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Education, Food, Food Truth, Nutrient Basics, Nutrition Tips

The 6 Foods You Need to be Eating Daily

The term “eating healthy” is such a vague concept, it is often hard to know how to do it, and if we are doing it right. We all have unique needs depending on our basic physiology, lifestyle and goals, but there are some foods where one size truly fits all. These are the foods that serve a function, and if eaten daily can help bring you the health you are looking for. They help provide the essential nutrition needed to function at our optimum – warding off disease, aging, and cancer, promoting basic detoxification, aid in hormone balance, and keep the immune system running efficiently. These are the 6 foods you need to be eating daily. The ones that count the most, have the biggest impact and do the most good. So for all of you who are wondering what a simple way to improve your diet and your health are, here it is. The 6 foods you need to be eating daily. Focus on including them any way you can, using your own creativity or by following a few of my favorite recipes, and feel proud of yourself for giving your body the nutrition it needs.

the-6-foods-you-need-to-eat-daily-cruciferous-collard-greens-2

The 6 Foods You Need to be Eating Daily

Cruciferous Vegetables

Examples: cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, bok choy, rapini, chard and arugula

Why are they so important?

Cruciferous vegetables are well known to have extraordinary health benefits. Not only are they rich in fiber, they have great detoxifying capabilities. Cruciferous vegetables contain a compound called sulforaphane. Stanford University scientists determined that sulforaphane boosts your levels of cancer-fighting enzymes higher than any other plant chemical. As a result, its consumption can lower the risk for bladder cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer. Cruciferous vegetables are also a natural source of a compound called DIM, diindolymethane. DIM helps to detoxify xenoestrogens from the body, or foreign estrogen. We are consistently exposed to xenoestrogens from the use of plastics (especially drinking out of plastic bottles), soy, the chemicals in personal care products and household cleaners, non-organic meat and dairy, and non-organic produce. The reason this is an issue is because xenoestrogens interrupt hormone balance. This can lead to a host of issues including lower testosterone levels, abdominal weight gain, gynecomastia (breast tissue growth), infertility, erectile dysfunction, thyroid issues, pms and pcos. By eating cruciferous vegetables we help to clear these xenoestrogens and help promote healthy hormone balance.

  • Have anti-cancer effects
  • High in fiber – promote normal bowel movements
  • Aid in detoxification at the liver
  • Promote clearance of xenoestrogen
  • Aid in hormone balance
  • Sulfur compounds have anti-inflammatory effects
  • Protect against cellular damage and protects DNA
  • Promotes healthy cholesterol levels
  • Potential health benefit for eye health and insulin resistance

Favorite recipes to try:

Citrus Brussels Sprouts Slaw with Crispy Rice Paper “Bacon” Bits

Creamy French Lentils with Mushrooms and Kale

Winter Vegetable Chowder with Mustard, Lemon and Crispy Cabbage

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Dates and Lentils

Lemon Broccoli Pasta

the-6-foods-you-need-to-eat-daily-healthy-fats-salmon

Healthy Fats

Examples: wild salmon (not farm-raised), hemp seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, flax seeds, flax seed oil, mackerel, sardines and anchovies

Why are they so important?

Healthy fats are defined here as being rich in omega fatty acids, specifically omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids are well researched and well known to have profound health benefits. In fact, they are one of the top supplement recommendations by doctors. They are essential for keeping the heart healthy, the brain functioning well (and preventing its decline), for the development of the fetus, cognitive development of children, and for reducing inflammation and promoting mental well-being. Here are just some of their benefits:

  • Cardiovascular health (by lowering blood pressure, cholesterol, plaque buildup in the arteries, and the chance of having a heart attack or stroke)
  • Stabilizing blood sugar levels (preventing diabetes)
  • Reducing muscle, bone and joint pain by lowering inflammation
  • Helping balance cholesterol levels
  • Improving mood and preventing depression
  • Sharpening the mind and helping with concentration and learning
  • Boosting immunity
  • Treating digestive disorders like ulcerative colitis
  • Reducing risk for cancer and helping prevent cancer recurrence
  • Improving appearance, especially skin health
  • Essential for pregnancy and the development of a healthy child

Favorites recipes to try:

Lemon Kale Salad with Seared Salmon

Raspberry and Chia Parfait

Chia Rhubarb Apricot Muffins

Raw Hemp Protein Bars

Fennel Salad with Avocado and Walnuts

the-6-foods-you-need-to-eat-daily-fermented-foods-probiotics

Fermented Foods

Examples: sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, kefir, organic yogurt, organic tempeh, organic miso, nama shoyu, kvass

Why are they so important?

