While most plants are generally healthy, some deserve honorable mentions. There are yummy fruits, veggies, and nuts out there which are superstars thanks to their great health-promoting properties – and we’ve listed 10 of the best ones to include in your diet:
1. Orange-coloured fruits and veggies for good vision and dewy skin
Orange-coloured vegetables and fruits – namely carrots, sweet potatoes, mangoes and certain melons – are all high in beta carotene. Many people don’t get enough beta carotene, which is vital for our bodies’ production of vitamin A – the nutrient behind maintaining good vision and healthy skin.
2. Walnuts for a lower risk in heart disease and stroke
The walnut is a tasty nut that’s high in protein, iron, zinc and omega-3 essential fatty acids. These omega-3s have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, while also helping with hypertension and depression. Try adding them to cereal and oatmeal for a nutrient-packed breakfast.
3. Dark green leafy veggies for strong healthy bones
Our bodies need calcium, but they don’t need the allergens, hormones and health problems that come with eating dairy products. Dark-green leafy vegetables – such as broccoli, spinach, and mustard greens (sawi) – are tasty, healthy foods that have plenty of highly absorbable calcium. Plus, these greens are high in potassium, vitamin K and magnesium – which are also good for bone health. Other good sources of calcium include ladies fingers, soya milk, and mung beans.
4. Beans for shedding the pounds
A hearty staple for millions of health-conscious diners, beans are packed with protein and are good sources of iron and zinc. They’re also high in fibre and antioxidants which helps with weight-loss and disease prevention.Try sprinkling black beans, beans, garbanzo beans or kidney beans straight from the can on salads for some added protein and flavour, or try them in stir-fries and curries.
5. Avocados for glowing skin, silky hair and a healthy heart
Saturated animal fats clog people’s arteries and can lead to heart disease, but research shows that the fats found in many plant foods are good for our health. Such healthy fats are in avocado slices – which are a delicious addition to virtually any sandwich or salad. Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats, which is important for keeping your skin and hair looking healthy may reduce your risk of developing heart disease. They are also high in potassium, vitamin K, vitamin E and folate.
6. Oatmeal for lower cholesterol
If you’re concerned about your cholesterol levels, eating a cup of cooked oatmeal every day can help. Oatmeal can lower your cholesterol by up to 20%! Oatmeal is also a good source of healthy plant protein and is high in other important nutrients. Raisins, bananas, dried fruits and almonds are tasty, healthy additions to a warm, hearty bowl of oatmeal in the morning.
7. Lentils for fighting heart disease
Like beans, lentils are members of the legume family. They are loaded with protein and fibre as well as folate, magnesium and some B vitamins, all of which may help fight heart disease. Lentils are savoury and flavourful, and they’re perfect in a wide variety of soups, stews and main course dishes.
8. Soya for reduced risk of cancer
Researchers have linked the consumption of soya with a reduced risk of developing some types of cancer as well as improvements in heart health. Soya is also packed with healthy plant protein. Soya is often used in mock meats to imitate the taste and texture of the real thing. Of course, there’s also tofu – a versatile, healthy classic that takes on the flavour of whatever it’s cooked with.
9. Local veggies (ie: kangkung) for lowering high blood sugar
Your local market is sure to with a plethora of local produce that’s both delicious and good for you! Perennial favourites such as bitter melons are great for digestion and have even been known to lower high blood sugar levels. Delicious kangkung contains important nutrients, such as iron and dietary fibre which aids in digestion and the production of red blood cells.
10. Red tomatoes for reduced risk of prostate cancer
Hate them or like them, tomatoes are great for you. Besides giving you a boost of vitamin A, vitamin C and fibre, tomatoes also contain lycopene, an antioxidant. A number of studies have linked increased consumption of lycopene with a major reduction in prostate cancer and lower stroke risk .
Do you have any great ways of preparing these superfoods? Share them with us!