Food, as we know, is our lifeline. We need to eat food in order to survive. Everything we eat is what makes up our bodies. The fruits, the vegetables, water, grains, meats, fishes, everything becomes a part of us after we consume them. It is important that we eat healthy foods in our everyday life.
Healthy foods help in proper growth and development of our body. They provide us with all the necessary vitamins and minerals when we eat.
Foods are our primary source of energy which we need in order to perform our everyday tasks. The food we consume is converted into usable energy reserves by our bodies.
It is however important that we only consume healthy foods and not all the foods on the planet. Not all foods are healthy to eat and so we must choose the food we eat carefully.
Some foods are beneficial for our body while others are beneficial for our brain. So, we must first understand what types of foods suit which part of our body and what are the best practices of eating foods.
Types of Healthy Foods:
1. Dairy Products are Healthy Foods:
Dairy foods or dairy products are food items rich in nutrients. They are a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, phosphorous, potassium, and calcium. Dairy foods are also good sources of protein.
Below are the health benefits of dairy foods:
- Calcium helps in making our bones stronger and healthier. It is also beneficial for our muscles, health and nervous system to function properly.
- Vitamin D and protein is helpful in maintaining healthy bones.
- Vitamin B12 helps to form RBC and also helps in overcoming depression.
- The probiotics found in yogurt helps to produce good bacterias in the gut which helps in proper digestion.
List of dairy foods:
- All types of milk (whole milk, organic milk, skim milk, buttermilk),
- Yogurt(Greek yogurt, goat milk yogurt, Australian yogurt)
- Cheese ( cottage cheese, gouda cheese, Monterey jack, swiss cheese, cheddar cheese)
- Ice cream (All kinds of ice creams)
2. Fish and Seafood are Healthy Foods:
Fish and Seafood pack high protein and fat content in them. They also are good sources of vitamins and minerals and have many health benefits.
You might as well say that fish and seafood are the best food that planet earth has to offer to us. They are among the healthiest foods that we consume and they taste delicious.
Below are the health benefits of fish and seafood:
- The vitamins and minerals found in fish and seafood are linked with greater eyesight.
- Consuming fish and seafood may lower the risk of heart-related diseases such as mild strokes and heart attacks.
- They are also linked with improved mental health with lower chances of suffering from depression.
- Seafood is packed with omega-3 fatty acids and selenium that helps to boost our immunity.
- Fish and seafood may prevent asthma in children.
- They are also good for improving sleep quality when consumed on a regular basis.
List of seafood:
- Grass carp
- Silver carp
- Common carp
- Peruvian anchoveta
- Alaska pollock
- Bighead carp
- Yellowfin tuna
- Bluefin tuna
3. Fruits and Nuts are Healthy Foods:
Fruits and nuts come as healthy as it gets. They come in different shapes and color and each fruit has a unique flavor of its own. They are the primary sources of vitamins and minerals for people who only eat a vegetarian diet.
Fruits and nuts provide us with Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, dietary fibers, folic acid, potassium, and many more. They are beneficial to our overall health and wellbeing.
Below are the health benefits of Fruits and Nuts:
- Eating fruits and nuts as a part of a healthy diet on a regular basis can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes.
- Potassium found in fruits and nuts may help in controlling high blood pressure.
- Eating fruits and nuts is also linked with the prevention of different types of chronic diseases.
- Studies also suggest that eating fruits and nuts might help in the prevention of certain types of cancers.
- Fruits and nuts help in maintaining the overall health of our bodies.
- They are also used as natural antioxidants to help fight against free radicals.
- Fruits and nuts may help in lowering cholesterol and triglycerides.
- Diets rich in fruits and nuts helps to reduce belly fat.
List of healthy fruits and nuts:
- Brazil Nuts
- Macadamia Nuts
4. Grains and Seeds are Healthy Foods:
Grains and seeds might appear small in sizes but don’t be fooled by their appearance. In fact, grains and seeds are a great source of vitamin Bs (including riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, and folic acid). They also pack nutrients such as fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium, and more.
