These 5 Foods Will Improve Your Health

Eating healthy means more than just simply dieting.

What you eat directly affects processes in your body that lead to aging and dysfunction. Improved body composition, mental clarity, sharper focus and even tighter skin are all positive side effects of healthy eating.

Healthy eating doesn't just mean dieting; it means avoiding processed foods, high-sugar items, trans fats, GMOs, and, for many people, gluten, to avoid or reduce inflammation. Why is this important? Because inflammation is linked to a number of concerns, including obesity, accelerated aging, cancer, and autoimmune diseases, to name just a few.

By avoiding the aforementioned foods, you will naturally gravitate to higher fiber items, like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and legumes. A major study of nearly one million people, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found that fiber reduced the risks of mortality for any cause. Researchers attribute the finding to fiber's potential for lowering the risk of chronic diseases.

Tangible Benefits of Healthy Eating

When you eliminate harmful foods, it's vital to replace them with necessary nutrients, like fiber, protein and foods rich in antioxidants. These nutrients provide a wealth of benefits that help slow the aging process and reduce the health risks that typically come with it.

  • Improved muscle mass — As the building blocks for muscle mass and many of the body's biological processes, proteins are important for everyone. For older people, though, this is especially true, because we naturally lose muscle mass as we age. Pasture-raised proteins and a steady exercise routine (complete with strength training) help build and preserve muscle mass at any age.
  • Healthier vital organs — Besides building muscle mass, pasture-raised proteins contain high amounts of Omega 3 fats. They further help reduce inflammation by improving insulin sensitivity. Omega 3 fats also improve overall cardiovascular health and promote stronger, healthier eyes.
  • Better immune system support — Healthy foods play a valuable role in building and maintaining immune support and detoxification. Antioxidants and fiber found in foods such as green leafy vegetables, dark chocolate and nuts can increase blood flow to improve gut health, digestion, and even vascular health. They also improve your hormonal profile, which gives you more energy.

A myriad of healthy choices can help you experience these benefits, but here are five to start you on the right path:

1. Pasture-raised proteins

High-Quality Protein and Carbs

Pasture-raised protein includes meats like beef, bison and chicken that had room to roam and ate their natural diets. It's necessary for building muscle mass, which is a key marker for longevity. It also improves immune function and the ability to detoxify, which boosts overall wellness and a sense of vitality. Combining pasture-raised protein with generous portions of leafy green vegetables is one of the healthiest meal combinations.

2. Leafy green vegetables

Dark Leafy Greens

Whether combined with protein or eaten alone, dark leafy greens promote a healthier gut (the epicenter of your immune system), fight inflammation, provide more energy, strengthen your bones, and help regulate insulin production.

3. Berries

Berry Bowl

Berries of all types can be combined with spinach or kale in a salad, used to make dessert dishes healthier, or eaten alone as a light, healthy snack. They promote low blood pressure, help regulate the ability to manage blood sugar, improve heart and brain function, and more.

4. Dark chocolate

The darker the chocolate, the more it increases blood flow and digestion. Dark chocolate and dark berries have also been shown to improve eye health by protecting blood vessels and capillaries in the eyes. Enjoy an amazing dessert that's kind to your eyesight by melting dark chocolate and drizzling it on top of berries.

5. Spices

Spices

It turns out spices are the spice of life. Give protein and other dishes a kick with spices like turmeric, paprika, ginger, and cayenne. Among other health benefits, they fight excess inflammation, increase metabolism, and lower the risk of cancer.

A healthy diet rich in fiber, proteins and antioxidants not only gives you younger looking skin and enables you to have an active lifestyle, but it can also significantly boost your longevity. Incorporate these five foods to give yourself a long, healthy life.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: PROTEIN | ENERGY | CHICKEN | FRUITS AND VEGETABLES | NUTRIENTS | ANTIOXIDANTS | HEALTHY FOODS