Last week I wrote an article about the 7 unhealthiest foods in the diet, ones that you would do best to avoid. Now it’s time for the opposite… the foods that you can and should eat. Even if you banish the unhealthy modern foods from your diet, you can still eat an endless variety of healthy and delicious foods.
This includes beef, pork, lamb, chicken and various other animals. Humans are omnivores. We have been eating meat for hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of years. Our species thrived eating a combination of animals and plants.
The problem today is that meat isn’t like it used to be. It often lookslike meat, but was harvested from animals that ate grains and were pumped full of hormones and antibiotics to make them grow faster.
If the meat comes from animals that weren’t pumped full of drugs and given unnatural foods, it is extremely healthy.
Beef from cows that ate grass and were allowed to move around, pastured chickens, meat from lambs that got to roam around the countryside… this is what meat is supposed to be like.
- More Omega-3 and less Omega-6.
- Much more Conjucated Linoleic Acid (CLA) – which can lower body fat and increase lean mass.
- More vitamin A, vitamin E and the cellular antioxidant Glutathione.
It is a great idea to consume meat from healthy, naturally raised animals.
However, if money is tight, don’t sweat it. Choosing conventionally raised meat is still a million times better than the standard western diet.
Includes salmon, trout, haddock, cod, sardines and many, many others. In nutrition, people tend to disagree a lot. Among the few things that everyone seems to agree on is that fish is good for you.
Fish is rich in high quality proteins, various essential nutrients and Omega-3 fatty acids, which are excellent for the brain, the heart and various other parts of the body. Omega-3 fatty acids appear to be especially important for mental health and prevention of cardiovascular disease (4).
Omega-3′s are very beneficial for depression, which means that eating fish 1-2 times per week may literally make you feel better every single day (5).
Eggs are among the healthiest foods on the planet and the yolk is by far the most nutritious part. Just imagine, the nutrients contained in one egg are enough to grow an entire baby chicken. Despite the fear mongering of the past few decades, eating eggs does NOT give you heart attacks. It’s nonsense.
Eating eggs changes your cholesterol from small, dense LDL (bad) to large LDL (good), increases HDL (good) cholesterol and provides the unique antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin which are incredibly important for eye health (7).
Eggs are high on the satiety index which means that they are particularly prone to make you feel full and eat less overall calories (8).
A study in 30 overweight and obese women revealed that a breakfast of eggs (compared to a bagel) made them eat less overall calories for up to 36 hours (9).
Spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and many, many others. Vegetables are rich in fiber, antioxidants and many nutrients that are important for the human body. In observational studies, eating vegetables is associated with a lower risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease (10, 11, 12, 13).
I recommend eating vegetables every day. They’re healthy, fulfilling, low in calories and add variety to the diet.
Generally considered healthy, fruit has been under some heavy attack recently due to the high fructose content. But fruits are more than just bags of fructose. They’re also high in fiber, antioxidants, vitamin c, have a low energy density and are almost impossible to overeat on.
If you like fruits, eat them, but don’t eat more than 1 piece per day if you need to lose weight as they are still pretty high in carbs.
6. Nuts and Seeds
Includes almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and many others. Nuts and seeds contain a lot of essential nutrients and are particularly high in Vitamin E and magnesium.
However, nuts are high in calories and can hinder weight loss for some people. Therefore, I suggest eating nuts in moderation if you find yourself constantly snacking on them.
Root vegetables like potatoes and sweet potatoes are healthy, nutritious and very satiating. Many populations around the world have eaten massive amounts of tubers and remained in excellent health (17, 18).
However, they are still very high in carbs and prevent the metabolic adaptation required to reap the full benefits of low-carb diets.
8. Fats and Oils
Supplement your diet with some healthy fats and oils such as butter, coconut oil, lard, olive oil and others.If you don’t eat much Omega-3 and/or Vitamin D3, include a tablespoon of cod fish liver oil each day. It’s not delicious, but you’ll get used to it.
For high-heat cooking, it’s best to choose saturated fats like coconut oil and butter. Their lack of double bonds makes them more resistant to the high heat.
Extra virgin olive oil is great as an addition to salads and to improve flavor.
9. High-Fat Dairy
Cheese, cream, butter, full-fat yogurt. High-fat dairy products are rich in healthy fats, calcium and other nutrients. If the cows are grass-fed, the dairy products will be rich in Vitamin K2, important for bone and cardiovascular health (17, 18).
In a large review study published in 2012, consumption of high-fat dairy was associated with a lower risk of weight gain over time (19).
Observational studies from Holland and Australia revealed that those who ate the most high-fat dairy had a much lower risk of cardiovascular disease and death compared to those who ate the least (20, 21).
Of course, these observational studies don’t prove that high-fat dairy caused the improvement and not all studies agree on this, but it sure as hell suggests that high-fat dairy products aren’t the villain they’ve been made out to be.
All of this makes the advice of dietitians to choose low-fat dairy products (usually high in sugar) to be very questionable.