5 Essential Foods to Add to Your Diet

These foods are just as tasty as they are healthy.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Diet is ground zero when it comes to improving and maintaining health. So-called superfoods are building blocks to address or prevent chronic diseases and even slow aging. “Nutrients are most powerful when they come in the form of food rather than a pill,” says Amy Rind, a holistic nutritionist in Maplewood.

What are the primo foods to integrate into your diet for optimal health? We asked Rind and Jersey-based health coach Beth Nydick for their top food picks.

Fermented Foods

Foods such as kombucha, yogurt, kimchi and krauts reintroduce good bacteria—often in short supply due to stress, alcohol, illness and medication—back into the gut.

Benefits: Improves microbiota to help relieve anxiety and depression; boosts heart health; may improve autoimmune conditions; helps manage weight; and curbs sugar cravings.

Chia Seeds

Tiny but mighty, add these mild-tasting, nutty-flavored seeds to smoothies, salads or even a meatloaf.

Benefits: High fiber; high in calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc; loaded with antioxidants; and high protein.

Bone Broth

Changing culinary tastes eliminated snout-to-tail consumption of animals, removing essential nutrients from many diets. Bone broth reintroduces important aminos like glycine, proline, collagen and glutamine.

Benefits: Boosts immunity; lowers inflammation; improves sleep; elevates mood; good for the gut; and improves hydration.

Mushrooms

The personal trainers of our immune system, mushrooms strengthen it over time.

Benefits: Fights cancer (maitake); B vitamins (shitake); blood-pressure-lowering compounds (shitake); adaptogens (reishi); improves energy; elevates mood and fights depression.

Green Vegetables

‘‘What is the healthiest green veggie? The one you eat!,” says certified holistic health coach Beth Nydick.” You have to eat them to get the best nutrients. My favorite is spinach—good, old spinach. It has high carotenoids and plenty of antioxidants to eradicate potentially hazardous free radicals. To eat more, add greens to smoothies (include a banana and you will not even taste the spinach). Add greens to soups or throw some in when you are roasting proteins in the oven.”

“My motto is: Kale, yeah!” says holistic nutritionist Amy Rind. “I love kale because it’s high in vitamins C and K, plus fiber. It’s also a good plant-based source of calcium and iron. Pair kale with a healthy fat like sunflower seeds or avocado to absorb the most nutrients from this green powerhouse.”

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