November 07, 2016
You see it in the media all the time – superfoods. Unless food can wear a cape and leap tall buildings, the word has little technical meaning. It is a buzzword adopted to celebrate the health benefits of certain “super” foods, but it says little about healthy eating for the average nutrition-conscious consumer.
While it is true that some foods are better choices for one reason or another, it’s overall diet that matters most to health. A balanced diet consists of lean protein, healthy carbohydrates and plenty of fruits and vegetables.
If you can sprinkle in a handful of these “superfoods”, all the better, because there is evidence that they stave off certain diseases and protect your body against the effects of aging. We’ve hand selected these six “superfoods” that are easy to find and worth the effort.
Blueberries are powerhouses. Why? They contain the antioxidants anthocyanin and vitamin C to help combat diabetes and heart disease among other things. Most problems that occur in the human body, especially related to aging, are a result of oxidation. Oxidation leads to free radicals that damage cells. Antioxidants like vitamin C neutralize these free radicals, slowing down tissue damage and allowing for better healing.
Just one cup of blueberries, fresh or frozen, contains 25 percent of your recommended daily serving of vitamin C and 14 percent of recommended fiber. They are also a diet-friendly choice with fewer than 100 calories per cup.
The color is your best friend when it comes to spinach. The deep green indicates a high level of phytonutrients like flavonoids and carotenoids. You’ll find that spinach is an energy booster, too. It is full of vitamin A and iron. Just one cup offers more calcium that even milk, so it is a good choice for bone health, as well
Count on spinach for:
Yogurt, especially when made from scratch using Natren Yogurt Starter, adds good bacteria to the digestive tract to help create a balanced gut microbiota. The body needs a certain number of bacteria to process food and stay healthy. Lack of diversity in the gut is linked to everything from acne to obesity.
Even without the good bacteria, yogurt earns its place on the “superfood” shelf. It contains plenty of protein, about nine grams a serving, and nutrients like calcium, vitamin B-2, B-12, potassium and magnesium. Now, factor in the benefits of probiotics and you know why yogurt is a winning choice.
Not all yogurt is created equally, though. Some manufacturers are perverting their yogurt products with unnecessary and unhealthy additives. Stay away from brands with added chemical preservatives, sugar or artificial sweeteners. Stick to your basic plain yogurt to get the most benefits, or better still, make your own.
Nuts, in general, are good sources of protein but pecans stand out in this group because they offer antioxidants, too. They are rich in healthy fat and can lower blood cholesterol naturally. A handful of pecans offers up to 19 vitamins and minerals, too, including vitamin A, B and E. The downside to eating pecans is calories. Make sure to enjoy them in moderation.
The sweet potato is the unsung hero of the “superfood” world because it doesn’t get as much attention despite its many health benefits. Sweet potatoes offer a natural anti-inflammatory that helps fight conditions like colon cancer, asthma and different kinds of arthritis. Just one serving offers 400 percent of the recommended daily serving of vitamin A. When served with the skin still on, you also get plenty of fiber and potassium from this one little tubular root.
You probably already know about the cardiac benefits of seafood and omega-3 fatty acids, but did you know that wild salmon is also rich in vitamin D? Vitamin D is a necessary nutrient for skin health, especially when it comes to fighting the damaging UV rays of the sun. Wild salmon is the right choice for protein, as well. Just one 3 ounces serving has 17 grams in it.
A balanced, healthy diet is about more than “superfoods.” Once you get the basics down, go a step further by adding these six easy-to-find “superfoods” to your shopping list and enjoy the added health benefits of antioxidants.
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