5 Foods That Will Keep You Healthy, Youthful, and Happy in 2018!

Don't underestimate these amazing foods! Add them to your diet to have a healthier new year!

There are so many foods we pass by in the grocery store for one reason or another. Studies show that the largest part of the average grocery budget is used in the middle isles of the store. These middle isles holding mostly processed refined foods. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has data that shows Americans not making their dietary recommendations of healthy vegetables and not even making 50% of the recommended dietary requirements of fresh fruits. Meanwhile, this data also shows that Americans are consuming far beyond the recommended dietary requirements for meats and dairy.

Studies also show that the average household grocery budget only devotes about 9.1% of that budget to fresh fruits and vegetables, while a full 15% is devoted to snacks and candy. Fruits, vegetables and nuts are commonly misunderstood annd often thought of as sides, instead of main courses or snacks in themselves. It's never been easier to have access and incorporate these healthy choices into our meals.

It's no secret that we need to shift our grocery experience, we need to spend more time in the healthier parts of the grocery store and cut out those processed foods as much as we can. Having the right information about healthy food choices is a great way to know how to add more of them into your daily intake.

Here are four healthy foods you should add to your diet, that could seriously improve your immune system, curb those sugar cravings and might even become some of your favorites! These foods can be eaten as they are, added to salads or other dishes or even taken on the go as healthy snack choices. Maybe next time you grocery shop, you won't just walk by these items, instead adding them or even substituting them for a less healthy choice. There are so many simple and easy ways to enjoy these foods and boost your health!

Here we go!

1.) Dates

Dates

Many of you might not have even tried dates before. I know I hadn't before a few years ago. Boy, was I missing out! Dates taste sweet like caramel candy. They are so delicious it feels like they shouldn't be good for you, but their health benefits are incredible! Dates are packed with nutrients, such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, and iron. These sweet little treasures are great for bone strength. Dates are great for healthy bellies; they help stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria in the intestines and gut. People who suffer from anemia can find great help if they incorporate dates into their diet! The amount of iron in dates can help create energy and strength while reducing feelings of sluggishness and exhaustion. These sweet treats are a great alternative to sweet processed sugars, because they give you energy while not allowing your body to crash like processed sugars do. They might even help people with seasonal allergies, because of the organic sulfur content they hold which can combat the symptoms people suffer from when those times of the year roll around. So where can you add dates into your diet? Chop and top a salad with some delicious dates for a sweet taste, top your yogurt or acai bowl with them or blend them into a fruit smoothie for added sweetness and texture. Many healthy vegan recipes use dates to replace processed sugars or sweeteners. Even just pitting dates and eating them as they are for a snack is a simple way to enjoy a wonderful food and reap its amazing benefits!

2.) Spinach

Spinach

We all know we need to eat our greens, but where do we start? How can we easily incorporate greens into our diet and enjoy it? It is no secret that spinach is one of the most amazing greens to start eating. First of all, spinach is known for all its amazing flavanoid antioxidants and anti-inflammatory abilities. It's been discovered that spinach, along with a selection of extremely healthy foods, have been proven to protect the central nervous system, delaying the aging process by protecting cells. The special carotenoid compounds found in spinach can be extremely helpful in preventing diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and other neurodegenerative diseases, even obesity. Want to boost your immune system during cold and flu season? Spinach holds everything you need for that healthy boost, proving to be a great source of Vitamin C and K. If it wasn't enough that spinach basically keeps you young and prevents you from getting sick then how about the protein levels that will surely keep you full and energized long beyond that processed snack you might want to reach for. A nice spinach salad is an easy snack or addition to your lunch or dinner, but will provide benefits beyond many other foods. Spinach can also be added to a fresh juice, smoothie or a sandwich. Finding ways to add this delicious superfood into your diet can do amazing things for your health. Next time you are at the store, grab yourself a bag of these leafy beauties!

3.) Almonds

Almonds 

Being a food that was prized even in ancient egyptian times for its healthy properties, almonds are still an amazing addition to any diet. To start off, almonds are great for reducing cholesterol and are full of antioxidants. Being full of healthy fats, almonds, although higher in calories, are great at keeping you full and preventing you from snacking on unhealthy options. Almonds are great for heart health, their riboflavin content also makes them great brain food and they can reduce the brain inflammation that is associated with Alzheimers and Dimentia. Almonds are also great for your skin, maintaining blood sugar levels and weight loss, almonds are a no-brainer to add to your lunch box. We are always looking for those foods that help ward off disease like cancer; almonds contain those antioxidants and work on eliminating damage from free radicals and oxidation. Adding almonds to a fresh salad, topping for yogurt, or event eating them as they are can greatly add to your healthy eating journey. What an easy and delicious way to boost nutrients and protect your body from disease. Snack on some almonds today!

4.) Avocados

Avocado

There is so much to be said for avocados. This incredibly versatile fruit can be added to so many dishes or eaten completely on its own. No matter how you enjoy it, your health will greatly benefit from eating more avocados. Full of vitamin K, folic acid, vitamin C, and potassium, this food is great for your body in more ways than one. Just like many of the foods on this list, avocados are also full of antioxidants that can help fend off cancer and other diseases. Those amazing antioxidants are wonderful for your vision and the fiber levels are great for healthy digestion! The folic acid levels (or folate) mentioned earlier makes avocados wonderful for healthy pregnancy, helping mom stay healthy and strong while helping baby develop and grow. That folate found in avocados may also help decrease the risk of depression by helping the circulation and delivery of nutrients to the brain. All in all, avocados are clearly an amazing food that should not be underestimated. Adding avocado slices to your spinach salad, blending them into a fruit smoothie, eating them with your grilled cheese or other sandwiches are just a few ways to incorporate avocado into your diet. On your next grocery shop, pick up a few avocados!

5.) Berries

Berries

So this one might seem obvious, everyone knows berries are good for you right? However, have we ever stopped to learn why they are great for us and why we should be eating them more often? Berries are nature's dessert; they are sweet, refreshing, and hydrating. Because of their sweetness, berries can be great at improving the body's blood sugar and insulin response. One cup of blueberries can provide 25% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C. This can help build a healthy immune system and also keep skin looking youthful. Berries are full of fiber and great for healthy hearts and arteries. Because of these great benefits on your blood flow, berries can also contribute to better memory. The pigments that give berries their gorgeous colors are proven to protect your cells. Adding some berries to your morning cereal, oatmeal or yogurt can be a great way to increase overall health. Snacking on berries when you have a sugar craving will help you stay healthy and crave the right foods instead of reaching for processed foods and sugars. These little sweet snacks can make a great addition to a salad or blended into a healthy smoothie. Don't second guess the great health benefits that can come from grabbing a carton of berries on your next trip to the grocery store!

So let's make 2018 a year of health! Do it for your youthful glow. Do it for your skin! Whatever reason you reach for these healthy foods, you certainly won't regret it and your body will thank you!

Alexa Johnson
Alexa Johnson

Hi there! I am a 26 year old vegan, photographer, writer, artist and creator. I am passionate about life and all it has to offer. I love to discuss fun topics and write about what inspires me! 

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5 Foods That Will Keep You Healthy, Youthful, and Happy in 2018!