We know there are dozens of nutritious superfoods we should be eating on a daily basis. But that’s a lot to keep track of, and frankly our grocery list is long enough as it is. So in the interest of keeping things simple, we asked three certified nutritionists—Elissa Goodman, Meryl Pritchard, and Kelly LeVeque—to name just one food we’re all not eating enough of. And believe it or not, they were in agreement. Keep reading to find out what we should all add to our shopping lists!
Fats. Yep, that’s right. These top nutritionists think we’re not eating enough fat—healthy fat, that is. “I always say fat makes you thin,” Goodman says (and she’s not alone). “Women especially have a bad association with fat, and assume it actually makes you fat—and some fat will, but it's the type of fat that matters,” Pritchard says. According to Goodman, we don’t need to concerned with limiting healthy fats in our diet. “You do need to be concerned about trans fats and sugars,” she says.
Fat is essential for life. “Your brain is made up of fat and needs healthy fats to function properly. Fats are your secondary energy source, and they build and protect your cells,” Pritchard says. “Good fats promote a healthy immune system, help us to feel satiated, carry vitamins A, D, E, and K throughout your body, prevent diseases and cancer, and even keep your skin looking youthful and healthy. Omega-3 fatty acids especially contribute to soft, supple, wrinkle-free skin—something we all want,” Goodman says. Certain fats, like coconut oil, which contains lauric acid, can even aid weight loss. “Fat tends to be more satiating and will make you want to eat less,” Pritchard says. Which is great news, considering she also says most of us are “over-consumers.”
Make raw nuts, seeds, nut oils, coconut oil, ghee, avocados, and fatty fish (like salmon) a part of your everyday diet. One easy way to do so is to follow Pritchard’s lead and add almond butter, coconut oil, or flax seed to your morning smoothies. She also recommends checking out the Nourishing Traditions ($19) cookbook by Sally Fallon and looking into the Weston A. Price Foundation for more information on the benefits of healthy fats.
In all honesty, our experts did have a little trouble narrowing down their suggestions to just one must-eat food, so we decided to include the runners-up. Keep scrolling for two more nutritionist-recommended foods!
“My superfood of choice for clients is oysters for three reasons, zinc, omega 3, and B12,” LeVeque says. “This trifecta supports brain, hormone, and skin health.” According to LeVeque, zinc is the most important because it’s a mineral many women are missing. “Zinc is needed for collagen formation, it’s involved in blood sugar control, and helps your body produce hundreds of enzymes, including those that break down alcohol and digest carbohydrates. Omega 3, an anti-inflammatory fatty acid, hydrates your skin, supports brain health, and regulates triglyceride levels. Lastly, B12 is known for boosting mood, energy, concentration, and your immune system.” Leveque says you can have low levels of these nutrients and function just fine, but optimal levels make a huge difference. Her suggestion? Order a seafood tower when you go out to eat or buy wild canned oysters at the grocery store and bake them with spinach and garlic.
And let’s not forget about the latest health trend: fermented foods. “Probiotic rich, fermented foods not only heal and seal our gut, but they are the key to a balanced, healthy gut,” Goodman says. “In addition to providing essential nutrients (including vitamin K and B vitamins), fermented foods boost your immune system and aid in production of antibodies—and as you know, your immune system is your first line of defense against disease! Fermented foods draw out toxins, and provide a wide variety of beneficial bacteria, which help you maintain a healthy weight, and help balance your mental and physical well being,” Goodman says. Add kraut, kimchi, kombucha, kefir, miso, and pickled vegetables to your diet to reap the benefits of fermented food.
Do you eat enough healthy fats? What about fermented foods and oysters?