What Science Says You Should Eat Every Day
By Kate Gardner
In a world where we are constantly told to eat healthy, it can be hard to know what that means. Should you be vegetarian? Should you avoid wheat? Should you cut out all carbs? I don't know the answer to any of those questions, but I do know that science consistently tells us that certain foods are really, really good for us.
First on the list is blueberries. Eating 150 grams, or about a cup, of blueberries a day is linked to a lower risk of heart disease (by up to 15 percent!). The same daily serving size has been shown to lower blood pressure, too. If eating blueberries every day sounds like too much, don't worry. Other berries -- such as strawberries and cranberries -- are thought to have many of the same health benefits as blueberries.
Leafy greens include lettuces and spinach. Studies have connected eating 1 to 1.5 cups per day to a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease. Leafy greens have a lot of Vitamin K1. This vitamin is important in blood clotting and has been linked to improved memory in older adults, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of stroke. If you aren't a big fan of most lettuces, even iceberg lettuce has some Vitamin K. A word of caution -- Vitamin K can interfere with blood thinners. If you're on a blood thinner, talk with your doctor about how much lettuce you can eat.
They're fun to say and good for you too! Cruciferous vegetables are broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. Many studies have associated them with lower cancer and heart disease risks. It's difficult to say how much you should eat per day since studies looked at many different amounts, but several studies found the most health benefits in people who ate one or more cups per day.
You know how people joke that chocolate comes from plants, so eating it is kind of like eating a vegetable? It turns out there's a lot of truth to that. Chocolate is indeed a plant-based food! Dark chocolate (anything with over 70 percent cacao) delivers more flavonoids than just about any other food. Studies have linked eating 1 to 2 ounces per day to better vascular and heart health.
Nuts, any kind of nuts, are part of a healthy diet. Eating about an ounce of your favorite nut, whether that's cashews or pistachios, has been shown to substantially reduce the risk of certain kinds of cancer and heart disease when eaten every day. People who regularly eat nuts may also weigh less and live longer than people who rarely eat nuts.
Of course, there are lots of other foods that are important to eat on a regular basis. But this list shows you how you can map out your daily meals based on foods that you know are good for you.
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Upland, Calif.