The best foods for a healthy diet are ones which ensure a balanced and sustainable diet. You must be able to say that you’ve been able to maintain that diet for at least three months without having to fall off the wagon. They must be rich in nutrients to provide your body with the necessary nutrients, vitamins and minerals to function properly.
A balanced and sustainable diet ensures that you don’t focus on individual foods to be healthy, but being able to get majority of your food from healthy nutrient-rich sources and minimal intake from highly processed food, sugary drinks and alcohol. You must focus on the 80/20 nutrition rule in which 80% of the food you consume is rich in nutrients and 20% less nutritious. The following will be a list of the nutritious foods you should be eating 80% of the time.
1. Fruits, Vegetables and Legumes
Fruit and vegetables are rich in micronutrients which are your vitamins, minerals and fibers. They are also rich in antioxidants which reduce the risk of chronic diseases and boost your overall health and well-being. Fruits such as apples, bananas, oranges, berries and grapes provide the range of nutrients mentioned above.
Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and sweet potatoes are great options that are rich in these nutrients too and improve digestion. Legumes are also a type of vegetable that incorporates beans, peas and lentils. They are high in protein, fiber and also reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases.
2. Whole Grains and Whole Wheat
Whole grains such as brown rice, oats, corn and whole-wheat bread and pasta are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. They help with digestion, ensuring smooth bowel movement and getting rid of waste in the body. You will also have reduced inflammation in the body and reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
3. Lean Protein
Lean protein is protein that is low in fat due to it being removed from the protein source or it naturally being low due to the type of protein that it is. They include chicken, turkey, eggs, beans and fish which are high in protein and they help repair and recover muscles while suppressing your appetite as an added bonus if you need help to lose fat.
4. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds such as almonds, cashews, walnuts, sunflower seeds and chia seeds are rich in healthy fats, protein and fiber. They help reduce inflammation, improve heart health and support brain function. The great thing about them is that you are able to constantly snack on them when you are hungry to prevent grabbing something less nutritious.
5. Low-Fat Dairy Products
Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt are rich in calcium which is a mineral that is good for keeping your bones and teeth healthy. They are also good sources of protein and other essential nutrients for your health and well-being. Low fat options reduce their calorie effects on your body and reduce added saturated fat to your diet.
6. Healthy Fats
Healthy fats are high in unsaturated fats and they are mainly from plant sources. This includes avocados, fatty fish and plant oils such as avocado oil, olive oil and coconut oil. They help improve heart health, blood cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation. Your body is also able to better absorb essential vitamins and minerals with the help of healthy fats.
Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which improve heart health, reduce inflammation and support brain function. They are also rich in protein which will help with building, repairing and recovering your muscles.
A lot of the options mentioned above are expensive these days, but this is why for each healthy benefit, there are at least two options for each, so you will be able to interchange between them depending on your budget and what period of your 80/20 you are in.