Ten Super Foods
BY: T. Franklin Murphy | February 2013
Healthy diets are more than cutting calories. We need nutrient rich food to feed our cells. Healthy consumption is the foundation of well-being, impacting our minds, moods, and relationships.
The world is full of heart healthy, disease fighting, digestive aiding superfoods. The supermarket shelves are stacked with poor choices; choose wisely and live long. Adding a few low calorie, nutrient rich foods while simultaneously removing calorie heavy, nutrient lacking choices can transform health. This list is not exhaustive nor should it replace personalized direction from a physician or dietician.
Broccoli routinely is listed on superfood lists. Broccoli is available year around, simple to cook and a rich source of vitamins. It is jammed pack with vitamin A (beta-carotene), vitamin C and vitamin K. Broccoli has plenty of fiber to keep you feeling full longer. Broccoli also is loaded with disease fighting phytochemicals.
Salmon has high contents of omega-3 fatty acid. Omega -3 fatty acids encourage better heart heath. Salmon is low in calories, high in protein, a good source of iron, and low in saturated fats. Salmon also provides vitamin D and selenium for healthy hair, skin, nails and bones. A few other nutrient dense fish include herring, sardines and mackerel.
Low or non-fat plain yogurt offers a variety of healthy benefits. Yogurt has a healthy source of protein, calcium, vitamin B-2, vitamin B-12, magnesium and potassium. It is often enriched with probiotics (friendly bacteria) for a healthy gut. Several studies suggest that yogurt may help with certain gastrointestinal conditions such as: Lactose intolerance, constipation, colon cancer, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Beans are an anti-aging, disease fighting superhero. Beans provide high amounts of vegetable protein and fiber to keep you feeling full longer. Beans can stabilize blood sugar levels which in turn can stabilize mood swings. Beans are also packed in phytochemicals which offer disease preventive benefits. They are low in fat and high in complex carbohydrates. Beans are beneficial in anti-diabetes diets. They rank low on the glycemic scale.
Nuts have a healthy mix of protein, fiber, and unsaturated fat. They have been shown to lower total LDL cholesterol levels. Nuts also are a healthy source of omega-3s. Because of the higher calorie content, portion control is advisable.
Berries pack a lot into a sweet little package. Berries are a great source of antioxidants, phytonutrients and fiber. They help control blood sugar levels. Berries are simple to add to a diet. They can be added to salads, yogurt, and oatmeal. Berries are a staple for many heart healthy smoothies. Blueberries, acai berries, and cranberries top the list.
This odd little grain is now available in most supermarkets. It competes with the healthiest whole grains. It is quick to cook, high in protein, fiber and a natural source of iron. It is also packed full of zinc, vitamin E, and selenium to control weight and lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Other healthy options for whole grain are barley, oats, buckwheat, wild rice and millet.
Try swapping your regular baked potato for a sweet potato. The sweet potato is in the dark orange vegetable family. It provides a large dose of vitamin A, while also being loaded with vitamin C, calcium, and potassium. The natural sweetness provides enough flavor that it is easy to cut back on the fatty toppings. Sweet potatoes are also rich in beta carotenes and heart healthy antioxidants. Other healthy vegetables in this family of food include pumpkin, carrots, butternut squash, and orange bell peppers.
During the cholesterol bashing era, eggs got a bad rap. Studies show that people who eat eggs for breakfast, typically eat less calories throughout the day. The yolk of the egg contains the bulk of the nutrients. Besides high quality protein and egg also contains calcium and magnesium and vitamins A,D,E, and B12. Studies show that an egg a day does not change your cholesterol levels.
Spinach is loaded with tons of nutrients in a low calorie package—Antioxidants, iron, vitamin K. Dark leafy greens are important for skin, hair and bone health. Spinach is also a great source of dietary potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and thiamine. Studies indicate eating spinach improves blood glucose control in diabetics, lowers the risk of cancer, lowers blood pressure, improves bone health, and lowers the risk of developing asthma. Spinach can be thrown into a smoothie, added to omelets or used as a base for a heart healthy salad.
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