About half of all Americans routinely take dietary supplements. The most common ones are multivitamin and multimineral supplements. Is it true that vitamins & minerals in the bottle actually match the biologically active compounds from your plate? No, absolutely no. Foods are the best source of vitamins and minerals.
It’s the part of plant foods that we can’t digest. Eating foods high in fiber helps reduce total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, improve blood sugar control, and prevent constipation. High-fiber foods also help with weight loss by making you feel full.
There are lots of high-fiber foods to choose from:
- brown rice
- bulgur (cracked wheat)
- beans and lentils
Vitamins and minerals
Vitamins are organic substances found in plants and animals. Minerals are inorganic elements from the earth (soil and water). Both are essential for normal growth and optimal health.
Here’s a list of vitamins and minerals that are crucial for good health, plus the best food sources of each:
- iron — meat, poultry, fish, and beans
- vitamin A — carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale
- vitamin B12 — meat, poultry, fish
- vitamin E — nuts, seeds, vegetable oils
Phytochemicals are chemicals made by plants. They are not essential to life, but they do have a positive effect on health. Diets rich in phytochemicals have been associated with a lower risk of chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. They are found in fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains.
The following is a list of key phytochemicals, plus the best food sources of each.
- flavonoids — blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries
- carotenoids — orange vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and winter squash
- lycopene — tomatoes
- isoflavones — soy foods, such as soybeans (or edamame)
- resveratrol — red grapes
- catechins — teas
So, make your own diet plan by choosing 2 to 3 from each of fiber, vitamins and minerals, phytochemicals, eating in a better way makes you healthier.