Do you have this sinking feeling that you should be eating healthier? You don’t need to deprive yourself of every good tasting food when eating for health. Food is one of the joys of life. By adding some of the most nutritious foods into your diet, you build up your nutrient reserves. This supports digestion, detoxification, and immunity. If you are only going to make one change in your diet, start consuming these power foods daily.
8 Power Foods to Eat Daily
Cruciferous Vegetables – There are vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and cabbage. Cruciferous vegetables are beneficial for many reasons. They are a great source of fiber for healthy digestion. They are a source of cancer-preventing indoles. They also contain the indole derived DIM which plays a part in estrogen metabolism. DIM can be supportive of hormone balance and can potentially protect against reproductive cancers. Not to mention that cruciferous vegetables are power foods that are high in vitamins and minerals. Just be careful if you have a thyroid problem as cruciferous vegetables can potentially interfere with treatment.
Berries – These are fruit like blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and acai berries. Not only are these power foods a source of fiber. They are also super sources of antioxidants with acai berries getting their superfood status from their extra high supply. Berries are considered anti-inflammatory and may support memory. Blueberries are high in polyphenols that some studies suggest may even support bone growth. These nutritious foods grow during the summer, but you can enjoy them all year round by purchasing them frozen.
Nuts – When I mention nuts, most people will instantly think peanut (which is actually a legume, not a nut). However, I’m talking about foods like almonds, cashews, brazil nuts, and walnuts. Nuts are a great source of healthy unsaturated fat that can actually lower cholesterol, promote fat loss and help maintain a proper weight. Walnuts can be a source of omega-3 fatty acids. Brazil nuts are a great source of selenium, an often missed nutrient in the traditional diet. Almonds can be a good source of healing vitamin e. Additionally, all nuts provide some protein. A small handful daily is good. Too many and you may experience stomach discomfort.
Seeds – Seeds are small but mighty power foods like pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds and flax seeds. Including them in the diet is as easy as throwing them on a salad, on top of oatmeal or into a smoothie. Seeds are another great source of fiber. Many of them are high in b vitamins for improved brain function, heart function, vision support, and immunity. They can be good for hormone balance, beautiful skin and cell protection as well. So buy a variety of seeds and mix them up. That way you get the widest total body protection from eating them.
Garlic – Garlic is one of the healthiest ways to make food flavorful. It is also a great disease-fighting superfood. Garlic, when cut, forms a compound called allicin that has amazing cardiovascular benefits. Additionally, garlic can be protective against the cold or the flu and may even be helpful in the prevention of cancer.It can help reduce cholesterol and triglycerides as well as protect blood vessels from inflammation and damage. Just remember to take the essential step of cutting garlic to trigger the formation of allicin.
Coconut oil – Many people shy away from coconut oil because it is so high in saturated fat. But it’s important to remember that the type of saturated fat in coconut oil is considered health supportive. Coconut oil is anti-inflammatory, it has a positive impact on insulin and can be healing to the gut. Additionally, it can be advantageous for weight loss. It helps with energy expenditure and allows you to feel fuller for longer. It is one of the best oils for cooking as it is less likely to burn and become toxic. It is a great nutritious food that can be eaten daily.
Fermented Food – These are power foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, pickled beets, pickled cucumber, kefir, and miso. Our ancestors used to regularly preserve their foods through pickling or fermenting. Unfortunately, this is not a common practice today. Fermented foods are high in the good type of bacteria that populates the colon. This good bacteria protects the gut, thereby protecting health. So a deficit of good bacteria creates problems. It allows the bad bacteria in the gut take control and creates illness throughout the body. So eating some fermented foods daily is extremely health protective.
Tea – Drinking tea can be a great alternative to drinking coffee. I love coffee, but coffee can be extremely acidic. Anything acidic leaves the body vulnerable to disease when consumed in excess. Teas are high in polyphenols which have great antioxidant properties. Teas can be protective against cancers and heart disease. They can even lower the risk for Parkinson’s disease according to one study. Tea is a great healing beverage, nutritious food and health protector. Just make sure to drink tea between meals. The tannins in tea can lead to iron deficiency by blocking the absorption of iron when consumed with food.
So there you have it. These are 8 power foods that you should eat every day. So don’t think of healthy eating as a form of deprivation. Adding power foods like this to the diet, even without taking any “bad foods” away, can make a huge difference for your health, your waistline, and even your happiness. How’s that for an easy change that goes a long way?
Patricia Weber says
Because I needed to get of an awful medication for heart burn (well actually diagnosed as Acid Reflux) many of your foods listed here are exactly what I am eating for a more alkalizing inside body experience!
My favorite nuts are sliced almonds. And on the 1 or 2 days a week I indulge in one cup of coffee, I have a handful of these with it to minimize the acidity.
Great insights Erica. Thanks!
It’s great that you have so effectively made changes for your acid reflux, Patricia. That really does require a lifestyle change so congrats for approaching that head-on.
Donna Janke says
I knew about most of these foods, but I was due for a reminder since I’ve slipped away from including many on a regular basis, especially the fermented foods which I think really helped my digestion. I’m glad I saw this post. My daughter uses coconut oil, but I haven’t tried it yet for cooking.
