Eating healthy is like going to your job; you have to do it everyday whether you like it or not.
When you consume nutrient-rich foods, your body repays you with a healthier heart, increased energy, and the ability to fight off numerous illnesses. We have put together a list of nutritional foods that are not only very tasty, but also some of the world's healthiest. These are some of the best foods men can pick up at the local grocer:
Bananas - A naturally sweet fruit that can be harvested year around. One of our best sources of potassium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), bananas may help prevent high blood pressure and may protect against type 2 diabetes. They can also help improve your body's ability to absorb calcium, promoting bone health.
When choosing bananas at your grocer, pick ones that are firm, but not too hard. They should be bright in color and free from bruises or scarring. Despite their rugged appearance, bananas are delicate and will often bruise and scar quickly. Some other foods high in potassium like bananas include broccoli, soybeans potatoes, avocados, apricots, pomegranates, and turnips.
Collard Greens - High in vitamins K, A, and C, collard greens are one of the most popular and most healthy Southern vegetable traditions. This leafy green offers several nutrients as part of the %DV serving you should get. These include manganese, folate, calcium, fiber, potassium, vitamin E, omega 3 fatty acides, and zinc.
Collards are an excellent source of vitamin A and zinc, two nutrients that can significantly improve our immune system function. Collard greens are also high in folate and a very good source of vitamin B6, both of which are needed to maintain low levels of homocysteine - a chemical compound that could present a cardiovascular risk in high levels.
When buying collards, look for firm, unwilted leaves that have a deep green color. Yellow or brown leaves show signs of nutrient loss.
Wheat and Bran - Unless you live on a wheat farm in Kansas, your best source for this valuable grain is breads, pasta, crackers, and cereals. In its most natural unrefined state, wheat contains important nutrients. To receive the full benefit from wheat, it is important to choose wheat products made from whole wheat flour rather than those that are refined.
Be sure to select 100% whole wheat products. These foods retain the bran and the germ, a very good source of dietary fiber and manganese.
Eating foods high in insoluble fiber, such as whole wheat or bran cereals and breads -- substantially lowers the risk for Type 2 Diabetes and may help reduce the risk of other health issues like gallstones. Studies also show that eating whole grains such as whole wheat, has been linked to protection against atherosclerosis, insulin resistance, and diabetes.
Cabbage - Cabbage is a worldwide staple vegetable available year around. Cabbage is high in vitamins K, C, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), fiber, folate, and manganese. Research has shown that cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage lowers the risk of prostate and colorectal cancer. Choose cabbage heads that are firm with shiny, crisp, and colorful leaves. While outer leaves are green and inner leaves are whiter, they should all be free of cracks, bruises and blemishes.
According to the George Mateljan Foundation World's Healthiest Foods resource, cabbage's anti-carcinogenic glucosinolates are formed by the activity of myrosinase enzymes, which are released when cabbage is sliced or chopped. These enzymes are deplenished when cabbage is overcooked.
Salmon - We all know that fish is much better for you than steaks and pot roast. Dozens of fish and seafood dishes like salmon provide invaluable amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon contains two kinds of omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) -- both of which are excellent for promoting a healthy heart by preventing erratic heart rhythms and making blood less likely to clot inside arteries. Eating salmon, as little as twice a month, may protect against ischemic stroke (a stroke caused by lack of blood supply to the brain), colorectal cancer, and prostate cancer.
Eating salmon that is either broiled or baked may reduce risk of atrial fibrillation, the most common type of heart arrhythmia. While frying salmon tastes great, it can mean less protection against atrial fibrillation and often increases the production of harmful fats.
Apples - "An apple a day..." This old statement still holds true and this versatile fruit is packed full of fiber and vitamin C. Apples contain both insoluble and soluble fiber which are critical in lowering cholesterol levels and reducing the risks for stroke and heart attack. Eating apples with their nutritional peels left on, can stabilize bowel movements and help relieve constipation. The all important peel contains concentrations of special antioxidant compounds that may assist in the prevention of a number of chronic diseases.
The fructose (natural sugars) in apples is can help keep blood sugar levels stable and also behaves like a natural sweetner -- perfect for baking or snacks.
Lima Beans - Rich in soluble fiber, protein, and iron -- lima beans can be a great complimentary vegetable for baked chicken and rice dishes. The high fiber content in these legumes prevent blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making them an especially good choice for people with diabetes. Lima beans' rich supply of magnesium and folate contribute to good cardiovascular health, and their high protein value can act as a replacement for red meat dishes in your diet.
Sometimes called "butter beans", a cup of limas contain about 23% of the total daily value of iron men should get.