Organic Consumers Association

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15 Healthiest Foods to Stock in Your Kitchen Year-Round

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Health Issues page and our All About Organics page.

If optimal health is your goal, there's no getting around your diet. Your physical health is a direct reflection of what you put into your body, and how you live your life in general.

Pre-packaged processed foods may be convenient, but cooking from scratch using fresh unprocessed ingredients is a must if you want to improve your health.

Remember that one of the keys to staying healthy is avoiding processed foods as much as possible. This means someone, you, your spouse, or someone else, needs to spend regular time in the kitchen.

Once you're eating non-adulterated foods-foods that are as close to their natural state as possible-then basically everything you eat is a "superfood." You need nutrients-all of them-and nutrients are found in abundance in fresh, raw foods.

Still, lists of specific items can be helpful to steer you in the right direction. So to help you get started, the following 15 foods are items I recommend you keep on hand so that you always have healthy key ingredients to choose from for cooking and snacking.

1. Sunflower and Other Sprouted Seeds

One of the easiest and most efficient ways to optimize your nutrition is to add sprouted seeds to your vegetable juice and/or salad. While you can sprout a wide variety of seeds, my favorite is sunflower seeds.

Sprouted, the protein, vitamin, and mineral content of sunflower seeds soar, and will typically provide you with 30 times the nutrient content of organic vegetables! Sprouts in general also contain valuable enzymes-up to 100 times more enzymes than raw fruits and vegetables-that allow your body to absorb and use the nutrients of other foods you eat.

Sprouts are the ultimate locally-grown food, and can easily be grown in your own kitchen, even if you're tight on space. And since they're very inexpensive, cost is no excuse for avoiding them. I started sprouting seeds in ball jars nearly 15 years ago. Now I grow them in them in trays using soil instead. It's far easier and produces far more nutritious and abundant food.           
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