2. Leafy greens – Kale, spinach, and other leafy greens pack a powerful vitamin and mineral punch, especially vitamins A and K, riboflavin, folate, iron, and calcium. They also provide phytonutrients and fiber, and are simple to add to any meal as a side salad or sautéed.
3. Coconut oil – Coconut oil is high in medium chain triglycerides which are more easily converted into energy than other types of fatty acids. The main fat in coconut oil is lauric acid which has antibacterial and antiviral properties. Coconut oil can also benefit skin, hair, and nail health, is great for cooking due to it’s high smoking point, and has a long stable shelf life. Coconut oil is an ideal fat source for people on a low carb or Paleo diet.
4. Berries – Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and the rest of the berry family contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. They also contain phytonutrients like flavonoids, anthocyanins, and tannins that are proving to be beneficial against a huge range of health problems including inflammation, allergies, viruses, and chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Berries are also a delicious source of low glycemic index carbohydrates.
5. Garlic – Garlic is a valued culinary constituent in many dishes across many cultures. Besides being flavorful, garlic is packed with phytonutrients and antioxidants. The benefits of garlic include improved lipid profiles (lower LDL and triglycerides), reduced hypertension, cardiovascular disease prevention, antibacterial and antifungal effects, potential cancer and leukemia treatment, and even increased testosterone.
6. Pumpkin – Most pumpkin consumption is probably in the form of pumpkin pie, but it can also be mashed, roasted, and made into soup. The fruit contains a good amount of vitamin A as beta carotene – the same form found in carrots – as well as most of the other major vitamins and minerals. Pumpkin seeds are also very healthy and are delicious roasted with some salt and pepper. They are a good source of minerals like zinc and magnesium and are high in unsaturated fats, and standardized pumpkin seed extract can support bladder function.