7 foods you should eat every day
When it comes to diet, there are a lot of don’ts—don’t eat this, don’t cook that. It’s exhausting trying to keep up with all the foods you shouldn’t eat. Plus, focusing on forbidden foods can hold you back in a couple of ways. Because this kind of mindset is not sustainable, you're setting yourself up to fail at your new eating approach. You could also be missing out on essential nutrients if you’re not actively trying to include a variety of foods at every meal. Instead of blacklisting all the bad stuff, here’s a list of foods you should include every day.
--By Tiffany Gagnon
This is where you can indulge your inner carnivore. Lean sources of protein may help speed up your metabolism and encourage your body to burn more fat. “Turkey, chicken breast, pork and beef (select or choice grades with fat trimmed off, like ground roast, ground, sirloin, tenderloin, etc.) provide muscle-building protein without contributing too much saturated fat,” says Tanya Zuckerbrot, M.S., R.D.
“This condiment should be a staple in the male diet," says Zuckerbrot. "According to a Harvard study, men who ate tomato sauce two to four times a week had a 35 percent lower risk of prostate cancer." Enjoy the sauce over whole-wheat pasta, on whole grain pizza crust, over steamed veggies or with eggs.
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Veggies are at the top of the list when it comes to daily fuel. They are low in calories and high in fiber and essential nutrients. Need some suggestions? “Cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale and bok choy are all part of the cruciferous vegetable group and research shows that these veggies may help protect against cancer by reducing oxidative stress and stimulating enzymes in the body that fight carcinogens," says Zuckerbrot. "A study analyzing the diets of men showed that those who ate five or more servings of these veggies per week were 50 percent less likely to develop bladder cancer, which affects two to three times as many men as women.”
Sometimes you may be so focused on getting in your veggies, proteins and complex carbs for the day that you forget about these guys. But berries are important when it comes to eating a balanced diet. They are an incredibly potent source of antioxidants, which help fight free radicals, slow down aging and reduce your cancer risk. “Berries are always a healthy and refreshing snack, and they're an especially good choice when you’re craving something sweet," says Zuckerbrot. "High in fiber (averaging 4-8g per serving), these fruits are naturally filling. They make a smart addition to your morning cereal, post-workout smoothie, or yogurt."
Bananas are one of the easiest foods to include in your diet regularly because they're so versatile. Whip up a superfood smoothie or throw one in your gym bag for an on-the-go snack. “Research shows that foods high in potassium may reduce risk of high blood pressure and stroke," says Zuckerbrot. "One medium banana has more than 400mg of potassium, so it’s a great source for men, who until their mid-50s have a greater incidence of high blood pressure than women."
Taking in enough fiber is essential for maintaining a healthy body, and is especially important if you’re trying to lose weight. It fills you up and keeps your digestive system running smoothly. What else? Zuckerbrot says, “High-fiber, whole-grain cereal digests slowly, steadying blood sugar levels for sustained energy. It's also loaded with B vitamins, antioxidants and trace minerals such as iron, zinc, copper and magnesium."
Time and time again nuts make the healthy list. They’re full of heart-healthy omega-3s plus muscle-building protein. Their only downfall is their high calorie counts, so be sure to stick within a serving size. Get the most bang for your caloric buck by picking pistachios. “Pistachios give you the most—49 nuts—compared to almonds with 23 pieces or cashews with about 18 nuts,” says Zuckerbrot.
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