have the chance to improve your health. Find ways to incorporate these superfoods into your diet to improve your chances of a long, healthy life.
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