Eating well to live a long and healthy life is a mantra we all know. But what are the best foods to help us achieve this goal? Here’s a look at some of the healthiest and most nutritious foods.
What are the best foods for a healthy diet?
Official figures indicate that currently the three countries in the world with the highest life expectancy are the Principality of Monaco, Japan and Singapore. These are places where residents enjoy a high quality of life, an important component of which is healthy eating. are considered food superheroes.
Nutritionists dismiss the term ‘super foods’ as a buzzword that can cause people to place too high expectations on a limited range of foods when in reality, a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle requires more effort than eating your five foods a day. Yet some foods are more nutritious than others, and many of them, research has shown, are protective against a range of diseases. Here we give you an overview of some of the best foods you could consider including in your diet in your pursuit of a happy and healthy life.
1 Edamame (soybeans)
Edamame, or fresh soybeans, have been a staple of Asian cuisine for generations, but they’ve also been gaining popularity in the West lately. Soybeans are found in a diverse range of dishes, soups, although they are also served cooked and seasoned on their own. Edamame and tofu are rich in isoflavones, which may have anti-cancer properties.
These beans are rich in isoflavones, a type of phytoestrogen, that is, substances derived from plants, similar to estrogen. Isoflavones are known to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer, and antimicrobial properties. Thus, they can help regulate the body’s inflammatory response, slow cell agingTrusted Source, fight germs, as well as, it seems, protect against certain types of cancer.
2 Tofu (soy curd)
Similarly, tofu, a white, cheese-like product made from soybean curds, has been linked to many health benefits for the same reasons. Tofu is often cooked in typical Southeast Asian dishes. It can be fried, baked or boiled (for example, in soups).
As a soy product, it is rich in isoflavones, the health benefits of which we highlighted above. It is also a good source of protein, and it contains all the essential amino acids our body needs to synthesize protein.,In addition, it is also rich in minerals, which our body needs to maintain strong teeth and teeth. strong, healthy bones, and for energy. Tofu is a source of calcium, iron, manganese, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc and copper.
This common culinary ingredient, best known in its orange variety, is recommended for its high content of beta-carotene, a pigment that gives the popular version of this root vegetable its color. Carrots may protect against age-related eye damage. Beta-carotene can be transformed by our body into vitamin A which is involved in immune function, vision, reproduction and cellular communication. Our bodies cannot produce vitamin A on their own, so it must come from our diet. This pigment is also an antioxidant that can protect our body cells from aging damage caused by free radicals.
Additionally, research has shown that foods high in carotenoids may protect against age-related macular degeneration, which is the damage to vision caused by old age. Some varieties of carrots, like white carrots, don’t contain the orange pigment beta-carotene, but they all contain falcarinol, a nutrient that some studies have shown may have a protective effect against cancer.
While raw carrots are the healthiest because they retain their nutrients, there are also ways to cook them that keep most of their nutrients “locked in.” Chopping carrots increases their surface area, so more of the nutrients escape into the water during cooking. By keeping them whole and then cutting them up, you retain the nutrients and taste, so the carrot is better for you.
4 Cruciferous vegetables
Another important food type on our list are cruciferous vegetables which include a wide range of green foods, such as cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, bok choy, radish and kale.
Cruciferous vegetables can provide a host of health benefits. These vegetables boast a particularly rich nutrient content, including numerous vitamins (C, E, K and folate), minerals (potassium, calcium and selenium) and carotenoids (lutein, beta-carotene and zeaxanthin). Cruciferous vegetables also contain glucosinolates, the substances that give these vegetables their characteristic pungent flavor. These substances have been shown to have beneficial health effects.
Some glucosinolates appear to regulate the body’s response to stress and inflammation, they have antimicrobial properties, and some of them are being studied for their anti-cancer potential. Kale, broccoli and cabbage have also been shown to have a protective effect on heart health, thanks to their vitamin K content. Finally, cruciferous vegetables are also an excellent source of soluble fiber, which plays a role in the regulation of blood sugar and decrease the absorption of fats, thus helping to prevent excessive weight gain.
Recent studies have suggested that eating meat, primarily red meat, but also some types of poultry meat, may be harmful to our long-term health. A good alternative for protein in this case is fish, and salmon, in particular, offers many nutritional benefits.
Salmon may protect cognitive health, researchers say. Salmon is packed with protein, and also contains plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, which are said to be good for eyesight. Research has shown that omega-3s protect against dry eye syndrome, characterized by insufficient eye lubrication, which can lead to pain and blurred vision. Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to brain health, and research suggests they may prevent cognitive decline associated with aging.
Salmon also has a high potassium content and potassium can prevent the onset of heart disease. Also, this type of fish is rich in the mineral selenium, which contributes to the health of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland helps regulate hormonal activity and participates in metabolic processes.
6 Citrus fruits
Finally, citrus fruits are the unsung heroes of a healthy diet. They include a number of fruits now available worldwide, such as oranges, grapefruits, lemons, clementines and tangerines.
The flavonoids in citrus fruits have been cited in connection with extending lifespan. Citrus fruits have long been recommended by nutritionists and grandmothers for their high content of vitamin C, which has antioxidant properties, and which is said to provide a wide range of health benefits, including reducing inflammatory damage, and for ward off infections. Experts point out, however, that this type of fruit goes far beyond just vitamin C when it comes to nutritional content. Fruit is abundant in other macronutrients, including sugars, dietary fiber, potassium, folate, calcium, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B-6, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, riboflavin and pantothenic acid.
If this list of dietary benefits didn’t impress you, the experts then explain how citrus fruits contain even more organic compounds, such as flavonoids, coumarins and carotenoids, which are believed to have protective effects against cancer, cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative diseases.
Research has shown that flavonoids, which citrus fruits are particularly rich in, can “prevent or delay chronic diseases caused by obesity.
People in Japan’s Okinawa prefecture, known to be among the longest-lived populations in the world, regularly eat shikuwasa, also known as ‘shequasar’, a citrus fruit typical of the region, which contains more flavonoids than most. other citrus fruits. Drinking flavonoid-rich shikuwasa juice has also been linked to better liver health.
While all of the foods mentioned above are valued for their significant health benefits, it should be remembered that well-being and longevity cannot be achieved without a balanced, inclusive diet and a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, current studies suggest that our genetic make-up may have an important role to play in deciding which foods are most beneficial to our health. So, with our list of nutritious foods in mind, be sure to follow the most effective diet for you!