Doctors and nutritionists share the foods they eat for better health

5 foods that doctors and nutritionists eat every day for better health

1. Leafy greens

The importance of leafy green vegetables in your daily diet cannot be overstated — experts recommend it over and over again. Eating leafy greens like spinach and kale supports brain health, and foods that are rich in fiber have been associated with a lower chance of developing depression.

They’re also packed with essential nutrients including vitamin A, folate, vitamin C, iron, vitamin K, potassium and calcium. Green leafy vegetables can easily be tossed into a salad with other nutritious vegetables and fruits.

2. Berries

You should aim to eat fruits every day if you can, experts suggest. And of all fruits, one group seems to reign supreme when it comes to the most health benefits: berries.

Blueberries, in particular, are what longevity researcher, Neil Paulvin, refers to as the “holy grail” of longevity foods. The fruit is abundant in vitamins and antioxidants “that protect your body from infection like a suit of armor,” Paulvin says. They’re also great for eye health, muscle recovery, brain health and strengthening your cells, he adds.

All berries get their color from flavonoids which are a group of phytonutrients that have been linked to improvements in brain health and a reduction in cognitive decline. They also have lower sugar content than other fruits like bananas and mangos.

3. Fish and other lean proteins

Doctors and nutritionists across the board encourage you to limit your consumption of red meat, and swap it out for healthier options like lean proteins including salmon, eggs, tuna and tofu.

Salmon is popular among experts because it has lots of B vitamins which are wonderful for brain health, according to Dr. Uma Naidoo, a Harvard-trained nutritional psychiatrist and author of “Calm Your Mind with Food.”

Fish and shellfish also have lower levels of cholesterol than red meat and are better choices for a healthy heart, cardiologist Dr. Elizabeth Klodas told CNBC Make It in 2022. She prefers to reach for lean protein options like white-fleshed fish including tilapia, cod, bass and halibut.

4. Legumes

Legumes are the “underrated” longevity food that nutritionist Samantha Heller eats daily to boost her immune system. They’re high in protein, fiber, antioxidants and minerals like magnesium and iron, Heller told CNBC Make It in 2022.

Some legumes that you can consider adding to your meals are:

  • Lentils
  • Black beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Soybeans
  • Edamame
  • Lima beans
  • Kidney beans

The high-fiber content in legumes also makes eating them a great choice for a healthy brain.

5. Nuts and seeds

It can be very easy to overlook nuts and seeds, but the tiny foods are packed with omega-3 fatty acids “which help keep your brain cells healthy and lower inflammation,” according to Harvard-trained neuroscientist Lisa Genova.

Sunflower seeds are also “one of the best plant sources of vitamin B5,” according to Naidoo. Just one ounce of the seeds can get you 20% of the recommended daily value of the vitamin, she notes.

Nuts, especially hazelnuts and pecans, are also rich in polyphenols, Naidoo told CNBC Make It. Foods high in polyphenols “are hugely important,” she says, “because they have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant properties [and] fiber, plus multiple micronutrients that our bodies need.”

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Harvard nutritionist: This is the No. 1 vitamin to keep your brain sharp

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