25 Essential Foods to Live a Healthier Life
Updated: Apr 7, 2019
It's a worrying aspect of modern life, that most of us don't get the right nutrients our bodies need to stay healthy. Our hectic lifestyles, kids, work and just trying to stay on top of things, combine to leave us with little time to prepare a healthy meal, and even when we do get a minute to ourselves, we're so exhausted we just want to slump onto the sofa, put our feet up and watch some Netflix.
But what if I were to tell you that by investing a few extra minutes to eat the right food, you could extend your life and actually create more time for yourself? Maybe you do have more time than you think! (Read my article coming soon, 'How to Find More Time')
As the old saying goes, you really are what you eat and when we eat the right foods, we live healthier, longer lives. We choose to eat convenience foods because we're told they save us time. But in reality, what highly processed food really does is eat away at our lives and our health. If you were to eat junk food at every meal, yes, you'll save a few minutes in the short term, but in the longer term your health will suffer, and your life will be shorter... You'll have even less time!
It's all about priorities. The choices we make now, determine the health of our children and ourselves. It doesn't matter what age you start, you can make a difference to your health, mental clarity and energy levels very quickly. Eating the right foods may not cure all existing health issues, but it's much more likely that you will see an improvement. However, foods with the right nutrients may help to prevent certain diseases from even happening at all, including some of the biggest killers such as heart disease, obesity and cancer.
One of the major problems with eating convenient, highly processed foods and snacks, is that they promote an acidic environment within our bodies. When our bodies have low, acidic PH levels, all kinds of nasties are allowed to thrive, placing more stress on our heart, internal organs, cells and even our DNA. Our bodies switch into survival mode, using up vital energy reserves trying to balance itself and repair the damage, but there is only so long our bodies can go on doing this until things start to go wrong and the damage can no longer be fixed without medical intervention.
First, we become more susceptible to colds, allergies and exhaustion, then more problematic and potentially lethal health conditions begin to set in, such as osteoporosis, kidney stones, heart disease and obesity. When we eat the wrong foods, it's no wonder we feel tired and drained all the time... our bodies are in overdrive just trying to keep our delicate systems in balance and trying to undo the damage we are doing to ourselves.
Just by adding a few extra ingredients to your food, or eating fewer sugary snacks, you can enjoy a healthier life and begin to see positive changes, such as increased energy levels, very quickly. One of the key ingredients to seeing improvements quickly is to start eating more alkalizing foods. Foods that increase the PH levels in your body, gradually move your body out of an acidic environment that's perfect for many diseases to thrive in and into an alkaline environment where your body isn't already having to balance itself, so is stronger and has a better chance of protecting itself against serious diseases.
Some studies have shown that low PH levels (acidic) create an environment that allows cancer to grow. While this is true and cancer does indeed require an acidic environment, more recent studies suggest that cancer cells create their own acidic environment which is unaffected by the food we eat. However, if by eating an alkaline diet means we reduce the stress our bodies are under, in my opinion, that can only be a good thing when it comes to preventing, or reducing the risk of disease.
The simplest way to begin working on increasing your body's PH level is to focus on the foods you need to eat, rather than immediately cutting out the foods you are best to avoid. Yes, in an ideal world we would only eat the foods that promote a healthy, alkaline environment, but let's be realistic, when we make drastic changes too quickly, we're often far more likely to stop enjoying the experience and fall back into old habits.
So even if you're not ready to give up on eating processed food completely, there are some important things you can do to lessen the stress your body is under and give it a bit of an extra helping hand. It's much easier to do than most of us think.
Start by adding a few helpful foods into your diet. Then when you find a few new foods that you enjoy, you might want to consider consuming fewer convenience foods, red meat, processed meats, animal protein, sugar, dairy products and soda.
So here's the list of 25 top alkaline foods, each with a short description of what they do and why they are so beneficial:
1) Broccoli Great source of vitamins K and C. Good source of folic acid and potassium. Source of fiber. Contains Vitamin C which helps build collagen and forms body tissue and bones, and helps cuts and wounds heal. Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant and protects the body from damaging free radicals.
Rich in nutrients. May help reduce blood pressure. Contains nutrients vital to bone health. May improve blood sugar control. Rich in electrolytes and water. May support healthy skin. May boost your immune system. May promote proper digestion.
Good source of beta-carotene, fiber, vitamin K, potassium and antioxidants. A weight loss friendly food. May lower cholesterol levels and improve eye health.
4) Swiss Chard
Packed with disease-fighting antioxidants. Loaded with fiber. Excellent source of vitamin K. May benefit heart health. May decrease insulin resistance and lower blood sugar. May promote weight loss.
