Ten Healthy Foods to Try.

The Introductionhealthy-food-pyramid

There is increasing research out there now that is highlighting there are some ‘superfoods’ that have greater chronic disease (heart disease, diabetes and cancer) management and prevention factors than many other foods. While the bottom line is to ‘go natural’ and avoid ‘processed and packaged foods’, this list of foods is highly recommended by leading nutrition researchers. Sardines, greek  yoghurt, quinoa, avocadoes, chiles, mangoes, pumpkin seeds, chinese broccoli, lentils and chickpeas contain pack plenty of protein, fibre and/or micronutrients crucial for older exercisers.

The List

  1. 1.       Sardines: They are cheap and full of protein, calcium and vitamin D. Go for the ones in water (brine) rather than oil. They are good source of unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids which are great for the immune system, lower blood triglycerides, and decrease the risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends fatty fish twice a week.
  2. 2.       Greek Yoghurt:  It’s a great source of calcium and protein. It may contain slightly more calories than regular yoghurt but has far more protein. It comes in low fat varieties too.
  3. 3.       Quinoa: This South American food has been used by the Inca Indians for over 6,000 years. It looks like a grain but is more closely related to beets than grains. It can be used like rice or couscous and is packed with both protein (it contains all the essential amino acids) and fibre.
  4. 4.       Avocados: These are a great choice for the heart with only 2 grams of saturated fat of the 15 grams of fat in them and heaps of fibre. These features make it great for improving blood cholesterol levels and making us feel full after a meal.
  5. 5.       Chiles: They contain vitamins A and C, are low in calories, and are a great salt alternative to add flavour to a meal.
  6. 6.       Mangoes: Taken fresh, frozen or dried, like most yellow or orange fruits, they are high in beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A.
  7. 7.       Pumpkin Seeds: Also known as pepitas, they are high in protein, fibre and unsaturated fats as are most nuts and seeds.
  8. 8.       Chinese Broccoli: Sometimes called kale, like most dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach or normal broccoli, it is low in calories, high in fibre content, and rich in micronutrients such as vitamins C and K and beta-carotene.
  9. 9.       Lentils: Available in green, yellow, red or brown varieties and cheap, they add excellent bulk to soups, stews or as a side dish. They are also high in fibre and protein and are rich in folate, thiamine and vitamin B6. They are one of the few plant sources of iron with 6.6 milligrams in one cooked cup. Older endurance athletes are suggested to have about 15 mg of iron per day.
  10. 10.   Chickpeas: Canned chickpeas are ready to eat and are an easy addition to a salad, curry or soup. They are rich in both protein and fibre, both crucial for an active and healthy older athlete.

 Ho, V. (2011). 11 healthy foods to try in 2011. Tufts University Health and Nutrition Newsletter. January: 4-5.

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