Below are the health benefits of grains and seeds:
- Eating a healthy diet containing grains and seeds may help in lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- They may help in reducing the risk of different types of cancer when included in your daily diet.
- Eating grains and seeds is also linked with a lower risk of obesity.
- They may also help in lowering the risk of different heart-related diseases when consumed on a regular basis.
- They also help in maintaining body weight and fuel or body with the energy needed for our day to day tasks.
- Eating grains and seeds also help in the digestion process.
List of Healthy Grains:
- Brown rice
- Wheat (Ancient grain)
- Hemp seed
5. Meat and Poultry are Healthy Foods:
Meat and poultry are great sources of obtaining fat and complete protein. They also pack essential nutrients such as Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, essential fatty acids, the essential amino acid( tryptophan, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, valine, lycine, methionine, threonine, phenylalanine), iron, zinc, and more.
Below are the health benefits of meat and poultry:
- Iron found in meat helps in proper blood circulation and also aids in carrying oxygen to the cells.
- Eating meat and poultry during the time of pregnancy also helps in preventing iron deficiencies during the time of birth.
- The omega-3 fatty acid which is obtained from different types of meats is beneficial for our skin.
- Consuming meat and poultry once or twice a day might help in the digestion process.
- Vitamin D found in meat and poultry helps in absorbing calcium and makes our bones and teeth stronger.
List of healthy meat and poultry:
. Vegetables and Beans are Healthy Foods:
Vegetables and beans are other sources of obtaining essential nutrients for people who prefer eating a vegetarian diet. But by no means I mean to say others have no use for them. In fact, everyone needs to eat a healthy portion of vegetables and beans on every serving of food. They are among some of the healthy foods to eat on a daily basis.
It is one thing that you cannot ignore in your everyday diet menu. No matter how small a portion you include but make sure you do include in your everyday diet. They provide us with nutrients such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, fiber, folate, potassium, and many more.
Below are the health benefits of eating vegetables and beans:
- Eating vegetables and beans reduces the risk of heart disease.
- They may also help in controlling blood pressure and body cholesterol levels.
- Eating protein-rich vegetables and beans help in body repair.
- They are a great source of antioxidants that help fight foreign bodies.
- They are naturally low in fat content and might aid in weight loss.
- Eating vegetables and beans on a daily basis is also linked with lowering the risk of certain types of cancers.
- They may also aid in preventing fatty liver and controlling appetite.
List of healthy vegetables and beans:
- Bell peppers
- Sweet Potatoes
- Black beans
- Cannellini beans
- Common beans
- Kidney beans
- Fava beans
- Lima beans
- Mung beans
Nutrients Found in Different Types of Healthy foods:
The food we consume provides us with seven major nutrients. They are:
Carbohydrates are our body’s native energy source. When we consume food rich in carbs, it gets digested and converts into glucose. Glucose is the major source of our body and helps fuel all the major organs and body parts including our heart, brain, and central nervous system.
Following are the healthy sources of carbohydrates:
- Dairy products: Milk, yogurt, and ice cream.
- Fruits: Banana, quinoa, oranges, blueberries, etc.
- Grains: Buckwheat, rice, oats, etc.
- Legumes: Peas, beans, lentils, black-eyed peas, pinto beans, etc.
- Starchy Vegetables: Sweet potatoes, potatoes, pumpkin, carrot, corn.
- Surgery foods and drinks: Milkshakes, soda, cereal bars, hot cake with syrup, candies, cookies, cake with frosting, and other desserts.
There are primarily four types of fats namely;
- Saturated fats
- Monounsaturated fats
- Polyunsaturated fats
- Trans fats
They can be further classified into two categories:
Good fats: Monounsaturated fats and Polyunsaturated fats
Bad fats: Saturated fats and Trans fats
Good fats have many health benefits including lower risk of stroke and heart disease, helps in controlling LDL cholesterol, keeps blood pressure in check, and helps to fight inflammation.
While it is advised that you avoid consuming bad fats. Since bad fat can cause cholesterol to build up in the blood vessels increasing the risk of heart stroke and diseases. It also helps to promote bad cholesterol.
