1. Chicken – Chicken used to be synonymous with health. It’s got zero carbs, almost zero fat, it’s high in protein, and it’s versatility is almost endless. Over the past decade or so, chicken has been disrespected. Grass-fed beef and wild caught salmon have stolen the spotlight because of their rich omega-3 content, but rich is what you’ll have to be to afford these meats. A pound of grass-fed beef is gonna cost at least $5 per pound, and that’s just for ground. Finer cuts are double that, and a pound of wild caught salmon that’s actually wild caught will be closer to $20. Good ol’ chicken breast? You can usually find it for about $2 per pound. Here’s the kicker: toss in about a dollar’s worth of fish oil capsules and your chicken breast now has a better fatty acid profile than both the wild caught salmon and grass-fed beef!
2. Leafy greens – Kale, spinach, and other leafy greens pack a powerful vitamin and mineral punch, especially vitamins A and K, riboflavin, folate, iron, and calcium. They also provide phytonutrients and fiber, and are simple to add to any meal as a side salad or sautéed.
3. Coconut oil – Coconut oil is high in medium chain triglycerides which are more easily converted into energy than other types of fatty acids. The main fat in coconut oil is lauric acid which has antibacterial and antiviral properties. Coconut oil can also benefit skin, hair, and nail health, is great for cooking due to it’s high smoking point, and has a long stable shelf life. Coconut oil is an ideal fat source for people on a low carb or Paleo diet.
4. Berries – Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and the rest of the berry family contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. They also contain phytonutrients like flavonoids, anthocyanins, and tannins that are proving to be beneficial against a huge range of health problems including inflammation, allergies, viruses, and chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Berries are also a delicious source of low glycemic index carbohydrates.
5. Garlic – Garlic is a valued culinary constituent in many dishes across many cultures. Besides being flavorful, garlic is packed with phytonutrients and antioxidants. The benefits of garlic include improved lipid profiles (lower LDL and triglycerides), reduced hypertension, cardiovascular disease prevention, antibacterial and antifungal effects, potential cancer and leukemia treatment, and even increased testosterone.
6. Pumpkin – Most pumpkin consumption is probably in the form of pumpkin pie, but it can also be mashed, roasted, and made into soup. The fruit contains a good amount of vitamin A as beta carotene – the same form found in carrots – as well as most of the other major vitamins and minerals. Pumpkin seeds are also very healthy and are delicious roasted with some salt and pepper. They are a good source of minerals like zinc and magnesium and are high in unsaturated fats, and standardized pumpkin seed extract can support bladder function.