Quite often, our clients ask me what my favourite healthy foods are … I mean, where do I even start, there are soooo many healthy foods that you need right now! Something to know about me is that I LOVE food. And if it’s healthy, then it’s just pure adoration. So I thought I would share some of my favourites with you and why they made the cut. I’ve tagged them as a “Must” have or “Like” to have, and some I have included a particular brand and link to buy if there is one I really swear by.
18 Healthy Foods That You Need In Your Life
1. Organic Raw Cacao | Must
I’m obsessed with raw cacao. I remember when I first tried it and although I’ve always been a dark chocolate girl, I thought it was just a little too bitter tasting but I got used! Now I love the richness bitter chocolate flavour and have it as a staple in my pantry. I use it to make hot chocolate with water and just a bit of organic honey and nut milk or oat milk (perfect for cravings!). Or I mix it with coconut oil or raw cacao butter for a delicious chocolate treat. Cacao is loaded with antioxidants, flavonoids, catechins, magnesium, iron and minerals. It also contains Theobromine, which is similar to caffeine but without such a strong effect of the nervous system. It can help with fat burning, energy and even with PMS symptoms (ladies!) but careful using this at night as it may disrupt your sleep. Via Coconut My Body
2. Bone Broth | Like
I found out about bone broth from my holistic GP who recommend it to me to restore my gut flora. I would get a bag of hormone-free beef bones and marrow from my bulk butcher for about $5 and that makes about two big batches in my 6L slow cooker. I used to do this every fortnight or so and freeze some so I have it ready to use. After cooking for between 24-48 hours you end up with a rich, gelatinous broth which is able to be used for soups, cooking or as a warm drink with some sea salt and pepper. It’s amazingly rich in minerals, which is super important as our soil is more mineral depleted now. It even contains glucosamine and chondroitin which can help with arthritis and joint pain (and is far cheaper and more natural than buying supplements.) It doesn’t have any preservative or additives like most store bought stocks, so it’s perfect to use in soups. Now that I eat more plant-based I don’t really make this anymore, but it’s amazing for gut health. Have a look at Nourished Kitchen’s post about the benefits of bone broth and on Balanced Bites for a good recipe.
3. Organic Raw Coconut Oil | Must
I LOVE coconut oil. Even though coconut oil is a saturated fat, you have to take into account that 50% of coconut fat is lauric acid which our bodies convert into monolaurin – this has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-protozoa (anti-fungal) properties too. It’s rich in MCFAs (medium-chain fatty acids) which are easy to digest. They are immediately burned by your liver for energy just like carbohydrates, causing no insulin spike and boost your metabolism. So eat it, cook with it, make chocolate with it, drizzle it, rub it in your skin and hair. So versatile! Via Carolyn’s Cooking
4. Liquid chlorophyll | Must
I like to have around 5-10ml of chlorophyll a day mixed into water. I drink it in the morning and during my workout. It tastes like mint, which is really refreshing. One of the amazing benefits of chlorophyll is that its molecular structure is identical to hemoglobin (red blood cells) except for the center atom. In hemoglobin, the center atom is iron, whereas in chlorophyll it is magnesium. When you drink it, it actually helps to do the job of hemoglobin which is to transport oxygen around the body. So it is great for general health but also helps pump blood around to your muscles so can allow you to have a more effective workout and recovery. Like most green foods, it is very cleansing in your body and supports the removal of toxins from the liver. Plus, apparently it is a natural deodoriser, keeping the digestive system moving and your sweat smelling better (I haven’t tried to measure this so can’t say honestly!).
