It’s been said that “you are what you eat.” Although that often alludes to body weight, it’s true when it comes to health. Eating smart helps prevent and control diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, certain types of cancer, high blood pressure and cholesterol. Diet also strongly affects overall function of the immune system.
The nutrients, vitamins and minerals consumed in a balanced diet are vital to maintaining optimal health. How you eat has a direct impact on how you feel. Include the following fruits and vegetables, whole grains and high-protein foods as part of your daily nutrition plan.
Whole grains: Oatmeal, brown rice, barley, quinoa, and whole grain baked goods are high in fiber. These foods may help lower risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Vegetables: Cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, kale and Brussels sprouts contain crucial phytochemicals that boost the immune system. Carrots, spinach and dark leafy greens may provide a protective effect against certain cancers and heart disease.
Beans & Legumes: Look for deeper colors of beans, which indicate high levels of antioxidants. These play a role in reducing the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Black, red and pinto beans are among the best; they’re also high in low-fat protein, fiber and iron.
Fruits: The flavonoids found in fruits protect your body against heart disease, blood clots and bad cholesterol. They may even protect your brain against age-related declines in memory.