Experts suggest that there are certain foods that people should be eating every day. These include lean protein and a variety of vegetables. Additionally, including foods like olive oil, nuts, and berries can help people lower their risk of certain chronic conditions.
Eating a healthy diet that includes all food groups can help a person improve their intake of essential nutrients.
Many people eat repetitive diets and the same foods every week. However, including the following foods in weekly meal plans can help you stay healthy and perform at their best.
For example, a person could try a 2 week rotating meal plan and vary their sources of protein, vegetables, and berries. This provides variety and a range of nutrients.
This article looks at some of the healthiest foods to include in your diet every day. It examines what research says about its health benefits and gives some tips for consuming it.
People need protein for healthy growth and development and to maintain muscle mass.
Consuming protein with every meal can help balance blood sugar levels and avoid the spikes that can occur from consuming carbohydrates on their own. This approach can help people maintain their energy levels and focus.
The amount of protein a person needs depends on factors such as gender, age, and weight. In addition, protein needs vary based on how much and what type of activity the person is doing and whether they are pregnant or breastfeeding.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggests that most people in the United States get enough protein, but choose leaner meats and poultry and increase the variety of protein foods by choosing meat less.
According to the USDA, adults need 5–7 ounces of protein every day. The following are examples of common healthy protein foods and their protein content:
- 1 sandwich slice of turkey = 1 oz
- 1 small chicken breast = 3 oz
- 1 can of tuna, drained = 3–4 oz
- 1 salmon steak = 4-6 oz
- 1 egg = 1 ounce
- 1 tablespoon of peanut butter = 1 oz
- 1 cup of lentil soup = 2 oz
- 1 soy or bean burger patty = 2 oz
- a quarter cup of tofu = 2 oz
People should try varying their protein sources to consume a wide variety of amino acids and other essential nutrients.
Cruciferous vegetables contain sulfur-containing compounds called glucosinolates. These are good for your health.
According to a 2020 review, glucosinolates regulate cell pathways and genes and can have cancer-fighting and anti-inflammatory effects.
The compounds can also be beneficial for treating and preventing metabolic syndrome, but scientists need to do more research to prove this.
The following is a list of cruciferous vegetables that people can eat every day:
- Broccoli sprouts
- Brussels sprouts
In addition to sulfur compounds, cruciferous vegetables are also a rich source of fiber and many essential vitamins and minerals.
Leafy vegetables like arugula and watercress also contain beneficial sulfur compounds.
Health professionals like the American Heart Association (AHA) recognize the Mediterranean diet as one of the healthiest ways to eat.
Eating a diet that focuses on vegetables, such as a plant-based diet and the Mediterranean diet, can help reduce the risk of chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Eating a range of different colored vegetables every day helps to absorb a wide range of phytonutrients, which are beneficial plant compounds.
The USDA’s MyPlate resource recommends that adults eat 2-4 cups of vegetables per day, depending on their gender, age, weight, and activity level.
The USDA also advises that people eat different colored plant-based foods, including leafy greens, beans, and lentils.
Eating berries can help people meet some of their daily nutritional goals.
For example, a 2015 study suggested that consuming a 100-gram serving of raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries could cover more than 50% of your daily needs for manganese, vitamins such as vitamin C and folic acid, and phytochemicals.
Berries are excellent sources of bioactive compounds like phenolic acids, flavonoids, and anthocyanins. Because these compounds act as antioxidants, they can prevent cardiovascular disease and lower the risk of some cancers.
Some berries that you should be eating every day include the following:
Fresh or frozen berries are better than dried varieties, which contain only 20% as many phytonutrients.
Research shows that consuming nuts daily can be beneficial for health.
For example, a 2019 prospective study of over 16,217 adults with diabetes found that people who ate 5 or more servings of nuts each week were at lower risk of coronary artery disease, cardiovascular disease, and mortality than those who ate less than Ate 1 serving of nuts per month.
Tree nuts, in particular, were more beneficial than peanuts in preventing chronic disease.
A 2020 study suggested that some people may be reluctant to eat nuts due to their high fat content.
However, the authors pointed out that nuts are nutrient-rich foods that do not have a detrimental effect on body weight. If they replace other less healthy foods in the diet, they can even help to reduce body weight.
Some people cannot eat nuts because of an allergy. For those who can eat nuts, choosing plain, unflavoured, and unsalted nuts is a healthy option. All nuts contain essential minerals like calcium, magnesium and zinc.
Brazil nuts are one of the best dietary sources of the mineral selenium, with a single nut providing 95.8 micrograms (mcg). This is significantly more than an adult’s daily requirement of 55 mcg.
Olive oil is an important part of the Mediterranean diet. Olives are rich in polyphenols. These act as antioxidants and protect the body from oxidative damage.
A 2018 study suggested that the phenolic compounds in olive oil had cancer-fighting and anti-inflammatory properties in test-tube studies.
Although scientists need to do more human research, the authors of this study suggested that people who consume less olive oil could benefit from increasing their intake.
Extra virgin and unfiltered olive oil contains the highest content of beneficial polyphenols. However, good quality olive oil is usually more expensive, so people can reserve it to drizzle over salads and vegetables. Using standard olive oil for cooking can be more cost effective.
Including lean protein, vegetables, and nuts in the diet every day can help people stay healthy and prevent certain chronic diseases.
Some plant-based foods, such as cruciferous vegetables and berries, contain particularly beneficial compounds, including polyphenols and glucosinolates.
Incorporating these foods into a weekly meal plan, possibly on a 2-week alternation, can help ensure a person receives a wide variety of beneficial nutrients. It also prevents repetitive dieting and can be more satisfying and engaging.