4 Must-Have Foods to Include in Your Diet this Year

A new year has begun and with resolutions in high gear, many people are looking to improve their overall health. Of all the recommended strategies for fighting disease and promoting vitality, few are as critical and profound as the practice of healthy eating.

In general, it is best to follow a whole foods diet that is rich in organic fruits and vegetables. Here are four common power-foods that I recommend for health, vitality and well being.

Fish

Certain types of oily fish help to reduce inflammation in the body that can lead to heart problems. Fish is also rich in vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, which benefit brain and heart function. Some types of fish such as shark, swordfish and mackerel may have higher levels of mercury, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), dioxins, and other environmental contaminants. It is best to stick to types that are low in mercury such as wild salmon, pollock and sardines.

Nuts and Seeds

Research shows that people who eat certain types of nuts regularly have a lower risk of developing heart disease. Varieties such as walnuts, almonds and Brazil nuts are some of the best plant sources of protein and contain high amounts of fiber, phytonutrients and antioxidants such as vitamin E and selenium. In addition to nuts, seeds such as flax seeds and sunflower seeds provide some of the same heart health benefits. Pumpkin seeds are also natural sources of carbohydrates, amino acids and unsaturated fatty acids, and contain zinc, calcium, potassium, and phosphorous which make them beneficial for prostate and bladder health.

Ginger

Ginger is a beneficial root for improving digestion and reducing inflammation. It has long been used as a natural treatment for colds and the flu as well as stomach flus or food poisoning, given the positive effects ginger has on the digestive tract. In addition, studies have shown that ginger powder may induce cell death in ovarian cancer cells. Ginger is also shown to be a powerful painkiller and can be used to relieve heartburn and migraines.

Mushrooms

Many medicinal mushrooms are rich in beta-glucans, which are soluble polysaccharides that help to boost immunity, lower bad LDL cholesterol and regulate blood sugar levels. These beneficial substances have also been shown to enhance macrophage activity, which is essential for warding off infection. In addition to medicinal mushrooms such as shiitake or reishi mushrooms, standard culinary types such white button mushrooms contain substances that inhibit the activity of aromatase (an enzyme involved in estrogen production) and 5-alpha-reductase (an enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT).

Healthy eating can easily be an enjoyable part of your lifestyle. You can learn how to overcome junk food addiction and beat your sugar cravings naturally. As you continue your dedication to wholesome choices for yourself on every level, you will be rewarded with radiant health and a certain inner tranquility that arises from being truly nourished and fulfilled.

 

By Dr. Isaac Eliaz on 02/09/2011

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