Fermented foods are rich in probiotics. Have you heard of probiotics? Probiotics are a healthy bacteria that line your digestive tract and support your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and fight infection. While they naturally occur, they often are diminished due to stress, poor eating habits, antibiotic use and the occurrence of unhealthy bad bacteria. Eating fermented foods help the healthy bacteria colonize in the gut, offering numerous health benefits. Here are some ways in which probiotics improve health although numerous research studies are currently underway to discover more ways in which they benefit health.

  • Keeps immune system strong
  • Recovery from antibiotic use
  • Great for pregnancy
  • Fights off bad bacteria in the gut
  • Improves digestion
  • Makes vitamins
  • Improves mood, prevents depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders
  • Keeps skin healthy especially in cases of eczema and acne
  • Prevents toxins from entering the bloodstream
  • Increases resistance to food borne illness
  • Prevents and treats urinary tract infections
  • Aids in the healing of IBS: irritable bowel syndrome
  • Beneficial for those with intestinal issues and food allergies

Recipes to try:

Probiotic Rich Avocado Reuben Salad

Brew your own Kombucha

Korean Lettuce Wraps with Kimchi

Honey Nut Granola Bowls

Smokey Tempeh Sandwich with Sundried Tomato Pesto

the-6-foods-you-need-to-eat-daily-berries

Berries

Examples: blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, mulberries, acai berry, boysenberry, cranberry, currant, goji berry

Why are they so important?

You know how berries are rich in bright colors? Well, those colors are because they are high in antioxidants, also called phytonutrients. Antioxidants are what protect our cells from damage, damage from toxins that they are constantly exposed to on a daily basis. The more antioxidants we have, the more our cells can remain healthy, youthful and disease-free. Berries are also low in sugar, meaning that they do not cause stress on our pancreas and glucose levels. This keeps our energy high, and our hormones in optimal condition.

  • Promote anti-aging
  • Improves cardiovascular health
  • Improves cognition including memory, slows down and postpones cognitive disorders
  • Favorable impact on blood sugar regulation including those with type II diabetes
  • Protects eyes against damage
  • May protect against breast cancer, colon cancer, esophageal cancer, prostate cancer and cancers of the small intestine
  • May promote weight loss
  • High in fiber, essential for normal bowel movements, detoxification, and weight loss

Favorite recipes to try:

Mango Goji Guacamole

Berry Beet Velvet Smoothie

Blueberry Basil Smoothie

Superfood Salad with Blueberry Ginger Dressing

Cranberry Pepita Energy Bars

the-6-foods-you-need-to-eat-daily-sea salt

Unheated Sea Salt

Why is it so important?

Unlike table salt, unrefined sea salt is a natural salt. It is not bleached, and has no added anti-clumping agents, additives or chemicals. Nor is it stripped of its trace minerals. High-quality sea salts typically contain 60 trace minerals. In the case of Himalayan sea salt, the number is said to be 84. Trace minerals are hard to come by due to depleted soil, making the inclusion of sea salt into the diet very important. In addition, due to its complete mineral profile, it does not cause stress on the body like table salt. Sea salt is an excellent electrolyte source, keeping you hydrated especially during hot days, exercise and other daily activities. It also helps the body to maintain proper pH, and it is the raw material used by the kidneys for many of its daily functions. Given these benefits, it’s imperative to use unrefined sea salt and to eliminate refined table salt.

