8 Foods a Nutritional Researcher Eats Every Day (and Why!)

Updated on May 24, 2018
Miranda Poenicke profile image

Miranda has a Master's in Human Nutrition from Christian-Albrechts-Universität and a passion for promoting accurate nutrition information.

Have you ever wondered what someone who thinks, lives, and breathes nutrition research all day, every day, actually eats?

Not in a big picture kind of way like, “I listen to my body!” or “I fill up on healthy foods usually, but don’t deny myself a treat if I feel like having one once in a while.”

No. I mean in a specific, one food at a time kind of way. What does someone who studies this stuff really aim to put in their mouths each day?

Well, wonder no more!

After a solid decade of health and nutrition research and study, here is the list of foods I’ve compiled as the ones I aim to include in my diet every single day and why they made the cut!

Much of this list will likely not surprise you, but maybe there are a few inspiring tidbits sprinkled in that might inspire you to tweak your own daily diet!

1. Leafy Greens

It probably isn’t a surprise to you that my list starts with leafy greens.

Leafy greens make my list because they are excellent sources of minerals, like iron and calcium, vitamins, like folic acid, and fiber, all of which can otherwise be hard to get enough of in the diet. They are also some of the most heart-healthy foods on the planet, improving artery function and lowering blood pressure.

What’s more, they add a lot of flavor and volume to a dish, without upping the calories too much. I don't like to count calories, so adding lots of low-calorie foods helps naturally keep my calorie intake at a healthy level without having to actually measure my intake!

Does that mean I always eat salads?

Nope! While I love a big ol' salad, sometimes I just don't feel like one. And there are lots of other ways to mix these nutritional powerhouses into my daily diet.

Add them to smoothies, layer them on sandwiches, mix them into soups or stir fries. I even mix them into pasta dishes! I love tossing a handful of fresh arugula into my spaghetti!

Any time I can add some leafy greens, I just do!

2. Cruciferous Vegetables

I never turn up my nose to a vegetable (except turnips-- I'm reaallyy not a fan of turnips), but if I can, I try to add or include a cruciferous vegetable to at least one meal a day.

Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, arugula, kale, brussel sprouts radishes and cabbage. (Yeah... I'm kind of cheating with the arugula and kale counting as both leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables, I know, I know...but that kinda underscores how healthy they are for us, right?).

This tasty class of veggies are some of the healthiest foods we know of. They boost your body's ability to detoxify itself, boost your immune function, decrease inflammation, protect against asthma, improve artery function and protect your heart. If these foods are available, I eat them!

Little tip: baked brussel sprouts with chili pepper and garlic. Trust me.

3. Beans, Legumes & Lentils

If there is a bean-based dish, or a dish I can easily add beans to, it's a good bet that that's the one I'm going for.

Beans are rich in fiber and protein, making them super filling and a great option for sustained energy and steady blood sugar. They are also great sources of minerals and phytonutrients that have been shown to boost metabolic health and protect against cancer.

My favorite ways to get some legumes on my plate (in order) are: hummus, warmed with some tofu and eaten as a side, hummus, added to a salad, hummus, added to a soup or chili!

4. Nuts & Seeds

During the fat-free craze that consume much of the 80s and 90s no one would have ever considered high-fat nuts and seeds a health food. But they absolutely are.

They are rich in fat, but healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats that help protect your immune and nervous systems. They are also full of health promoting vitamins, minerals and plant-based protein.

And the healthy nutrients in nuts have been shown to translate into serious health benefits.

Large epidemiological studies indicate that eating nuts and seeds may actually lower risk of heart disease, cancer and early death!

Um - that is something I want in my diet!

And, just in case you were wondering, they don't cause weight gain. Dozens of studies have looked, and even though they contain a lot of calories, adding nuts to our diets doesn't cause us to gain weight. They boost our metabolisms and fill us up so much we usually lose weight, actually!

I personally like adding nuts and seeds to my breakfast muesli/oatmeal or as an afternoon snack when I’m feeling peckish before dinner. But there are a ton of other ways to sneak them in. You can add them salads, smoothies, stir fries, or smear some on toast or fruit in the form of a nut butter!

And I try to mix them up! Different nuts have slightly different phytonutrients, so getting a mixture gives you the widest variety of benefits!

5. Berries

Much like cruciferous vegetables and leafy greens are the healthiest vegetables, berries are the healthiest fruits, so they get a privileged spot in my diet!

Berries are antioxidant powerhouses that reduce oxidative stress, calm inflammation, protect artery function, and help prevent DNA mutations (that is to say, help protect you from cancer).

Since I live at such gastly latitudes, I don’t have access to fresh berries for much of the year. (At least not any that taste like much!) So I buy box after box of frozen berries that make their way into my cereals, oatmeals and desserts.

