Some might think that limiting yourself to healthy foods means severely depriving you of choices. The truth is, when you are eating for optimum wellness, your choices explode. Here we take a look at some common healthy foods and show you which are best when it comes to powering up your body.

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Apple versus Orange

The truth is – you can compare them ;). While oranges are slightly higher in calories than apples, you may be surprised to learn that oranges provide more vitamins, minerals and fiber. Maybe the old saying should be changed to, “An orange a day keeps the doctor away.”
Winner: Orange

Salmon versus Shrimp
Shrimp is a good source of protein, but it’s also high in cholesterol. Salmon, especially wild salmon, is rich in vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, which protects your heart.
Winner: Salmon

 

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PS: you can get the freshest, tastiest salmon in Charlotte HERE. Don’t miss their Heart Month special focus (including stress-free, already-prepared options) on this delicious fish!

Kale versus Romaine
Kale is higher in fiber and calcium than romaine lettuce and is loaded with antioxidants. It’s also rich in vitamin K, which aids in blood clotting and cell growth.
Winner: Kale

Walnuts versus Almonds
Nuts tend to be high in calories and fat, but the monosaturated fat in nuts is healthier than the saturated fat found in meat and dairy products. Walnuts in particular have high omega-3-fatty-acid levels, which is beneficial for heart health. A recent study also found that walnuts have some of the highest antioxidant content among all nuts.
Winner: Walnuts

Blue versus Acai Berries
While blueberries are indeed a potent antioxidant, acai berries contain more antioxidants (33) than any other food on the planet. They’re also loaded with vitamins, minerals and even Omega-3 fatty acids to boost heart health, reduce inflammation and fight heart disease.
Winner: Acai Berries

 

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Black versus White Beans
All legumes are packed with fiber and make a great meat substitute, but studies indicate the darker the bean, the higher it may be in antioxidants. Black beans also have a small amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which boosts heart health.
Winner: Black Beans

Granola versus Bran Cereal
Granola may be natural but it’s often high in fat. Whole-grain bran cereal is packed with fiber. Serve with skim milk and fruit for a nutritious start to your day.
Winner: Bran Cereal

Broccoli versus Cauliflower
Broccoli packs twice the amount of calcium and more fiber, iron, and vitamins A, C and K than cauliflower. Either way, everyone wins in this battle: both vegetables are low in calories and high in nutrients, so eat as much as you can!
Winner: Broccoli

Brown Rice versus Quinoa
Brown rice has a low-fat content and contains more niacin (vitamin B3) to help lower cholesterol.
However, quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”) has recently gained popularity and is truly a super-grain. It contains all eight of the essential amino acids we need for tissue development and has almost twice as much fiber as most other grains. It is also gluten free and a good source of calcium.
Winner: Quinoa

Sweet versus White Potato
All potatoes are a fabulous source of fiber but sweet potatoes provide 400 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin A, an essential nutrient for healthy vision, teeth, skeletal tissue and skin. They also have more fiber and fewer total carbs. But we’re not talking yams here – those are different – and be sure to eat the skin; there’s plenty of nutrients in there too!
Winner: Sweet Potato

Zucchini versus Eggplant
Here’s another battle where you really can’t lose. Both zucchini and eggplant pack a ton of vitamins and minerals and are low in calories. However, zucchini offers a quarter of your daily recommended vitamin C and nearly three times the vitamin A than eggplant. And really, either are great in any Italian cooking (but watch the fat and sauces).
Winner: Zucchini by a nose

Chicken versus Beef
If you’re worried about heart health, chicken is the better choice. Both chicken and beef provide nutrients that support cardiovascular health, but chicken provides fewer grams of saturated fat and cholesterol and similar levels of other nutrients compared to beef. Chicken is also lower in calories per serving than beef.
Winner: Chicken

Milk versus Dark Chocolate
Everyone needs a treat now and then, so which is the “better” chocolate? Dark chocolate is packed with disease-fighting antioxidant plant chemicals called flavonols; milk chocolate contains only modest amounts. Those antioxidants can help reduce the risk of blood clots, lower blood pressure and fight inflammation that can cause a stroke or heart attack.
Winner: Dark Chocolate

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Avocado versus Banana
Most people would choose the banana for breakfast and add a few slices to cereal. However an avocado has more potassium than a banana, which plays a key role in muscle strength, nerve function and heart health. Also, one avocado packs 4 grams of protein, among the highest amount coming from a fruit. Try an avocado for breakfast in a smoothie or in an avocado and egg white whole-wheat muffin.
Winner: Avocado

Fresh versus Frozen
The US Food and Drug Administration confirmed in a study that frozen produce provides the same essential nutrients and health benefits to the body as its fresh counterparts. If one did have an advantage, it would be frozen produce because of its year-round availability, lower cost and versatility. However, fruits and veggies are loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, so be sure to get your seven-to-nine servings daily. Canned produce is a great choice as well: just be mindful of how much salt or sugar was used during the canning process.
Winner: Everyone wins with produce – fresh or frozen!

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Throughout February — and the entire year — we encourage heart health and education. To receive tips like these, visit CarolinasHealthCare.org/HealthyHeart. And, join us in celebrating Heart Health Month by showing us who motivates you to maintain a healthy lifestyle. [#myheartbeats4u on Twitter and Instagram]