When it comes to mental and physical health, most people’s diets are deficient in the vitamins and minerals their bodies need to succeed. We’ve all heard the term “superfoods,” which refers to foods rich in vital nutrients. But just as important as incorporating these choices into our daily diets is discovering how we go about doing it.
“Across the board, as dietitians, we like to categorize foods,” says Julia Zumpano, a registered dietitian at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Human Nutrition. “It’s the methodology around not limiting yourself to one food but enhancing your choices within a category of food.”
She recommends focusing on whole foods, plant-based foods, berries, legumes, nuts, seeds, fish — specifically tuna and salmon — and healthy fats, such as extra virgin olive oil.
“The key is a variety of foods, and eating a good basis of nutrition each day,” Zumpano says.
When adding these choices into your diet, it’s also important to remove foods that do your body harm. They include beverages such as soda and alcohol, white bread, cookies, white condiments and processed meats.
“If you’re going to have a bacon-and-egg croissant and add blueberries, you’re not going to feel amazing,” Zumpano explains. “It’s important that we remove foods that are inflammatory and replace them with foods that are anti-inflammatory.”
The result: “You’ll physically feel better, sleep better and be less lethargic,” Zumpano says. “You’ll have more energy to exercise, and you might find that your hands and feet are less swollen and you have more joint movement.”