via Live Strong – Ashley Schwader
Almonds, like many nuts, are one of the best plant sources of protein. Protein will help regulate your blood sugar and keep your energy level stable throughout the day. Almonds are also good for your heart because they contain monounsaturated fat which may help lower blood cholesterol levels. In addition to protein, almonds contain fiber, riboflavin, magnesium, iron and calcium. The USDA states that almonds have more calcium than any other nut—75 milligrams (mg) in one serving (about 23 almonds). One serving of almonds also provides half of your body’s Recommended Dietary Allowance of vitamin E.
Fiber will help satisfy your appetite and give you a quick energy supply by making you feel full. Apples contain pectin, a soluble fiber that can lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Antioxidants, like vitamin C, will help protect your body’s cells from damage and fresh apples are an excellent source of vitamin C. Vitamin C also helps form the connective tissue collagen, keeps your capillaries and blood vessels healthy, and aids in the absorption of iron.
Blueberries have been shown to improve short-term memory and promote healthy aging. Blueberries are also a low-calorie source of fiber and vitamin C. According to the USDA, just 1 cup of fresh blueberries has 84 calories, 3.6 grams of fiber and 14 mg of vitamin C.
Broccoli is another great source of the antioxidants vitamins A and C to protect your cells from damage. It is also a good source of calcium, potassium, folate and fiber. All of these will leave you with energy and a strong immune system.
Small and dark red beans are low in fat, high in protein and fiber which will leave you feeling full and energized. A good source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper and thiamin red beans also contain phytonutrients.
Salmon is low in saturated fat and cholesterol and is a good source of protein. Most importantly though salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are a type of fat that makes your blood less likely to form clots and may also protect against irregular heartbeats, decrease triglyceride levels, decrease the growth of artery-clogging plaques, lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke.
The plant compounds in spinach may boost your immune system and help keep your hair and skin healthy. Spinach is also high in vitamins A and C and folate. According to the Mayo Clinic it’s a good source of riboflavin, vitamin B-6, calcium, iron and magnesium.
With only 54 calories in one small sweet potato, this delicious food is fat-free and low in calories. In addition, the deep orange-yellow color of sweet potatoes means that they’re high in the antioxidant beta carotene. Food sources of beta carotene, which are converted to vitamin A in your body, may help slow the aging process and reduce the risk of some cancers. Sweet potatoes are also good sources of fiber, vitamins B-6, C and E, folate and potassium.
The center of a grain of wheat is the wheat germ. The germ is a highly concentrated source of nutrients, including niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin E, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron and zinc. The germ also contains protein and fiber. Be sure to read the label and look for whole grain and whole wheat as the first ingredient. Try to add in moderate amounts of whole grain products to stabilize your blood sugar, provide you with fiber, and give you long-lasting energy.
Raspberries are one of the most high-fiber fruits. This is important because fiber moves quickly and relatively easily through your digestive tract and helps it function properly. Just one cup of raspberries provides 8 grams of total fiber and only 64 calories.