I am so sorry to have given a lot of you worries, as to what can you eat, when you saw most of the foods you love featuring in the list of not healthy foods. Voila! A list of super healthy foods that you can eat without any guilt.
1. FRUITS (The obvious):
Did I hear you groan when you just read that? Or think, tell me something new! Well, despite having known that fruits are EXCELLENT for good health, how many of us really consume them? Oh come on, don’t tell me that you don’t like to eat raw fruits. There are so many delicious ways of consuming them. How about a banana smoothie? Or a mango lassi or a chikoo milkshake? Or apple stew or fruit chat? Or Baked chocolate pears, fruit cream, fruit punch, chunky fruit marmalade, fresh fruit and icecream, baked pineapples, pineapple cake… See? There exist multiple options if you want to consume fruits.
2. Green Leafy Vegetables (The second obvious):
Why does Popeye advocate spinach? Because, it can really make us strong. All green leafy vegetables, salads give us plenty of vitamins, minerals, flavonoids and best of all Beta Carotene- implies no need to take the vitamin A supplements! And of course, a lot of soluble fibre, just like fruits. What are you waiting for? Its time to go green and eat the palak paneer, malai methi, methi paratha, palak paratha, spinach soup, spinach quiche, spinach sandwich, thai green curry, leek omelette, spring onion and noodles salad, green salad. Am sure you are hungry by now! 🙂
3. Beets (Surprise surprise!):
If you are like me, five years ago, then beets will not be part of your staple diet. But, you don’t know what a treasure trove of nutrients you are missing out on. Excellent source of fibre, folates and minerals. This red pink root vegetable is guaranteed to keep you in the pink of your health.
Strawberries, Indian gooseberries (Amla), raspberry, blue berries, blackberries are among the healthiest fruits you can consume. They are loaded with antioxidants that protect you from heart disease, cancer and other lifestyle disorders. One of the most protective elements in berries is a phytochemical called ellagic acid, which prevents toxic chemicals from damaging cells. It also helps initiate the process of destroying cancer causing cells. So.. blueberry cheesecake anyone?
5. Cauliflower, Cabbage, Broccoli:
The stockists of fibre, B vitamins, beta carotene and Vitamin C; these vegetables are worth piling on your plate. What’s better is that they also have a lot of phytochemicals which protect the body from cancer or carcinogens. Excellent eaten as a salad or cooked into a subzi, these versatile vegetables are a must in your diet.
6. Brown Rice:
For those of you who cannot live without rice and even others, brown rice is your best choice. Parboiled rice is second best. Brown rice has its bran layer still intact (as it is not polished) and hence is a top source of B vitamins, calcium, phosphorous, iron and of course- fibre. It is also rich in Vitamin E.
Yes. I am talking of our everyday wheat, but in its whole wheat format only. Roti, chapati, naan, paratha, bread, muffins, biscuits made out of whole wheat are your best bet for an everyday cereal. Whole wheat is rich in vitamins, phosphorous, zinc, copper, iron and magnesium. It also gives you a good quantity of soluble fibre and complex carbohydrates.
Garlic contains more than 200 biologically active compounds which protect us against a host of life style diseases. It is also an antibacterial and antifungal agent. Remember the garlic chutney that mom makes? Time to make it again and have it everyday. Garlic is best added minced or crushed to a recipe. Another reason why Asian cuisine rocks!
Legumes have the highest amount of fibre amongst staple foods and are rich in a wide array of vitamins and minerals. They also provide many complex carbohydrates and phytochemicals which boost the immune system. The soluble fibre in legumes helps lower cholesterol. They are a great food also because they are a very good source of proteins which are required by the body for maintenance against regular wear and tear.
Brush your teeth five times a day if you have to but do not cut back on onions in your diet. Onions have immune boosting chemicals which keep diseases at bay. It also prevents arteries from clogging and destroys carcinogens in the body. Onions are also high in quercetin which fights cancer.
11. Sweet Potatoes:
Loaded with Beta carotene, cholesterol lowering fibre, vitamin E and B vitamin thiamine, sweet potatoes are excellent to beat the craving for potatoes the healthy way. Although sweet, they are not high in calories and provide about 120 calories for a medium sized potato.
12. Tomatoes (Salsa!):
Tomatoes and their products are the primary source of lycopene which is highly protective against cancers of the colon, bladder, prostrate and pancreas. It fights off disease causing free radicals and helps the body detoxify. They are also a rich source of vitamin C and other phytochemicals. Load up on the tomato pasta sauce!
The king of calcium rich foods yoghurt/curd is also rich in B vitamins, vitamins A and D and protein. The yeast and bacteria used to ferment the yoghurt make it rich in ‘probiotics’, which are healthy bacteria which help maintain the health of the digestive tract and also promotes anti cancer activity. These probiotics also boost the immune system.
Vitamin C is the most easily available but the most neglected nutrient in our diets. Just a squeeze of one lemon on the salad and its enough to meet your daily requirement of vitamin C but the primary issue remains- who eats salad everyday? Vitamin C is extremely important in maintaining the immune system, maintaining the body tissues, keeping off cough and cold and other common infections. Lets make life lemon-y!
I have put eggs at the bottom of this list because although it is the best source of protein available it is also rich in fats and cholesterol. But it is advisable to include egg in your daily diet even if you are on a weight loss program because in a little quantity consumed it makes up for a great amount of daily protein requirement. For those with high cholesterol levels, just drop the egg yolk!