5. Whole-food Fruit & Vegetable Supplement (Juice Plus) | Must
This is the biggest must on my list of all. Since 2003, I have eaten 2 of each of the fruit blend, veggie blend and berry blend every single day. Whilst we pretend we eat enough fruit and veggies, very very few of us do and could all use a little support! I like to think of it as my nutritional baseline or ‘antioxidant insurance program’. It’s backed by clinical research studies that show it provides phytonutrients to your body that are bioavailable (i.e. absorbed your body) which reduces oxidative stress, boosts your immune system, reduces systemic inflammation, supports cardiovascular health and protects DNA damage. Oh, and it’s amazing for your skin, hair and nail health too (we use it in our Beauty Blitz Bundle program). Via The Vibrant Vegan
6. Chickpea/Legume Pasta | Like
Chickpea pasta is the bomb! It’s gluten-free, but less refined and fewer carbs than most other gluten-free pasta. Plus, it’s an excellent vegan protein source and the stuff tastes really good! You can get lentil pasta too. Did I mention it’s also packed with fibre? YUP. This is how you can eat your pasta sans gluten and feel awesome about it!
7. Green tea | Like
If I’m trying to cut back on coffee, then green tea is always my go to! It gives me that little caffeine kick without the jitters, but importantly it is full of antioxidants and is also beneficial to boosting metabolism and fat burning (although you need around 5 cups a day to really get the fat burning benefits.) I also like to have real stone-ground Japanese Matcha tea in the pantry…this is probably the best quality and highest cultivated green tea you can get and it is actually the whole tea leaf ground down so you are consuming it all. It is rich in chlorophyll which makes it bright green, and when you mix it with (almost) boiling water you get a beautiful, sweet and bitter tea which you can feel the energy from almost instantly. Another interesting point about Matcha tea is that is a source of EGCG or Epigallocatechin Gallate, a compound unique to green teas. It has shown to have anti-cancer, anti-aging and overall health benefits. Plus, Matcha contains a much higher amount of EGCG than regular brewed green tea AND Matcha also has over 33 times the antioxidant levels of antioxidant powerhouse blueberries. Convinced yet?
8. Cinnamon (& Spices) | Must
Cinnamon is my favourite spice. I love the flavour, and it works so well across both sweet and savoury dishes. It’s great for regulating blood sugar, lowering LDL, cholesterol and triglycerides, is anti-viral and anti-microbial (so perfect if you are going sugar-free due to candida overgrowth.) I normally have around 1 tsp a day, so in a smoothie, in tea or coffee, on fruit or with coconut milk/cream (try it on grilled chicken too – so good!). I also have a fairly large collection of other spices (and herbs) which are so useful for huge flavour without the calories, additives and plenty of benefits unique to each spice.
9. Himalayan Pink Salt | Must
I love love LOVE this pink salt. Or Celtic Sea Salt. Salt often get a bad name, but within the right context of a whole food, clean diet it is good! If you are eating a lot of processed and packaged foods, then you are likely eating a lot of processed sodium too so I would not suggest added extra salt to your food. I don’t eat a lot of packaged foods, so I use Himalayan Pink Salt to season my recipes. Himalayan Pink Salt is not on the same par as your nasty table salt. It contains the full spectrum of 84 minerals and trace elements – it’s unrefined, unprocessed “raw” salt from salt caves that were formed 250 million years ago as ocean salt settled in certain geologic pockets around the earth. If you’re eating clean, exercising regularly and sweating out all your minerals…then feel free to sprinkle some on the good pink stuff.
10. Almonds | Like
Ahhh almonds, the nut in every health nut’s pocket! I have to say, this probably a favourite of most people who want a healthy snack that will keep them going without a big carb slump. They are easy to overeat, so I like to make sure I’m strict with portion sizes, generally sticking to 20-30 grams. If you can, buy raw almonds, soak them for 8-12 hours in salted (Himalayan of course) water, rinse well and eat within 24 hours OR dehydrate them until cripsy so you can store them. The soaking releases the enzymes inhibitors so they are much easy for your digestive system to process. It also reduces the phytic acid content. Plus, dehydrating them makes them deliciously crispy! Almonds (or other nuts) make a great mid-afternoon snack, full of healthy fats and some protein so you will make it through to dinner.
