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The Healthiest Foods You Can Find - the Top Five (Part One)

Aug 18, 2007
And here we are at the Food Oscars, waiting for the envelope (please!) What are the healthiest foods you can eat, and how do they help you to live better?

Like movie actors, there are a lot of foods out there with some good qualities. But only a few foods contribute Oscar-quality nutrition and improve our lives. Some of these foods are so nutritious that they deserve an award, an Oscar, and a place on your plate.

"And the Oscars for the five healthiest foods go to..."
Whole Grains

This article will focus on the first three.

Salmon is an excellent source of protein and is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which lower the levels of LDL, or "bad" cholesterol in the blood, and increase the level of HDL, or "good" cholesterol in the blood. Salmon is a very versatile food that can easily be substituted for other types of meats such as beef or pork in many different recipes. The American Heart Association recommends that everyone eat at least two servings of fish on a weekly basis and it strongly recommends the consumption of fatty fish, like salmon. It is best to choose wild salmon, as it has more omega-3 fatty acids than farm-raised salmon. Most canned and frozen salmon is wild-caught, so they have the same benefits to your health.

Soy comes in many forms. Tofu is a soy product. It is full of all of the essential amino acids that the body requires. Soybeans are the only known vegetable sources that can make this claim. Soybeans are also very rich in the omega-3 fatty acids, the B vitamins, fiber, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and zinc. A regular diet that includes soy is one that will lead to an overall low level of total cholesterol, as well as LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Soy is beneficial in preventing heart disease, and can help to reduce the incidence of osteoporosis, breast cancer and prostate cancer.

All vegetables are healthy but greens are especially healthy. The best greens to eat include chard (or "Swiss Chard"), collard greens, kale, bok choy, broccoli, asparagus, and green beans. These greens are all rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron and phytonutrients. Broccoli, for example, is beneficial in preventing the onset of heart disease, diabetes and a variety of cancers. If, like George Bush Sr., you don't like the taste of broccoli, then eat it in recipes such as Chinese beef and broccoli or in a stir-fry with soy sauce. Another option is to eat broccoli raw but with other vegetables such as on a vegetable platter with a zesty dip for added flavor. Green vegetables are low in calories and very high in fiber. Foods that are high in fiber are also filling so that means you do not need to eat too large a helping in order to feel that you have eaten enough.

Greens can be eaten raw or cooked. If you eat them raw, you get the maximum health benefit, just make sure to clean them before you use them. Add raw greens to a salad or simply just snack on them and munch away! One of the best ways to prepare greens is to steam them, as steaming maintains much of the nutritional content, except for Vitamin C, which is heat-labile. Stir-fries are another healthy way to toss together your greens.
About the Author
Scott Meyers is a staff writer for Its Entirely Natural, a resource for helping you achieve a naturally healthy body, mind, and spirit. You may contact our writers through the web site. Follow this link for more information on Food Cures.
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