5 Underrated Health Foods to Add to Your Diet
June 6, 2019
If you're at all health-conscious, you know the benefits of tucking into a choice bit of salmon, chowing down on some avocado, and treating yourself to the occasional square of dark chocolate. We all know to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, to get enough protein, and to favor healthy fats over the not so healthy ones, but there are certain nutrient-dense foods many of us could stand to add to our diets. Check out these underrated health foods and discover how they may be able to improve your diet.
The humble oyster hides all sorts of nutritional goodness inside its shell. With a decent amount of protein and omega-3s, fairly low calories, and loads of vitamins and minerals, you'd be doing yourself a favor to hit an oyster happy hour near you. If you eschew eating meat but keep the occasional fruits de mer on the menu, oysters are a great way to get your daily dose of vitamin B12. Getting enough B12 can be tricky for those who don't eat meat, poultry, dairy, or eggs. Oysters are also brimming with iron, zinc, selenium, vitamin D, and other dietary must-haves.
Of course, there are risks associated with eating raw oysters so anyone out there who's pregnant or has a weaker immune system should only enjoy cooked oysters. Besides, there are few things in this world as tasty as a grilled oyster.
Seaweed may be a staple for your favorite sushi, but this green sea veggie is ultra-healthy. Marine seaweeds are loaded with essential nutrients like iodine, iron, calcium, and magnesium, as well as a range of antioxidants. Antioxidants help do everything from supporting the immune system to possibly helping to reduce the risk of heart disease. Add a little seaweed to soups, use it for a salad, or sprinkle it over your favorite fish dishes.
If you've struggled to tame your sweet tooth, dates are a healthy way to satisfy sugar cravings while eating well. They're another food packed with micronutrients, antioxidants, and fiber. Many people don't get enough fiber in their diets which is a real tragedy considering all the good it does for the body. Fiber does more than keep you regular – it can help you lose weight, which in turn reduces the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. Dates are a real winner if you enjoy making protein bars or granola at home. They also make a tasty snack if you need a midday pick-me-up while you're on the go.
You probably already know of the major benefits that come from eating more nuts and seeds. You may have a stash of flaxseed or sunflower seeds in your cupboard, but next time you hit the supermarket, you may want to pick up some chia seeds as well. Chock-full of fiber, protein, omega-3s, magnesium, and more, chia seeds are both low in calories and outrageously nutritious. The best way to add this superstar seed to your diet is to add it into juices or smoothies, your morning bowl of oatmeal or yogurt, or anything really.
This white root vegetable (and relative of the carrot) is often overlooked which is a real shame. A serving of parsnips dishes up a solid amount of fiber, about a quarter of your daily vitamin C and K needs, plus generous amounts of folate, and several other micronutrients and antioxidants. To wit, cooking up some roasted or mashed parsnips during the week can support your immune system, improve digestion, and may protect you against some of the diseases we've highlighted above. And they're tasty to boot. What's not to love?
Naturally, there are plenty of other oft-forgotten foods that can help to supercharge your diet. Meat eaters and flexitarians may want to check out the benefits of eating organ meats (in moderation), while pretty much anyone can gain from adding spices like cumin, cardamom, or clove to their cooking. At the end of the day, it's important to maintain a balanced diet which consists of plenty of vegetables and fruits, quality protein and fat sources whether the come from meat, fish, poultry, nuts, or legumes, as well as whole grain and other healthy foods.
Written by Camille Berry for Knockaround