Most people would like to experience optimal health & fitness at some point in their life. However, what with the overload of information these days, it can become confusing as to what foods actually drive you closer to achieving this state & what foods carry you further away from it.
Over the course of 20 blogs I am going to help you examine 100 of the best health foods that you can pack into your pantry & fridge to help you reach & remain at optimal health.
Below are the first 5 of 100 foods that are packed full of nutrition & a bit more information about each.
There are lots of healthy foods to choose from but the real trick to optimal health & fitness is:
- When is the optimal time to consume the food &
- How much should you consume for optimal results.
For instance, grapes hold many healthy benefits but if you eat your weight in grapes in one day there is no doubt that you have taken on too much carbohydrate & you will tip your system out of balance carrying you away from your optimal state.
I will cover these points in later articles, for now I’ll run you through the selection of foods that you should choose on a regular basis…
Carbohydrates: 16 g
Fibre: 2.4 g
Sugar: 10 g
Vitamin C: 5 mg
Potassium: 123 mg
- Apples provide high levels of flavonoid quercetin which is good for your heart & lungs. Flavonoids also have cancer fighting elements & anti-inflammatory properties.
- Apples are an ideal snack as they are low on the glycemic index (GI).
- The fibre in apples are rich in pectin which can help to reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol.
- Apples provide a good source of potassium which can help reduce fluid retention.
- Research has found that the quercetin in apples can protect against Alzheimer’s disease.
Keep your apples out of the light. Hot temperatures cause apples to quickly lose their vitamin C content. Instead, keep them in a cool, dark cupboard or in a plastic bag with air holes in the refrigerator.
Nutrition per 100 grams:
Fat: 15 g
Protein: 2 g
Carbohydrates: 9 g
Fibre: 7 g
Vitamin C: 9 mg
Potassium: 728 mg
Vitamin E: 3 mg
- Avocados are a rich source of monounsaturated fats which are good for heart health & lowering cholesterol.
- High vitamin E content is great for the immune system, skin & helps prevent heart disease.
- Avocados are a great source of magnesium which helps all smooth muscle contraction including your heart.
- They contain lutein which helps protect the eyes from cataracts & macular degeneration.
Avocados are ready to eat when their skin yields slightly when pressed. Choose avocados free of blemishes or soft spots which indicate bruising.
Nutrition per 100 g:
- Calories: 70
- Fat: Trace
- Protein: 7 g
- Carbohydrates: 18 g
- Fibre: 9 g
- Sugar: 16 g
- Vitamin C: 8 mg
- Potassium: 191 mg
- Grapes are packed full of polyphenols which help to improve circulation, protect heart health & lower cholesterol.
- Polyphenols also have antifungal properties, help to prevent cancer & help with cardiovascular health.
- Provide a good source of Vitamin C.
- Contain quercetin which helps provide anticlotting properties.
- Grapes are used to help cure asthma indigestion, migraine, kidnеy disease & fatigue…. & make wine!
- Grapes help minimise the risk of heart attacks because they increase the levels of nitric acid in the blood which prevents blood clots.
- Slightly higher on the GI Index to apples you should eat grapes in moderation if your body fat is higher than ideal.
- Grapes are botanically classed as berries.
- On average one acre of grapes can produce around 15,000 glasses of wine.
Figs are high in calories & high GI so best eaten in moderation but they are packed full of nutrition.
Nutrition Dried Figs per 100 g:
Protein: 0.8 g
Carbohydrates: 19 g
Fibre: 7 g
Sugar: 16 g
Vitamin C: 1.3 mg
Potassium: 148 mg
Beta-Carotene: 54 mcg
Calcium: 22 mg
Magnesium: 11 mg
- Figs contain sterols which help to lower cholesterol.
- They are a good source of potassium, iron & calcium.
- Figs are a good source of vitamin B6.
- Figs are usually available dried as fresh figs are easily damaged & have a very short shelf life.
- Fig trees have no blossoms on their branches. The blossom is inside of the fruit.
Dried Apricot Nutrition per 100 g:
Protein: 1.2 g
Carbohydrates: 10.8 g
Fibre: 1.9 g
Sugar: 9 g
Vitamin C: Trace
Potassium: 414 mg
Beta-Carotene: 163 mcg
Iron: 1 mg
- Apricots contain vitamin C, folate, potassium & vitamin E.
- Apricots contain high levels of beta-carotene – an antioxidant which helps to prevent certain cancers.
- They are a good source of leutin & zeaxanthin which promiotes eye helath.
- They are a good source of cryptoxanthin which may help to maintain bone health.
- They are high in soluble fibre which helps to maintain a healthy bowel.
- Fresh apricots need to be fully ripe in order to maximise their carotene content.
- Cooking fresh apricots helps the carotene & soluble fibre to be better absorbed by the body.
If you haven’t had these foods in your fridge or pantry recently, be sure to grab them next time you’re at the market.
As always – look for organic options, eat fruit as a snack between meals & watch your portion sizes.
Now, be on the lookout for the next installment of 100 Best Health Foods!
To Your Best Health,
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