11. Dark Chocolate | Like
I have always been a dark chocolate girl. If I’m going to eat chocolate I want it to be the BEST. Green & Blacks 70-80% is one of my favourite brands or Alter Eco – but it’s super easy to make your own raw chocolate too!
12. Raw Cacao Butter | Like
This is the secret to making your own raw chocolate at home! Cacao butter is the natural fat extracted from the cacao bean, so it’s got lots of good nutrients in it. But the coolest thing about raw cacao butter is that it has a higher melting point than coconut oil, which means you can make raw chocolate or treats and they won’t become a melting mess as soon as you take them out of the fridge. Plus the flavour is not overwhelming, so I always prefer to use cacao butter over coconut oil for raw treats.
13. Herbal Tea | Must
I love teas and always have a large collection. We’re talking about a dedicated ‘Tea Drawer’ here. My favourite game is offering guests a cup of tea, asking what one they like and they reply “what do you have?” 😉 Herbal teas are perfect for after dinner when you are craving something sweet but don’t want to have the sugar or calories. Yogi Tea has an amazing selection. TIP: Nettle tea is worth a mention here for its health properties and sweet flavour. It’s a mild diuretic so can help reduce fluid retention, supports thyroid function because of its iodine levels, is high in minerals and vitamins and has a list of other benefits. I started drinking it to help with digestion and bloating and have noticed it definitely assists in reducing fluid retention.
14. Organic Eggs | Must
Ok eggs HAD to be on this list of my favourite foods. Whilst I eat mostly plant-based, I still love eggs, poached, scrambled, fried, boiled you name it. They are a fantastic source of protein and good fats and lots of nutrients. Eggs are not just for breakfast either. They make great snacks (hard-boiled). They’re perfect for quick dinners, throw some leftover veggies in a pan and crack a few eggs over top for an impromptu and delicious meal. I like adding them to stir-frys OR on top of oats or rice too (think savoury porridge – trust me, it’s good!).
15. Nut Butter | Like
Where do I start with nut butters. So delicious. Too delicious. Nutella ain’t got nothing on raw cacao mixed into hazelnut butter! Obviously, nut butter has all the benefits of nuts, you can buy them in jars or just make them yourself at home. Check the sugar content and if nasty vegetable oils are added – my favourites are Mayver’s and Maranatha.
16. Apple Cider Vinegar | Like
I started using ACV after my holistic GP recommended it before meals to help with digestion. It is the acetic acid which can slow the digestion of starch which can help to lower the rise in glucose that commonly occurs after meals. Its made from fermenting apple juice to apple cider and then again to the vinegar. You must dilute it with water first or it will BURN. It’s excellent for detoxification, helping with weight loss, cravings and you can even add it to your skincare routine!
17. Organic Coffee | Must
Coffee is something I adore but don’t always drink. I stopped it altogether for a while when restoring my gut flora as it was really not agreeing with me, and when I feel like I am relying on it too much then I like to go a few weeks without drinking it. I prefer it to be something I drink every few days and on the weekends, not because I’m tired and need one every morning! You must get organic coffee, it obviously doesn’t have all the nasty pesticides and you won’t notice the jitters as much either. Coffee plantations are one of the most heavily pesticide-laden crops in the world, so organic is really important to ensure you are getting the most antioxidants and benefits from these delicious beans. I think organic also tastes a lot better. Please don’t talk to me about instant coffee. 😉
18. Chia Seeds | Must
I pretty much always have chia seeds in the pantry, although I don’t eat them every day. If you haven’t had them before, they are pretty odd, turning gelatinous when you mix them with water. They are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids with something like 60% alpha-linolenic acid. They are also fairly high in protein and full of soluble fibre.<.div> I like making chia seed pudding with them or adding them to smoothies, salads, raw chocolates, yoghurt etc…<.div>