Fast food and frozen dinners have become a large part of the modern diet, mostly because of convenience. Poor food choices that include sugary drinks and greasy snacks contribute to the high incidence of obesity, particularly when combined with a sedentary life style.
Eating small portions will help you maintain a healthy weight, but when you eat less your diet must include all the essential vitamins and minerals for proper nutrition. Here are six foods that eaten every week can help you to stay healthy.
1. Nonfat yogurt is source of protein and calcium as well as probiotic bacteria that keep disease-causing bacteria from getting established in the digestive system.
2. Sardines contain protein and essential minerals, but they are also a source of omega-3 fatty acids which are essential for the health of the brain and the eyes. These long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids are particularly important nutrients during pregnancy and early childhood. Unlike larger long-lived fish like tuna and swordfish, sardines have a lower content of heavy metals like mercury because they are lower in the food chain.
3. Oatmeal is a source of soluble fiber that lowers cholesterol and promotes regularity. Fiber is not a nutrient, but it helps to attenuate blood glucose spikes by reducing the absorption in the intestines. In addition, fiber promotes growth of intestinal bacteria that produce short-chain fatty acids and Vitamin K.
4. Salad greens contain a wide variety of vitamins, phytonutrients and fiber. Leafy greens contain Vitamin E, Vitamin C, beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein-zeaxanthin and many other chemical compounds essential for good health.
5. Berries are a good source of anthocyanin antioxidants and vitamins.
6. Nuts contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as well as protein and fiber. Nuts are generally high in calories due to their oil content, but these are good fats. If you eat peanut butter or other nut butters, make sure that they do not contain hydrogenated oils or saturated fats like coconut oil or palm oil because these increase cholesterol levels. Read the labels.
These six nutritious foods can be combined into delicious meals. A bowl of oatmeal can be garnished with berries and nuts topped with a spoonful of yogurt. Sardines served on a bed of mixed salad greens will also make an excellent meal.