It’s easy to become overwhelmed with advice about nutrition. There are endless diet trends telling us what to eat and what not to eat. They often contradict each other.
One piece of nutrition advice that will always hold true is to eat a variety of foods. We really need foods from all of the food groups to get the most well-rounded nutrition.
In this article, we’ll highlight the most important foods to eat to boost your nutrition, with some tips to add variety to your diet.
1. Eat more fruit, and add some variety
With popular diet trends like low carb and keto, sometimes fruit gets a bad rep. The truth is, fruit is one of the most nutrient-dense foods out there.
First, fruit is an amazing source of fiber. One cup of raspberries contains 9 grams! Fiber is essential for cardiovascular health and to keep the digestive system functioning as it should. It also helps with blood sugar and weight management.
The truth is, the vast majority of Americans aren’t getting enough fiber. Adding fruit is one of the easiest ways to get more.
Fruit is also like nature’s vitamin. It’s known as the go-to source for vitamin C, which keeps you healthy, aids in wound healing and helps you absorb iron.
Make it a goal to eat as many different colors and types of fruits as possible to get more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Tips to eat more fruit
Fruit is portable and delicious on its own, but there are some other easy ways to get more fruit in your day.
If you struggle to eat fruit before it goes bad, keep it in your freezer. Then, you can easily throw a handful in your morning smoothie to boost your breakfast nutrition.
If you enjoy cold cereal, oatmeal, or pancakes in the morning, fruit can add nutrition and flavor. Berries and sliced bananas make great add-ins at breakfast.
2. Don’t skip the cruciferous and root veggies
Obviously, a nutritious diet is going to include veggies. However, there are some specific types of vegetables to pay special attention to. If your produce intake could use some variety, your body will thank you for including some cruciferous and root vegetables.
Scientists who study cancer are especially interested in cruciferous vegetables. They contain sulfur-rich compounds called glucosinolates, that break down during digestion into several other cancer-fighting compounds.
Studies suggest that these compounds protect your cells while also promoting cancer cell death. They may prevent tumor formation and growth, and even fight bacteria and viruses.
To up your cruciferous veggie intake, try some of these:
- Brussels Sprouts
How root vegetables boost nutrition
Root vegetables are just plants you can eat, that also grow in the ground. These are the ones you can dig up in your garden. They’re packed with fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants.
Here are some of the best root veggies to add to your diet:
- Sweet Potato
- White Potato
- Celery Root
Try cooking with more onion, garlic, and ginger to add flavor and boost nutrition. Or, try roasting some potatoes, beets, or carrots. This might become one of your favorite easy side dishes.
Some spices are made with root vegetables too, like turmeric and ginger. Even a small amount of these spices have potent health benefits when you eat them on a regular basis.
For example, turmeric is one of the best anti-inflammatory foods in the world. The compound responsible for this benefit is curcumin, which also helps lower cholesterol and prevent blood clots.
3. Get your greens
If you look up a food source for pretty much any specific vitamin or mineral, there’s a good chance that you’ll see leafy greens on the list. There’s a reason why Popeye was so big on spinach, right?
Dark leafy greens contain an impressive list of vitamins and minerals. They’re also known for providing antioxidants that protect our cells from disease.
If you’re not a fan of greens or you can’t stand the thought of eating a salad every day, try one of these easy ways to eat more greens:
- Blend kale or spinach into a smoothie
- Add collard greens or kale to soup
- Put spinach or romaine in your favorite wrap
- Add greens to stir fry
- Add a scoop of Naked Greens to water or your favorite drink
4. Some types of meat boost nutrition more than others
Protein might be your main concern when you put meat on your plate. However, meat actually offers a lot more in terms of nutrition.
It’s important to note that not all meats are created equal. The nutrient density of the meat you’re eating depends on the source, cut, and quality.
For example, grass-fed beef is well worth the extra cost in the grocery store for more nutrition. Not only is grass-fed beef lower in saturated fat than regular, but it can also have five times the amount of healthy fats and a much better vitamins and minerals content.
Many people skip seafood or don’t eat it on a regular basis. If that’s you, you’re missing out on a ton of nutrition. Fish is an amazing source of protein and heart-healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3s aren’t just important for your heart. DHA is a type of omega-3 that is crucial for brain health and development. Scientists believe this is why people who eat more fish have signs of better brain function and less depression.
Fish is an easy source of vitamin D as well. A lot of people in the United States are actually vitamin D deficient, especially as they age. Eating fish on a weekly basis can prevent or improve deficiency.
Typically when we eat meat, we’re eating muscle tissue. Even though organ meat sounds less appealing to some, it’s actually more nutritious. Examples of organ meats include beef liver,
In addition to high-quality protein, organ meat is rich in all of the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), as well as folate, B12, and a long list of minerals, including iron, magnesium, selenium, and zinc.
If you want to include more organ meat in your diet, try mixing it with a regular cut of beef in a meat sauce or a stew.
5. Take a multivitamin
No one’s diet is perfect all the time. Life happens, and sometimes eating a huge variety of foods just falls on the backburner.
Taking a multivitamin is a great way to fill in the nutritional gaps, especially to make sure you’re getting those hard-to-get nutrients on a regular basis.
Be careful though, because not all multivitamins offer the same variety. You want the most bang for your buck, and of course, something that works for you.
To get the most complete multivitamin, look for something that contains a variety of vitamins and minerals, and any other ingredients that benefit your specific needs. For example, some groups need more iron, while others may need to supplement heart-healthy fats. Both can be found in multivitamins.
Each multi provides the important stuff that everyone needs, as well as additional nutrients targeted toward men and women.
For example, the Men’s Multi concentrates on prostate and immune support but doesn’t include iron. The Women’s Multi includes iron and targets hormone and immune support.
Eating from all food groups with variety in mind is really the easiest and best way to ensure you’re getting the most well-rounded diet possible.
Foods like colorful fruits, cruciferous and root veggies, leafy greens, and high-quality meats easily boost nutrition.
However, no diet is perfect. To ensure you’re filling in all of the nutritional gaps, you might consider adding a multivitamin like Naked’s Men’s Multi or Women’s Multi.