Contains more potassium than bananas. Loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. Packed full of Fiber. May lower Cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
May improves heart health. Reduces blood sugar. Gluten free and non-allergenic. Rich in dietary fiber. May protect against cancer. Great source of vegetarian protein.
7) Olive Oil
Rich in healthy monounsaturated fats. Contains large amounts of antioxidants. Has strong anti-Inflammatory properties. May help prevent strokes. Protective against heart disease.
8) Flax Seed
Rich in the omega-3 fatty acid ALA, lignans and fiber. May improves digestive health. May lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol. May reduce the risk of cancer. May benefit people with diabetes.
Garlic is highly nutritious but has few calories. May combat sickness, including the common cold. The active compounds in garlic may reduce blood pressure. May lower cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease.
Loaded with antioxidants. May help improve blood sugar and insulin response. High in fiber. Full of antioxidants which can help reduce inflammation. May also help reduce cholesterol.
High in fiber. gluten-free. Very high in protein, with all essential amino acids. Has a low Glycemic Index, which is good for blood sugar control.
Loaded with fiber, both soluble and insoluble. May assist heart Health. Can assist in digestion. Packed full of nutrients. High source of potassium. May lower blood pressure and can help fight anemia.
May improve digestion. May boost immune system. May assist in weight loss. Helps reduce stress and maintain brain health. May promote heart health. Contributes to stronger bones.
Promotes hydration. Good source of vitamin C. May support weight loss. Improves skin quality. Assists digestion. A natural breath freshener. May help prevent kidney stones.
Provides immune system support. May increase bone strength. Promotes eye health. May reduce the risk of macular degeneration. Contains high amounts of vitamin C. Good source of antioxidants. Assists with Digestion. Provides anti-Inflammatory benefits.
16) Alfalfa Sprouts
Contains Vitamin K which contributes to blood clotting during an injury. Improves calcium absorption, preventing bone loss and osteoporosis. The iron content in alfalfa sprouts can improve blood circulation. Good source of the B-vitamin complex, such as folate.
Contains vitamins C and K. High antioxidant content may prevent chronic diseases. Plant compounds may protect Against certain types of cancer. Beneficial for heart health. May decrease blood sugar levels and protect against diabetes.
Promotes hydration. May aid in weight loss. May lower blood sugar. Can assist in promoting regularity.
Good source of antioxidants. May aid in weight loss. High in choline. Rich in sulforaphane. Low-carb alternative to grains and legumes.
May benefit your immune system. May promote appetite control. Shown to aid weight loss. May help prevent insulin resistance and diabetes. May improve heart health. High in powerful antioxidants. May reduce risk of kidney stones.
Contains iodine and tyrosine which support thyroid function. Good source of vitamins and minerals. Contains a variety of protective antioxidants. Provides fiber and polysaccharides that can support good gut health. May help You in weight loss by delaying hunger. May reduce heart disease risk.
May reduce risk of cancer, such as breast, digestive tract, skin and prostate. May improve immune function. May reduce inflammation. Can assist in protecting blood vessels.
23) Brussel Sprouts
Rich in antioxidants. May help protect against cancer. High in fiber. Rich in vitamin K. May help maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Contain ALA omega-3 fatty acids. May reduce inflammation.
Nutrients include folate, vitamin C, niacin, riboflavin, and potassium. Cooked spinach helps your body absorb higher levels of vitamins A and E, protein, fiber, zinc, thiamin, calcium, and iron.
May lower cholesterol. Rich in fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants. May prevent cholesterol build up in your arteries. Assists in weight loss. May boost immunity. Good for diabetics. Great for your eyes. May protect against arthritis. Assists in digestion. Helps ease menstrual pain.
Plus 2 Tasty Bonus Foods!
High in vitamin C. May provide immune system support. Prevents skin damage. May keep blood pressure under check. Lowers cholesterol. Controls blood sugar level. May lower the risk of cancer.
Helps in digestion. Helps facilitate healthy digestion. Promotes Healthy gut. May boost immunity. May promote eye health. Helps lower Cholesterol. Helps clear the skin. May assist in weight loss.
Most of us already know that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is ideal for optimum health, which is probably why the alkaline diet is a healthy alternative that can show results. Eating more fruits and vegetables, along with reducing your intake of refined processed foods, sugars and dairy products may or may not balance your body's PH levels. But either way, a diet rich in green, leafy vegetables, fruits and pulses is a great way to assist your body and minimize health risks.
Certain foods, such as grapefruit, may have an adverse reaction when taken with certain medications, so it's always best to check with your medical practitioner if you are unsure.
When our bodies are healthy, we feel great and this impacts on every aspect of our lives. Our relationships improve, we are able to focus our attention better and even spiritual practice such as meditation becomes easier.
Your body is your home while you live this life. It's the only one you've got, so let's take care of it!
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