Superfoods are so called because they are packed with healthy nutrients and low in carbs, fat, and sugar you want to avoid in your diet. They may not have the magical health properties some proponents claim, but they are a tasty way to eat healthy.
Legumes like beans, chickpeas, and lentils are excellent sources of protein, complex carbohydrates, and dietary fiber. Combined with grains they provide all of the amino acids necessary for vegetarians to get their necessary protein. Beans are also low on the glycemic index, meaning that they don't spike blood sugar. And since they absorb slowly into the body, they feel more filling than other protein sources.
As a dairy product, yogurt is full of essential nutrients like vitamin D and calcium. Studies have also shown that calcium specifically from yogurt can help regulate fat cell production. Yogurt also contains beneficial live bacteria cultures which compete for nutrients and living space in the human body. These helpful bacteria can also help break down the food we eat into easier-to-forms.
Eggs are one of the best sources of protein around because they are low in calories, but rich in nutrients like vitamin D, vitamin B-12, and selenium.
Walnuts are full of of Vitamin E, which is linked to reduced risk of heart disease. Walnuts also contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and a nearly perfect balance of saturated to polyunsaturated fats, which may help reduce cholesterol levels.
Kiwis are uniquely rich in vitamins and nutrients. There is more Vitamin C per ounce in kiwis than in oranges, and they are a rich source of Vitamin E without all the fat of nuts and oils. Kiwis are also packed full of fiber, potassium, polyphenols, carotenoids, and pectin
Unlike most grains, Quinoa contains high concentrations of all 9 amino acids needed to be a complete protein source. It is also full of essential fatty acids and dietary fiber, while being naturally gluten-free.
Fatty fish such as salmon, sturgeon, trout, and herring are full of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s reduce tissue inflammation that can exacerbate existing ailments and make it more difficult to recover. Recent studies also suggest these anti-inflamatory properties can improve skin health by reducing the impact of eczema and acne.
This superfood may not be a favorite with kids, but moms have known from the beginning of time that eating it is good for you. Broccoli has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of certain cancers. As if that weren't enough, a head of broccoli contains more calcium than a glass of milk, and more vitamin C than an orange.
Sweet potatoes are a great way to get the essential carbohydrates that your body needs without the gluten or sugar in other sources. Sweet potatoes are also chock-full of Vitamins B6, C, and D and Iron. Sweet Potatoes' high magnesium content can also help your body regulate stress more effectively.
All berries are high in antioxidants, which fight off free radicals that oxidize body cells. Blueberries in particular are full of Vitamins A, C, E, K, and B6, and an excellent source of Thiamin.
Strawberries are full of disease-fighting antioxidants. They also contain a chemical called fisetin, which can lower the risk of nervous disorders and reduce complications arising from diabetes. Strawberries also trigger the bodies function to clean up and metabolize toxic chemicals from the brain and nervous system.
In addition to the antioxidant goodness of all berries, raspberries are full of Vitamin C and manganese. Manganese is an essential mineral for healthy bones, liver, and kidneys.
Everyone knows that Oranges are full of vitamin C, about 2/3 of what you need every day, in fact. Oranges also contain Potassium, Vitamin B, and insoluble fiber, which helps maintain digestive regularity. Oranges also contain pectin, which helps surpress appetite and reduce between-meal bingeing.
Like most leafy greens, spinach is full of iron. It also contains lots of potassium but very little sodium, which helps maintain good cardiovascular health. Spinach is one of the few foods that you can freeze more or less indefinitely without much reduction in nutrtive benefits.
Cinnamon is one of the oldest and most widely-used spices on earth, and for good reason. Cinnamon has antibactieral properties that can help fight stomach ulcers and yeast infections. Cinnamon is also full of manganese, calcium, iron, and fiber, all of which help reduce cholesterol.
This is the one that makes health nuts happy. Dark chocolate is full of free-radical-fighting antioxidants. It also contains minerals such as copper, potassium, magnesium, and iron that the body uses to regulate various functions.
Avocados are full of healthy fats that your body needs, and they help you feel full and satisfied so you don't go hunting elsewhere for empty calories. Avocados are also full of potassium and fiber.
Pumpkins are loaded with insoluble fiber, which helps regulate digestion and keep everything moving. The L tryptophan in pumpkins helps to regulate mood and can reduce depression (have you ever felt sad while eating pumpkin pie?). Pumpkins are also full of Vitamin A, potassium, and zinc.
Like any meat, turkey is high in protein, but without the fat and calories that come with other meats. Turkey also helps concentration and focus by supplying the amino acid tyrosine.
There isn't enough space to list all of the nutritional benefits of tomatoes, so we'll stick to a few. Tomatoes are full of beta-carotene and lycopene, which help reduce skin damage from sun exposure. Lycopene can also help prevent certain cancers. Tomatoes are packed full of Vitamins A, B6, C, and K, as well as magnesium, phosphorus, copper, niacin, folate, and potassium.
Soy is the protein of choice for vegetarians, because it contains almost all of the amino acids necessary for the body to create muscle tissue. Soy is also full of solulable dietary fiber and more vitamins and minerals than you can shake a brick of tofu at. Edamame (soy in its natural state) makes a great high-protein, low-calorie munchie.
What are Superfoods?
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