What are the healthiest foods to eat?

With a little research on the internet or finding a healthy cookbook, you can change the way you eat and what you serve your family.

I got a lot of requests from the community to share my favorite healthy foods. It was hard to narrow down to just a few as there are so many, but space only allows me to cover the following.

Avacados helps in the production of collagen in the body, is packed with vitamins and healthy fats and is great for our skin, bones, muscles, heart, brain and liver. Use it in a salad, a guacamole, add it to a smoothie, mash it on toast (with cream cheese and tomato). I’m making a delicious lime pie with avocados.

Berries are an amazing source of antioxidants, full of vitamins, are anti-aging, help memory and heart function, support circulation and even help regulate mood. I use organic cherry and organic blueberry in my elixirs (turmeric-ginger) and I always add it to my morning smoothie. Add to salads, yogurt, cereal or eaten in handfuls. My favorites are raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries. Strawberries are also full of fiber and help balance female hormones. Pomegranate juice is also an amazing antioxidant.

Seeds: Flax, hemp, chia and sunflower are my favorites and are all fantastic for our health – full of essential omega 3s which are essential for heart health, brain health, digestion… Flax is great for premenstrual or menopausal symptoms in women and prostate problems in men. All of these seeds can be added to smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, cereal, pastries or bread. However, flax loses its health benefits when cooked, so the oil or seed is best used raw or in salad dressings. Buy the whole flaxseed and grind yourself (with a dedicated coffee grinder), putting a bag of ground flax in the freezer when you need it. Pre-ground flax contains less omegas.

Nuts: Not all nuts are created equal. Unfortunately, many are allergic to peanuts (which are often rancid anyway), so they should generally be avoided. But nuts are great brain food and a natural sedative, so a handful at night is good for you. Almonds are great for women’s health and bone building and pumpkin seeds can be added to any salad.

olives are one of the healthiest fats (along with avocados) and highly beneficial for heart health, skin elasticity, bone strength, and brain clarity. My favorites are the real Kalamata olives (not canned), which are excellent in a Greek salad (or any salad), in any dough, on a pizza, as a condiment on your plate…

Rooibos tea and green tea lower LDL (cholesterol) and increase healthy HDL levels. If you drink green tea, limit it to daytime consumption because of the caffeine. Rooibos is caffeine free and tastes wonderful. Where green tea can be slightly bitter, Rooibos tea has a nutty flavor.

Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants but should have very little sugar. If you can handle 80-90% cocoa, you’ll get the most out of it.

Cinnamon is an amazing spice that helps regulate blood sugar, and nowadays everyone seems to have blood sugar issues. Add cinnamon as much as you can. I love it in my oatmeal and applesauce.

Cabbage are very high in protein and an absolute superfood. I love sunflower spouts the most and add them to salads, everything I cook, and even put them in my (undetectable) smoothie.

spinach and kale are two of the most nutritious leafy greens containing many essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, folate, iron, calcium, fiber and protein (surprisingly). They have anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties.

fermented foods help the digestive system and support the probiotic bacteria that line our digestive tract. They include sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and kombucha. There are great recipes for homemade versions that are best because they haven’t been processed or pasteurized.

Mushrooms are amazing for longevity and brain health. I make an amazing homemade cream of mushroom soup that is to die for and very low in calories. But fancy mushrooms are expensive.

Raw onions and fresh garlic have amazing benefits for immunity and preventing/fighting viral and bacterial infections. Red onions always end up in my salads and garlic in my vinaigrette. They have the added benefit of warding off vampires and unwanted suitors.

As always I ran out of space but there are many more foods so beneficial to our health and I feel bad that I can only name a few. With a little research on the internet or finding a healthy cookbook, you can change the way you eat and what you serve your family. Eating healthy does so much good in our body.

To your continued health.

Claire Nielsen is a health coach, author, speaker and founder of www.elixirforlife.ca

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