Everyone starts the day with a routine that often includes taking a quick shower, starting a pot of coffee, and popping some dietary supplements. While a single multivitamin used to seem sufficient to get vital nutrients, that is no longer the case. Studies about nutrition come out all the time, often encouraging people to boost their intake of a particular vitamin or mineral. What started as a regimen of one pill has now turned into an entire pile of supplements that demand a huge glass of water to choke down.
We’ve highlighted seven of the most nutritious foods, which are better for you than anything you’ll find in a bottle.
1. Lean beef
Steak is usually considered an indulgent meal for special occasions. As long as you’re going for lean cuts, beef is a spectacular protein you can afford to eat more often. Men’s Fitness likes the red meat as a protein-packed food to help build muscle. But bulking up isn’t the only reason to turn to beef, because it’s also high in B vitamins and creatine. Creatine might sound familiar if you’re a regular in the weight room. Many bodybuilders swear by it as a way to get results faster. According to Men’s Health, it increases the body’s ability to rapidly produce energy.
2. Collard greens
Collard greens are a great source of calcium. According to Medical News Today, one cup of the cooked greenery will meet 26% of your daily calcium needs. Additionally, collards provide a massive amount of vitamin K, which helps promote blood health and boosts your ability to absorb calcium.
3. Sweet potatoes
According to Time, eating the sweet spuds can completely eliminate the need to take a vitamin A supplement as just one contains 561% of your daily needs. This nutrient supports good vision, boosts your immune system, and helps out your heart. The benefits don’t end there, either. Eating Well reports the tubers provide plenty of fiber, vitamin C, and potassium.
If you turn to a handful of peanuts as a snack, you’re getting a great dose of healthy fats and protein. To give your afternoon nibble even more power, try switching to almonds. The nuts have those same goods, plus vitamin E. The Daily Mail reports this nutrient is key for protecting cells and boosting fertility, and you’ll get halfway to your daily needs with just 20 almonds.
If you’re a fan of strawberries, we’ve found even more reasons for you to load up on the fruit. According to the California Strawberry Commission, the produce is ripe with vitamin C, fiber, folate, and potassium. Men’s Fitness highlights the importance of folate, because it could boost your heart health and reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Slice up some of the berries at breakfast, toss into a salad, or macerate them with a little bit of lemon juice and sugar for a delicious dessert topping.
Many people turn to fish oil supplements to boost the amount of omega-3s in their diets, but you can get those same fatty acids simply from eating more seafood. According to SFGate, going with the fish might be a safer choice anyways, because the supplements can increase your risk for bleeding and weaken your immune system.
Aside from fortified dairy products, certain types of fish are also some of the only sources of vitamin D. Men’s Fitness says vitamin D could help you tone your tummy and reduce your risk of heart disease. Though you can also get some of the nutrient from spending time in the sun, you also increase your risk of developing skin cancer, so seafood is a better bet.
For some reason, people think vitamin C is a magical nutrient that can keep them from ever falling ill. Men’s Health says that just isn’t true. Most people get plenty of vitamin C in their diets with food, and the article went on to say going overboard can lead to gastrointestinal distress. Get a healthy dose with a serving of mango, and you’ll score some other nutrients as well. Men’s Journal says the tropical fruit is a great source of fiber and lands surprisingly low on the glycemic index, so it won’t spike your blood sugar like other sweets.