Most of us really don’t eat enough fermented foods. So many of us take antibiotics at some point, have high sugar diets or have a history of using birth control. For that reason, these beneficial bacteria from fermented foods are so valuable for digestion.
Sabrina Quairoli says
Great pots,Erica. I have lots of these foods you mentioned like sauerkraut and broccoli. I didn’t know about the thyroid being affected by broccoli though. Interesting. Cashews (raw not roasted or salted) is my favorite too. I give a handful to my son, who doesn’t like any other nut, for snack with some dried cranberries. Just enough to tide him over before lunch during school. It helped him with his blood sugar drops during math class. Hopefully he will continue having snacks throughout the day. Thanks for sharing.
The interesting thing is that only a small percentage of people who have thyroid problems are affected negatively by foods like broccoli. But it is important for them to know if they are part of the group that reacts before consuming these foods on a regular basis.
I eat the majority of these foods on a regular basis. Great to see this list as a reminder of the foods we should be eating.
Coconut creme tastes great in rice and curries. It adds to the flavour.
I’m glad you found this to be a helpful reminder. Eating foods like these can really be so beneficial.
I eat most of those foods but have actually turned off the fermented ones, although I do like sauerkraut – unfortunately my husband doesn’t so needless to say I don’t have it very often. As for the rest, all of it is good.
Lenie, you can try adding something like miso paste to a recipe. Your husband probably won’t even know it is there. Yogurt also has beneficial bacteria so that is also an option of course.
Doreen Pendgracs says
This is a great list, Erica. But you have forgotten to include cocoa or pure dark chocolate. Did you know that pure chocolate contains more antioxidants than any other food on the planet? For that reason, it’s #1 on my list of healthy foods (within moderation, of course!)
Doreen, I recommend dark chocolate over the other options due to its antioxidant content. I have it on my occasional treat list and it really is the best chocolate you can eat, It isn’t on my daily list as it is empty of other nutrients besides antioxidants, plus people almost always consume it sweetened.
Doreen Pendgracs says
Hi Erica. Eating cocoa nibs is the way to go. You can eat them everyday as there is no added sugar and they possess the full anti-oxidants and flavonoids that makes cocoa the number one power food on the planet. I throw cocoa nibs in salads, on yogurt and fruit, in chilli and sauces. It’s amazing how they can enhance the flavour of so many foods.
Ken Dowell says
I would give myself about a 3-1/2 out of 8 on this. Not so impressive.
Actually, if you are consuming 3 to 4 of these foods on a regular basis, you aren’t doing that badly. There are lots of people who rarely eat any of these. Try experimenting with small amounts of the foods you don’t regularly include.
Rose Mary Griffith says
Yum! Love everything on this list except the seeds. The broccoli, brussel sprouts, etc., are among my favorite veggies, but I limit them because of the hypothryoid–as you mentioned. And you just reminded me we got raw cashews yesterday–a favorite snack. I think I’ll go grab a few and email this article to my husband. He who eats non-stop and never gains a pound.
Raw cashews are the best! Glad to hear that you like them too.
Susan cooper says
Hi Erica, was reading your post as I sat here eating a big bowl of blueberries, so guess i’m on the right path. 🙂 have been trying to eat healthier. Love your other suggestions too. Tea is another favorite of mine.
It does sound like you are doing something right! Blueberries are so good for you.
Marquita Herald says
Well, I’m covered except for the berries which are in short supply and outrageously expensive here. I never used to drink tea but then I got in the habit of making sun tea when I gave up sodas and now I experiment with different herbal teas and just love it. On the fermented food, does kimchi count? I developed a taste for it when I used to have to go to Korea on business. Haven’t found any quite as good as the real stuff in Korea yet, but one of these days I’d really like to learn to make it at home.
Marquita, fresh berries really are so expensive. I can’t even image the price tag where you live. You might want to check out your frozen foods section sometime to see if they have frozen berries which might be more economical since it is easier to ship frozen foods.
maxwell ivey says
Hello erica; personally i love the list. will be forwarding the email to my gastric surgery clinic. if they approve too then I’ll post it on my fb page and theirs. When you mention berries do they have to be fresh or do freeze dried still have health benefits? and I routinely replace at least one cup of coffee a day with white tea. and i wish more people new just how tasty brussle sprouts can be when prepared properly and i don’t mean smothered in butter and cheese. thanks for sharing, Max
Maxwell, I’m glad you found this list helpful. I’m not sure if eating lots of nuts would be good if you have GI issues, but I’m sure your clinic can tell you best.
leadership qualities says
Hi, you are right, peanuts are legumes and walnuts are really great. Have it all here right now. Glad you shared this with us. Very helpful and relevant. Thanks 🙂
Glad you found this helpful. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.
Mama Munchkin says
Love this… we are always trying to eat healthier and I love reading up and learning new things. I actually didn’t know a peanut was a legume. Good to know! Thanks
The peanut as a legume thing is really sneaky, isn’t it? I remember being shocked when I first heard that.
I love the food insight that you share with us, simple yet powerful. I will be printing this and keeping it at my desk as a reminder of the food that I need most when I’m really hungry and on the run.