Food is something that we cannot do away with. But grabbing anything or everything that you can lay your hands on is not recommended. Foods should make you happy and be soul-satisfying. It should not lead to health complications. Being watchful about what you eat is a great way of keeping yourself healthy. There are different types of food that, when consumed every day, can keep you healthy and fit.
Foods that are delicious and tickle your palate may not be nutritious enough. These foods, however, are not forbidden but have to be had in moderation. If you are a foodie who has turned diet-conscious, then it will be difficult for you to refrain from some of your all-time favourite foods that are calorie-rich with too many additives.
Revamping your whole diet and feeling deprived is not the mantra to stay healthy and fit. Instead, you can tweak your diet a bit to make it nutrient-dense without feeling deprived of your favourite foods. The formula would be a combination of healthy foods to eat every day, foods that you can include occasionally and those you should have rarely or in moderation. Here is a list that will give you an insight into the combination of everyday, occasionally, and rarely eaten types of food.
Types of Food That You Should Eat Everyday
Derive the benefits of healthy food with a diet plan that consists of nutrient-dense foods and can be safely consumed every day. Lean protein, fruits and vegetables are mandatory everyday consumption to stay healthy. Including nuts and seeds can keep some chronic health issues at bay. Given below are types of food considered nutritious and a must-have in your diet.
1. Lean Protein
Nutritious foods in your diet is a key to robust health. Of them, protein-rich foods are required for healthy growth and development as well as muscle mass maintenance.
The inclusion of protein-rich food at every meal helps in controlling blood sugar levels and prevents the spike in the sugar level that happens when only carbohydrates are consumed. This is a great way to keep up concentration and energy levels.
The recommended daily intake of protein depends on the age, gender, and weight of an individual. It also depends on the kind of activity a person is involved in. It also varies if you are a nursing or expecting mother.
Just consuming enough protein is not adequate. You should be choosing leaner varieties of poultry and meat. Besides, incorporate different varieties of protein foods and minimise the consumption of meat.
The estimated requirement of protein according to USDA is 140 grams to 196 grams and has to be sourced from different varieties of protein-rich foods. Some of the recommended healthy foods list that is protein-rich are given below:
- 1 egg-28 grams
- 1 salmon steak-112 to 168 grams
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter-28 grams
- 1 small chicken breast-84 grams
- 1 cup lentil soup-56 grams
- 1 bean or soy burger patty-56 grams
- ¼ cup of tofu-58 grams
The protein source should be diverse to get all the essential amino acids and other essential nutrients.
2. Vegetables in Different Colours
Vegetables, especially, different coloured vegetables are considered one of the most healthy types of food owing to the phytonutrients in them which are beneficial plant compounds.
Health experts recommend plant-based or Mediterranean diets which emphasise vegetables and can help lower the risk of chronic medical conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Adults should consume about 2 to 4 cups of vegetables per day. This intake depends on the gender, age, activity level, and weight of the individual. Consuming plant foods with varied colours like beans, lentils, and leafy greens are recommended to derive the benefits of healthy foods.
3. Cruciferous Vegetables
Glucosinolates are sulphurous compounds found in cruciferous vegetables. These are good for your health. Glucosinolates possess anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects. Metabolic syndrome can be prevented as well as treated by the beneficial compounds in these vegetables. Some of the cruciferous vegetables that are worth a try are:
- Sprouted broccoli
- Brussels Sprouts
If you need to add healthy foods that are rich in fibre and essential minerals and vitamins besides sulphurous compounds, then cruciferous vegetables it is. Arugula and watercress also contain sulphurous compounds.
Studies have shown that around 5 servings of nuts in a week minimises the risk of cardiovascular and coronary heart disease and the mortality rate in adults. Nuts contain minerals like zinc, magnesium, calcium, and zinc. Brazil nuts however are the best sources of selenium. Eating nuts will lead to weight gain is a myth. You can derive benefits of healthy foods by including plain and unsalted diets in your food.
The daily recommended intake of nutrients can be met by including berries in your everyday diet. A serving of 100 grams of r blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries can provide 50% of the daily value of vitamin C, folate, and manganese, as well as phytochemicals. Berries have flavonoids, anthocyanins, and phenolic acid, the bioactive compounds, in abundance. These compounds minimise the risk of some cancers and cardiovascular diseases.
Raspberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries are some of the berries that provide immense health benefits and are recommended for daily consumption. Fresh berries are a better option than dried berries to derive more phytonutrients.
6. Olive Oil
Olives are abundant in polyphenols, and olive oil is one of the main ingredients in the Mediterranean diet. Polyphenols protect your body against oxidative damage. Olive oil also has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. The highest beneficial polyphenols are available in extra virgin and unfiltered oil.
The Occasional Foods in Your Diet
There are some types of foods that might be your favourite but do not find a place in the healthy foods list. These foods contain additives like salt, sugar, or alcohol and are high in saturated fats. They are also low in essential nutrients like fibre. These foods and beverages can also be high in calories [kilojoules] i.e., energy and too much of these may result in weight gain.
However, you can include these foods in your diet sometimes so that you do not feel deprived. The list of such foods is given below:
- Processed fatty, salty sausages, pies and savoury pastries, and meats with a high salt or fat content
- Hot chips, pizza, and hamburgers
- Desserts, pastries, cakes, and sweet biscuits.
- Alcoholic drinks
- Ice confections and ice creams
- Fried foods
- Fatty and salty snacks like potato chips, savoury biscuits and crisps
- Sports and energy drinks with sugar additives
Types of Foods to be Consumed Rarely or Avoided
Some types of foods and beverages that add empty calories and totally deprive you of the essential vitamins and nutrients should be consumed rarely or even better if avoided. Some of these foods are mentioned below.
- Diet Soda: is harmful as it contains artificial sweeteners
- Vegetable shortenings: contain artificial fats like hydrogenated oils
- Tilefish: are high in mercury and can cause even cause food poisoning when consumed in high quantities
- White flour-based cereals: are high in refined carbohydrates
- Non-organic strawberries: will be contaminated with pesticides
- Juice cocktail: has sugar additives and will up empty calories
- Pre-made dough: This is only a convenience factor, otherwise, premade doughs are high in trans fat and may prove harmful to your health in the long run.
There’s no denying the effectiveness of a nutritious diet in preventing and sometimes even treating diet-related chronic diseases. Substituting types of foods that are nutritious for processed and ultra-processed foods is one way of eating healthy. But then, if you are fond of junk food you may feel deprived by eliminating it entirely from your diet. You may end up bingeing on unhealthy foods if you are totally deprived of them. Foods belong to three segments. Types of food to be eaten regularly, food to be consumed occasionally, and foods to be rarely eaten. Try the combination of eating healthy without feeling deprived of your favourite food.