Following are the list of healthy foods to obtain healthy fat:
- Fruits and seeds: Avocados, guava, chia seeds, horned melon, pomegranates, etc.
- Dairy products: Cheese, full-fat yogurt
- Dark Chocolate
- Poultry: Whole Eggs
- Fatty Fishes: fresh tuna, salmon, sardines, trout, herring, mackerel, etc
- Nuts: Brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts, peanuts, hazelnuts, cashew, pistachio, etc.
- Oils: Extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil
Fibers can be broadly categorized into;
- Soluble Fibers
- Insoluble Fiber
Fibers are non-digestible carbohydrates found in the food that we consume. They are primarily categorized into soluble fibers and insoluble fibers. While soluble fibers are easily digestible and help to obtain important vitamins, most of the insoluble fibers cannot be broken down and help in the smooth passage of stool.
The food we eat however contains both soluble and insoluble fibers. They have various health benefits including lower cholesterol levels, blood sugar control, helps in promoting good gut bacterias, helps in gaining weight and to live a long and healthy life.
Consuming too much fiber might however cause gas in the stomach that results in bloating and constipation.
Following are the good source of fiber:
- Fruits and nuts: Almonds, pine nuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, pecans apple, bananas, persimmon, oranges, mangoes, strawberries, raspberries.
- Vegetables: Generally, the darker the color, the higher the fiber content
- Beans and Legumes: Beans and legumes are flavorful, fiber-filled additions to salads, soups, and chilis
- Grains and seeds: Amaranth grains, buckwheat, popcorn, barley, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds,
Minerals are a part of the essential nutrients needed by our bodies to function properly. They play an important role in our growth, development and to live healthily.
There are different types of minerals found in different food sources and have different health benefits. Some of them help in making our bones and teeth stronger and healthy while others help in blood circulation and to transfer oxygen to the cells. Some others are useful in hormone production and to maintain a constant heartbeat.
Below are some of the important minerals along with their healthy food sources:
- Iron: Beans and lentils, red meat, poultry, eggs, tofu, cashew, fruits, swiss chard, whole grains, fortified bread, etc.
- Calcium: Milk, yogurt, cheese, soybeans, salmon, nuts, leafy green vegetables, white bread, etc.
- Iodine: Iodized salt, cod, tuna, milk, yogurt, shrimps, seaweeds, etc.
- Sodium: salt, celery, soy sauce, beets, vegetables, milk, etc.
- Magnesium: Spinach, nuts, broccoli, kale, legumes, seeds, whole grains, etc.
- Potassium: banana, meat, apricot, broccoli, oranges, milk, grapes, potatoes, spinach, grains, legumes, etc.
- Sulfur: Iron pyre, gypsum, galena, etc.
- Copper: Whole grains, shellfish, nuts, seeds, beans, prunes, oysters, potatoes, etc.
- Chromium: Broccoli, potatoes, whole grains, beef, poultry, fish, nuts, cheese, etc.
- Zinc: Oysters, meat, shellfish, chickpeas, nuts, whole grains, etc.
- Chloride: salt, seaweeds, lettuce, tomatoes, rye, celery, olives, etc.
Proteins are essential micronutrients for our bodies. They are part of our everyday diet. Proteins are an important building block of our bodies and tissues.
They are also beneficial in producing hormones, making enzymes, and other body chemicals. essential nutrients for the human body. Protein also helps fuel our body in the absence of carbohydrates. They also aid in fat burn which results in weight loss.
They are also known to reduce appetite when consumed in a large quantity. proteins help in gaining body mass. They are beneficial for our bones and also aids in the repairs of tissues.
Below are the healthy food sources of protein:
- Meat and poultry: lean beef, chicken breast, turkey breast, pork tenderloin, poultry, and eggs, etc.
- Fish and Seafood: Tuna, fish, shrimp, sardines, etc.
- Dairy products: Cottage cheese, milk, and greek yogurt.
- Vegetables and beans: Beans, broccoli, lentils, pumpkin seeds, Brussels sprouts, black beans, etc.
