Food can be one of the best medicines for our bodies, states Dr. Alfred Sparman, the CEO and Lead Interventional Cardiologist at The Sparman Clinic, located in St. Michael, Barbados. Dr. Alfred Sparman shares a list of the top five healthiest foods to eat to help your body get the essential vitamins and minerals it needs to stay healthy and function at its best.
Leafy greens such as spinach are packed full of nutrients which include Vitamin A, Vitamin K and folate — which is excellent for women who are pregnant. Spinach has often been touted as the healthiest food on the planet. It is packed with energy and low in calories, and can be eaten fresh, frozen and canned. Add it to a smoothie for a virtually tasteless vitamin boost or sauté it with onion and add it to everything from omelets to pasta sauce.
Leafy greens are nutritional superheroes. A single cup of cooked spinach has 41 calories and tons of other vitamins and minerals, including Manganese, Magnesium, Iron, Copper, Vitamins B2, B6, E, C, Potassium and so much more. Spinach can help prevent disease, improve the quality of your skin, and even curb your appetite.
Black beans are often underrated, but they are jam packed full of healthy antioxidants, states Alfred Sparman. Black beans are full of fiber, which helps keep you feeling full for longer periods of time. They also contain calcium and protein. For those who do not eat meat, black beans are an excellent way to help your body absorb the critical nutrients it needs to stay healthy. Black beans are mild in flavor and easy to add to almost any dish — but are most commonly added to Mexican food such as burritos, nachos, tacos and much more.
Additionally, Black beans are cheap, making them a great alternative to meat-based proteins. 1 cup of canned low-sodium black beans contains 218 calories, 14.5 grams of protein, 0.7 grams of fat, and 40 grams of carbohydrates, as well as 16.6 grams of fiber, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc and more. Black beans help lower ‘bad’ cholesterol levels, protect bone health, improve blood pressure, and aid in digestion.
Not all fat is bad. Avocado is known as one of the world’s healthiest fats. If you eat one to two avocado each week, your body will be taking in healthy monounsaturated fats, Vitamin B6 and folate. They are also extremely easy to add to meals, including on salads, smoothies, and on toast. Alfred Sparman recommends seasoning avocado with some salt and pepper and a small squeeze of lime to increase the flavor.
Raspberries are a delicious way to help keep your body healthy and disease free. They can be eaten fresh or frozen, providing you with plenty of Vitamin C, calcium and iron. They’re also filled with antioxidants, which decrease your risk of diseases such as cancer. They’re tasty, easy to find, and great with breakfast. Dr. Alfred Sparman suggests adding some raspberries to your yogurt, smoothies, or salad.
Dark chocolate can be healthy? It’s almost too good to be true — but it is, says Dr. Sparman. Dark chocolate contains several antioxidants, which helps prevent disease and lowers the risk of heart conditions. It also boosts your mood naturally. Remember, however, dark chocolate should be eaten in moderation — 1–2 squares a day is best, and the darker the chocolate, the healthier it is.
Finally, Dr. Alfred Sparman notes that eating healthy food is only one step on the pathway to a healthier life. Combined with proper exercise, these healthy foods can help you to feel better — both inside and out.