A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is a gift to your body that keeps giving back. They are packed full of nutrients and are low in calories, making them the perfect foods to boost your overall health. But not all fruits and vegetables are ranked the same as some are more nutrient-dense than others. If you are looking to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet for naturally healthy living, you can start with the very best of the bunch. In no particular order, they include:
Bananas are more than just a smoothie staple! This wholesome and tasty fruit is loaded with fiber and potassium. A medium-sized banana serves about 420 mg of potassium, which exceeds the potassium content of most fruits. Fiber is a good remedy for constipation and it aids weight loss while potassium is a solid heart food that aids the contraction of the heart muscles.
Aside from being pretty on the outside, tomatoes are yummy on the inside too. They contain a chemical called lycopene which boasts strong antioxidant properties that form a protective shield against cancer and other diseases. The beauty of this vegetable is that it retains its lycopene content when cooked. Unlike most vegetables, cooking boosts the nutritive (lycopene) content in tomatoes.
Blueberries are rich in antioxidants and are sweet on the tongue. Antioxidants, reputedly protect the body cells against oxidative stress that is caused by the accumulation of free radicals in the body. Free radicals develop from natural body processes like food metabolism and extrinsic factors like sunlight and pollution. This means, they aren’t something that can be “intentionally” avoided, so eating an antioxidant-rich fruit like blueberries helps keep them under control.
If there is any fruit or food that contains an insane amount of healthy fats, it has to be avocado. The beautiful green fruit is replete with omega-3 fatty acids which improve heart health. Healthy fats are also vital to the body to help the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E, and K.
Kale is home to many health-boosting nutrients like vitamins A, K, and C which is vital to heart, skin, immune system, and eye health. It is also loaded with minerals like potassium, calcium, copper, and manganese.
6. Citrus Fruits
Sweet and tangy, citrus fruits add an appetizing flavor to any meal. But beyond that, they are packed full of vitamin C, flavonoids, and fiber. They contain a voluminous amount of vitamin C which is an antioxidant that is noted for improving immune function.
Spinach is easily the king of leafy vegetables as it is a crowd-pleaser. It is rich in potassium and magnesium, two essential minerals that regulate blood pressure and electrolyte balance. It is also a good source of vitamins A, K, and folate.
8. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a good source of beta carotene, a variant of vitamin A that improves eye health. It prevents dry eyes and aids night vision. They are also loaded with vitamins B5 and B6. Vitamin B5 aids fat synthesis while B6 promotes natal brain development, metabolism, and immune system function.
Carrots are one of the best sources of vitamin A and beta carotene which promotes vision. Scientists also suggest that the Vitamin A in carrots can minimize one’s risk of diabetes. They also contain fiber, calcium, and vitamin K. Their fiber content can regulate blood sugar levels while Vitamin K and calcium strengthens the bones.
A savory meal staple, garlic adds a burst of flavor to meals and boosts health. A majority of its health benefits are attributed to its sulfur content that is formed when a clove of garlic is chopped, crushed, or chewed. It can provide relief for the common cold, reduces blood pressure, and lowers the risk of heart disease amongst several other benefits.