- Fruits and nuts: Almond, peanuts, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts cashew, etc.
Vitamins are organic compounds, an essential micronutrient needed by our body. They along with minerals are considered essential nutrients that are beneficial for our body.
Vitamins help us in preventing various diseases including heart diseases, eyesight problems, high cholesterol levels, and skin disorders. They also help in the healing of wounds and tissues. Vitamins are responsible for performing different types of body mechanisms.
The list of vitamins along with their food sources:
Sources of Vitamin A:
- Cod liver oil
- Beef liver
- Lamb’s liver
- King mackerel
- Bluefin tuna
- Fortified skimmed milk
- Cheddar cheese
- Cream cheese
- Sweet potatoes
- Sweet red pepper
- Guava, etc.
Sources of Vitamin Bs(B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B 12):
- Acorn squash
- Whole grains
- Brown rice
- Fortified grains
- Sunflower seeds, etc.
Sources of Vitamin C:
- Citrus fruit
- Bell pepper
- Brussels sprouts
- Sweet potato, etc.
Sources of Vitamin D:
- Beef liver
- Egg yolk
- Fortified milk
- Soya milk
- Cereals, etc.
Sources of Vitamin E:
- Vegetable oils
- Green vegetables
- Whole grains
- Fortified breakfast cereals
- Orange juice, etc.
Sources of Vitamin K:
- Brussels sprouts
- Broccoli, etc.
Water lacks essential vitamins and minerals but let’s not forget, 70% of our body is made up of water. It helps to keep our bodies hydrated and also helps to regulate body temperature.
Lack of water might cause dehydration, lack of energy, slow brain functionality, tiredness, and a rise in temperature. Furthermore, water helps to form saliva and mucus which is very important in the digestion of foods.
Water helps to transport oxygen throughout our body and also helps to maintain moist and clean skin. It also helps to flush out all the unnecessary components from our body in the form of urine.
Lastly, water helps to suppress hunger and also aids in weight loss.
Why Eat Healthy Foods?
It is important that we eat healthy food in our everyday life. The food we eat is linked to our physical and mental wellbeing. Eating healthy foods is beneficial for men’s health, women’s health, and their children’s health.
Healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables help us to lose when consumed as a part of a calorie-restricted diet. They also help to prevent various types of diseases such as high blood sugar, high blood pressure, certain types of cancers, heart stroke, and heart diseases, skin related diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, and many more.
Healthy eating habits improve our metabolism, takes care of our day to day stress, and helps us live healthy lives. Healthy eating, when accompanied by physical activity, helps to live a long and healthy life.
The food you eat becomes a part of you. So, it is important that we only eat healthy foods in order to build up a healthy body.
Healthy Foods Helps in Weight Management:
Healthy Foods for Weight Loss:
If you’re someone who is in need of losing some extra body weight, it is even more important that you eat healthy foods. You can experiment with low carb high-fat foods for better results. Eating a low carb diet is a quick and easy way of losing bodyweight.
Mediterranean diet is one of the best low carb diets for weight loss and longterm sustainability. The Mediterranean diet restricts carbs and replaces it with fat and protein. On average you can consume about 50-60 grams of protein per day.
You might as well eat healthy snacks that are low in carbs content or drink apple cider vinegar for instant weight loss. But it is highly recommended that you seek medical advice from a certified nutritionist before you decide on taking apple cider vinegar to lose weight.
Studies over the years have found the eating foods rich in fat content can help boost the weight loss process. While consuming foods rich in protein helps to build muscles and strengthen your bones.
Healthy Foods for Gaining Weight:
If you’re someone who is underweight and are looking to gain body weight, you need to eat foods rich in carbs. Foods with added sugar are a great source of carbs and when consumed can help you gain weight quickly.
You might as well go for carb-rich healthy snacks in order to gain weight. It is however important that you maintain your portion size for better results without any side effects.
So, try to come up with suitable dinner ideas depending upon your needs. You can search for healthy recipes online to get started on your diet plan.