And when berry season does roll around? My husband and I personally keep the nearby strawberry stand in business. (You think I’m kidding… )

6. Whole Grains

This point may ruffle some feathers. I know the Paleo movement paints grains as the root of all evil, but I have reviewed hundreds of studies looking at the effect of whole grain intake, and I have to say I am not convinced their arguments hold water. Processed sugars, fine, but whole grains -- nope.

Whole grain consumption is consistently found to correlate with better weight management, decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, infections, cancer and early death. They provide steady energy, plenty of B-vitamins and minerals. Most importantly, they are an excellent source of fiber.

Fiber is absolutely essential for regulating our appetite, digestive health and keeping our gut microbiota (the 1 trillion bacteria that live in our intestines) healthy. And since those 1 trillion bacteria help regulate our hormone levels, metabolism, body weight, immune function and mood, we want them happy and healthy!

And so, I fill up on my whole grains every day.

That is not to say I only eat wheat and wheat-based breads. I like mixing it up with other whole grains like whole oats, rye, barley, quinoa bulgur, brown rice or even pasta, depending on the type of meal and what I've got available. Anything to get that health-boosting fiber!

7. Tea

Tea is a fun one!

Tea is made from dried leaves or fruits and provides many of the same benefits of eating the whole berry or leafy green it was made from. Tea provides you with various vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients (depending on the exact type of tea) and water while being nearly free of calories. Drinking tea can help boost your nutrient, phytonutrient and antioxidant intake without making any difference at all to your calorie count for the day!

It’s basically a nutritional freebie! Good stuff!

I’m a huge fan of green, camomile, fennel, ginger (made from fresh ginger root!) and peppermint teas and brew myself 2-4 cups a day on average. (Total. Not of each!) But it doesn’t matter a ton which kind of tea you drink! Just pick the kind you like and will drink!

*Note: some teas have some pretty potent biological effects so if you are planning to give the tea to a young child, have medical conditions, are pregnant or breastfeeding it is best to check with your doctor, nutritionist or pharmacist before firing up the kettle!

8. Spices

Spices are kind of a rehash of tea, just a touch more versatile.

With the exception of table salt (which should be used sparingly), spices are whole, dried and ground up plants that can be added everywhere in your diet. Some are leaves, other roots or nuts. All of them are loaded with phytonutrients and antioxidants that help your body function optimally.

Not to mention, they are just plain tasty!

My spice rack is never lacking: garlic, pepper, chilis, paprika, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, oregano/basil and a curry or tandoori mix! But, again, it doesn’t matter a ton which spices grace your plate with their presence! Find spices you love and use them, daily!

And there you have it! The eight foods a nutritional researcher eats every day!

Did anything on this list surprise you at all? Glean any inspiration for your own diet? Let me know in the comment section below! I’d love to hear about it!

References and Further Reading

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3649719/

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3575935/

3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1756464611000843

4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24261538

5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19774556

6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4144102/

7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5137221/

8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24256379

9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21216574

10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2841576/

11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22733001

12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5187535/

13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4908315/

14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12740067

15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3705355/

16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20664075

17. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tea

18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11518612

19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4055352/

20. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/

21. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4525133/

22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21491265

23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16767798

24. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19110538/feed/

25. https://www.britannica.com/topic/spice-food

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Miranda Poenicke

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • Miranda Poenicke profile imageAUTHOR

        Miranda Poenicke 

        5 months ago from Germany

        Thank you so, so much for your kind comment, Dina! I couldn't ask for higher praise than you like how I write, that I gave you helpful ideas and that you'd like to read more! I am planning to write at least two hubs per month, regularly, moving foward. :) And I would love to have you as a regular reader!

        As for your frozen berry query, I usually put the berries in fully frozen and let them thaw as I cook the oatmeal! It infuses the whole bowl with juicy, berry goodness! :)

      • thedinasoaur profile image

        Dina 

        6 months ago from California

        Miranda, I like how you write! So accessible and informative. I have been working on improving my daily diet but I noticed a tendency to not eat healthy food for breakfast. You mentioned adding frozen berries to your oatmeal. Do you add it after you cook the oatmeal? Or, do you heat it up with the breakfast? I'd love to add more nuts, too. So far, I have been loving almonds as a pick-me-up snack.

        Your hub gave me so many ideas! I am definitely going to give you a follow. Hope you write more! I look forward to reading your work.

      • Miranda Poenicke profile imageAUTHOR

        Miranda Poenicke 

        6 months ago from Germany

        Thank you, Rochelle! I'm so glad you found it helpful!

      • Rochelle Frank profile image

        Rochelle Frank 

        6 months ago from California Gold Country

        Very interesting presentation of useful information.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, caloriebee.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://caloriebee.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)