  • Essential for digestion- salt aids in HCL (hydrochloric acid) production in the stomach, needed for digestion, normal bowel movement and acid reflux prevention
  • Creates an alkaline environment- pushes excess acidity from cells
  • Needed for the absorption of nutrients through the intestinal tract
  • Helps balance blood sugar levels
  • Needed for nerve transmission
  • Essential for normal fluid balance
  • Prevents muscle cramps and twitching
  • Plays a role in sleep regulation
  • Keeps the body hydrated
  • Prevents chapped lips
  • Supports for adrenal health

Favorite sea salt: Premier Research Labs Pink Salt

the-6-foods-you-need-to-eat-daily-turmeric-anti-cancer

Anti-Cancer foods

Examples: green tea and matcha green tea, pomegranate, Brazil nuts, turmeric

Why are they so important?

I think at this point we can almost all say that we have been touched by cancer. Whether that is personally, or with a family or friend, cancer is ever pervasive. While there are factors from which we have no control, we do have control of our diet and lifestyle. It is known that what we eat can have great influence over the development of cancer, and so eating foods that prevent it has become essential to our daily practice. Certain foods have been shown to prevent the development of cancer, or even to slow or halt its growth. This includes green tea and matcha green tea, pomegranate, Brazil nuts (high in anti-cancer mineral selenium) and turmeric. The more the better. While including one every day is great, including more is even better.

*to learn more about an anti-cancer diet, go here.

Favorite recipes to try:

Roasted Carrots + Rice with Turmeric Broth

Baked Eggplant with Brussels Sprouts, Lentils and Pomegranate

Dragon Fruit, Pomegranate & Macadamia with Creamy Mint & Lime Dressing

Matcha Green Granola Bars

Matcha Tea Latte

Turmeric Lassi

Turmeric Milk

the-6-foods-you-need-to-eat-daily-seaweed

Bonus Foods

The following food has a great impact on health but isn’t necessary to eat daily in all cases. That is why it is not one of the 6 foods you need to be eating daily, but rather weekly. I would recommend eating it 2-3 times a week as a goal.

Seaweed

Why is it so important?

Seaweed is rich in the mineral iodine. Iodine is a mineral that most of us do not eat that often, yet it is very important to our health. Iodine is needed for thyroid function. The thyroid is an important gland that secretes hormones that play a role in metabolism (keeping you fit and lean), mood (keeping you happy and optimistic), your body temperature regulated, and you nice and fertile (if that is in your life plan).

Seaweed is one the best sources of minerals, specifically iodine, calcium, iron, magnesium. This is especially important for women, since women often require higher levels of these minerals to prevent osteoporosis, anemia, menstrual cramps, constipation and depression. Iodine is especially important as it is needed for normal thyroid functioning. A deficiency can lead to hypothyroidism. Iodine can also help to protect against radiation exposure. Radiation can be an underlying cause of conditions of the thyroid and parathyroid, and is known to cause cancer and birth defects.

  • Excellent source of iodine, vitamin C, manganese, and vitamin B2
  • Have the broadest range of minerals of all foods
  • Essential source of iodine, necessary for thyroid health
  • Contain unique polysaccharides called fucoidans that are anti-inflammatory
  • Promote cardiovascular health, may lower cholesterol
  • Have potential anti-viral properties
  • Potential anti-cancer effects especially in colon cancer and estrogen-related cancers

Favorite way to eat seaweed:

Roasted Nori by SeaSnax

Quinoa Spring Sushi

Kale Caesar Nori Wrap

Poke Inspired Beet Bowl

Autumn Sushi with Celery Root “Rice”

There you have it! Eat up and enjoy real health!

 

*This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a portion of the sale with no extra cost to you. These sales are what keeps The Holy Kale a cost-free educational website. Thank you for your support.

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3 Comments

  • Reply Christy Garner May 3, 2017 at 7:38 pm

    This is an awesome article Lauren! Thanks for sharing and making eating healthy so simple. You are a girl genius. 🙂

    • Lauren The Holy Kale
      Reply Lauren The Holy Kale May 10, 2017 at 4:22 pm

      Love you!

  • Reply Good Advice on Food – The Small, Good Things October 27, 2017 at 10:21 am

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