List of Healthy Foods for Different Body Parts:
- Dark chocolate
- Pumpkin seeds
- Tuna, etc.
- Tofu, etc.
- Cruciferous vegetables
- Orange and other citrus fruits
- Oyster, etc.
- Sweet potatoes, etc.
- Dark chocolates
- Fatty fish
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Whole grains, etc.
- Brussels sprouts
- Chinese cabbage
- Walnuts, etc.
- Chicken breast
- Red meat
- Wild salmon
- Soybeans, etc.
- Bell papers
- Green tea
- Sweet potatoes
- Walnuts, etc.
Healthy Foods FAQs:
1. What is a healthy diet?
A healthy diet is the one with the perfect chemistry between fats, protein, and carbs. It is a balanced diet with all the necessary nutrients served on a plate. You get all the essential vitamins, minerals, and fibers from a healthy diet.
A healthy diet can help you fight against different diseases and provide you with enough strength to do all your daily chores.
2. Are healthy foods really healthy to eat?
The answer to this question comes down to an individual’s opinions and preferences of the foods. Some might consider including fats in their diet as unhealthy while others support the idea of including fats in a healthy diet.
The same thing can be said for protein and carbohydrates as well. So, it is a matter of perspective to which foods count as healthy and which foods are unhealthy.
3. Is it bad to eat fats?
In recent times, eating fats is considered healthy and is recommended by nutritionists and pediatricians. Studies over the years have found the eating foods rich in fat content is indeed beneficial.
High-fat foods are also linked with fat burn and weight loss. They may also help you sustain an alternative energy source for your body which is way more effective than glucose.
4. What is Food Combining?
Food combining is the process of avoiding protein and starch in the same meal for better digestion. It is also used for gaining good health and weight loss.
Example: Combining foods rich in fat and protein while avoiding foods rich in carbs in a low carb diet helps to promote weight loss.
5. What is the relationship between calories and eating healthily?
The number of calories required by an individual is between 2000-2500 calories per day. One can easily outdo the average calorie needed by eating different types of foods.
But not all foods are made equal thus one needs to eat healthily in order to avoid health issues that come with eating unhealthy foods. Thus eating healthy foods and meeting the daily calorie need is the goal here.
6. Are carbs really unhealthy to eat?
Before we talk about whether carbs are healthy or not, we need to understand certain things. Our source of energy for example. Glucose is our native source of energy unless we switch it with ketone bodies which are only possible after attaining ketosis.
And interestingly, carbohydrates that we consume are broken down by our body into glucose which is later used as energy for the entire body. So, if we are to say carbs are unhealthy, would it be fair? I believe not. Thus eating carbs is as healthy as eating fats or protein. All you need t to be concerned about is the quantity.
7. How can healthy food affect cholesterol?
Cholesterol is an important component needed by our body to operate properly. But a higher amount of cholesterol can create blockades on arteries which might result in high blood pressure and lead to heart stroke and heart attack.
Since foods are the major sources of cholesterol, when we eat healthy foods the level of cholesterol in the blood can be controlled. In other words, if we eat foods low in saturated fat content and eat more of protective fats found in nuts, we can easily maintain a healthy level of cholesterol.
8. What is Omega-3 fatty acid and what are its benefits?
If you consider fat as healthy food then you might as well call Omega-3 fatty acids the ‘Superfood’. It is mostly found in fish and some types of nuts. There are many health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids including physical and mental well-being, prevention of heart diseases, curing Alzheimer’s disease, helps to fight depression and many more.
9. How important are fruits and vegetables?
Fruits and vegetables pack some of the most essential vitamins minerals which are essential for the overall growth of our body. They are natural sources of antioxidants and helps in fighting foreign bodies. Including a good amount of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet can help in promoting weight loss.
They also play an important role in curing and protecting our bodies. They help in maintaining a healthy amount of cholesterol in the blood, lower cancer risk, strengthen our bones, and smoothen our skin. Eating fruits and vegetables is also linked with better brain functioning.
The USDA’s MyPlate encourages making half your plate fruits and vegetables for healthy eating.