You’ve heard the term used a lot lately, but what does it take to get superfood status, and what does that really mean? The answer is simple! The food must be nutritionally dense and not one dimensional. Most superfoods contain the best of the best when it comes to vitamins and minerals. For the most part, they also contain protein and healthy fats. In addition to being packed with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, many of these ingredients are proven to help improve brain function and help fight memory loss, help you lose weight and provide tons of other health benefits. Superfoods contain a variety of nutrients, such as antioxidants, which help to reduce the risk of cancer. They also have healthy fats, thought to prevent heart disease; fiber, thought to prevent diabetes and digestive problems; and phytochemicals — the chemicals in plants responsible for deep colors and smells, which can have numerous health benefits.The goal is to incorporate a variety of these foods into our diet and combine this with regular exercise and quality sleep, so you’ll be looking and feeling great for many years to come.
LIST OF HEALTHY AND WIDELY AVAILABLE SUPERFOODS:
- Kale – insanely low in calories, powerful anti-oxidant + anti-inflammatory properties, and helpful for arthritis and autoimmune diseases. Kale contains fiber, antioxidants , calcium , vitmains C and K, iron, and a wide range of other nutrients that can help prevent various health problems. Antioxidants help the body remove unwanted toxins that result from natural processes and environmental pressures.These toxins, known as free radicals, are unstable molecules. If too many build up in the body, they can lead to cell damage. This may result in health problems such as inflammation and diseases. Experts believe that free radicals may play a role in the development of cancer, for example.
- Spinach – is a superfood loaded with tons of nutrients in a low-calorie package. Dark, leafy greens like spinach are important for skin, hair, and bone health. The beauty of spinach, it’s mild tasting yet packed with vitamins, has anti-cancerous properties. Spinach is rich in vitamins A, C and K, magnesium, iron and manganese. Eating this leafy green veggie may benefit eye health, reduce oxidative stress and reduce blood pressure levels among other health functions. Whether you like it or not, spinach is surely one veggie that you must include in your daily diet
- Nuts have gotten a bad rap because of their high fat content. But their protein, heart-healthy fats, high fiber, and antioxidant content earn them a place on the top list. Great for snacks!
- Blueberries + Blackberries – one of the highest antioxidant capacities of all fruit which helps to combat free radicals in your body. Berries pack an incredible amount of nutritional goodness into a small package. They’re loaded with antioxidants, phytonutrients, low in calories, and high in water and fiber to help control blood sugar and keep you full longer. And their flavors satisfy sweets cravings for a fraction of the calories in baked goods.
- Cranberries are also widely available fresh, frozen, or dried. All can add flavor and nutrition to numerous dishes, from salads and cereals to baked goods and yogurt.
- Kiwis are among the most nutritionally dense fruits, full of antioxidants. One large kiwi supplies your daily requirement for vitamin C. It is also a good source of potassium, fiber, and a decent source of vitamin A and vitamin E
- Strawberries – just one serving provides more vitamin C than an orange while being low in natural sugars
- Greek Yogurt – double the protein and half the carbs as regular yogurt, great source of probiotics and is higher in calcium than some other dairy products and contains a great package of other nutrients like potassium.
- Cucumber – since it’s 95% water, it’s an incredible detoxifier and helps with liver and kidney function
- Lemon – is an excellent source of vitamin C and flavanoids, which is an antioxidant. It’s a highly effective cleansing agent and cuts through the bitterness of greens in smoothies.
- Banana – it helps you feel full longer + it’s rich in potassium and fiber. A good source of magnesium, bananas can help with muscle contraction and relaxation as well as protein synthesis — which, in turn, increases lean muscle mass. A bonus: magnesium intake helps boost lipolysis, a process by which your body releases fat from its stores.
- Turmeric – anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties
- Ginger + Pinneaple – aids in digestion + supports the immune system + supress inflammation
- Chia + Flaxseeds + Hemp Hearts – rich is Omega-3 and fiber benefits
A person can incorporate these foods into a varied healthy diet when available. However, do not overspend or search too widely trying to find them. The secret is that any leafy green vegetable or berry in a grocery store will provide many of the same benefits an individual will find in the premium-priced superfoods. Buy your produce in season and from local sources to ensure the highest nutrient content. Do not discount the humble apple or carrot either — all fruits and vegetables are essentially superfoods.
Replacing as many processed foods as possible with whole foods will drastically improve health.
Try this healthy and delicious recipe packed with nutrient-dense and widely available superfoods: