Healthy snacks and foods are, well, snacks and foods that happen to be largely healthy and beneficial for the human body. These foods and snacks come in a number of different shapes, sizes, and indeed varieties, but some of the more popular and beneficial food items tend to include the following:
Brown flax seeds
Brown flax seeds are incredibly healthy and beneficial for us as they contain a number of nutrients including ALA and lignans. They’re a great source of healthy fats and have been found to help reduce inflammation, headaches, joint pain, and much more besides.
Natural peanut butter
Natural peanut butter is light years ahead of regular peanut butter, both in terms of taste and health benefits. Store bought generic versions are pumped full of extra trans fats, salts, sugars, and chemical preservatives that are extremely bad for us. Natural peanut butter is basically just ground organic and natural peanuts, with nothing added, and nothing taken away, providing a high protein snack rich in healthy fats.
Quick rolled oats
Quick rolled oats are extremely good for us, particularly in the morning because they provide a sustained release of energy that isn’t used up too quickly by the body. The energy is slow and steady and so it keeps us going for hours whilst it digests and breaks down. Quick rolled oats are also a great source of vitamins and minerals including B-vitamins and iron.
Walnuts are considered one of the healthiest foods in the world, yet are still vastly underrated. Walnuts are rich in omega 3’s, proteins, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. They also taste great and are very convenient as they can be eaten on the go as a healthy snack, or added to salads and other dishes to increase the nutrient content.
Natural almond butter
Almonds are also great sources of protein and other nutrients, and natural almond butter is beneficial in pretty much exactly the same way as natural peanut butter is, especially when compared with cheap, store-bought generic versions from the store.
Organic virgin coconut oil
Over the last two years, coconut oil has become more and more popular amongst keen health food enthusiasts and sales of this wonderful oil have sky rocketed. This trend is almost certain to continue because the benefits are incredible. It is full of nutrients, it’s low in trans and saturated fat, it helps improve the cardiovascular system, it’s not greasy like other cooking oils, and it actually tastes great. It can even be used on the hair or skin as a moisturiser.
What are some of the most common benefits of eating healthy snacks and foods?
Some of the main benefits of consuming a diet rich in healthy snacks and foods include the following:
They help promote lean muscle
Some healthy snacks, peanut butter, walnut pieces, almond butter etc, are great sources of protein, which is vital for the growth and repair of our muscle fibres and tissues. Studies have shown that individuals that consume a high protein diet will have larger than average lean muscle mass levels, even if they don’t lift weights regularly.
They can improve athletic performance
Another benefit is that healthy snacks and foods have been proven to improve athletic performance. Healthy fats for example, are broken down and absorbed quickly, and as fat is the body’s preferred energy source, foods rich in healthy fats, coconut oil, natural peanut butter, walnuts etc, provide a quick burst of energy, which makes them ideal for sporting events where sudden and explosive movements are required. As they benefit the muscles and improve muscle health and function, athletes will again benefit before events, during events, and following events and training when they need to recover.
They promote fat loss
One of the main benefits of eating healthy snacks and foods is the fact that not only do they prevent weight gain, they can actually assist in weight loss. This happens in a number of ways, depending on which foods you eat. If the foods are rich in healthy fats, these fats actually increase natural fat burning enzymes within the body, so more body fat is burnt off as a result. The oats, which are slowly and gradually broken down, are rich in fiber and so keep us feeling full for longer. The fuller we feel, the less we will eat, and the less calories we will consume. Other foods and snacks also help to boost the metabolism.
They promote general health and well being
The clue’s in the name HEALTHY snacks and foods. As they’re full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients, the body thrives upon these foods and becomes fitter and healthier than ever before.
Healthy snacks versus unhealthy snacks
Unfortunately, most snacks these days are very unhealthy as they are loaded full of fat, salt, sugar, and various flavourings, chemicals, and preservatives that harm our bodies in numerous ways, including contributing towards cancer. Healthy snacks are all natural, contain nothing fake, nothing harmful, and nothing added, so not only do we not gain weight by snacking on them (in moderation) we actually can lose weight and improve various other aspects of our health in the process.
How and when should healthy snacks and food be consumed, and are they safe?
Healthy snacks and foods are designed to be consumed basically when you’re hungry, or when you require food. If you do feel peckish, a handful of walnut pieces and an apple would be an ideal snack. They aren’t supplements, they’re food and should be incorporated into your everyday diets and lifestyles. The occasional naughty treat now and then is fine, providing that most of the time the foods and drinks you consume are healthy, natural, and good for you. Providing you aren’t allergic to them (nuts for example) healthy snacks and foods are incredibly safe, although again, moderation is key. They do still contain calories and fats, even if they are healthy, and so overconsumption can lead to weight gain, stomach upsets and issues, flatulence, indigestion, heart burn, and much more on top of that. Providing you have no allergies or intolerances to the foods you consume, moderation is the key, as you should gradually incorporate them into your everyday diet.