Superfoods are powerful enough to help you lower your cholesterol, reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer, and even put you in a better mood. These life-altering superfoods are available right now in your local supermarket. Here, you’ll find a short list of foods that you really ought to incorporate into your diet almost everyday because, their health benefits are incredible.
Almonds are loaded with fiber and monounsaturated fat, both of which have been shown to lower cholesterol. According to the Food and Drug Administration, eating almonds, may reduce the risk of heart disease. And even though almonds are relatively high in fat and calories, studies show that eating almonds can actually help with weight loss, because their protein, fiber, and monounsaturated fats provide the feeling of fullness which prevents overeating.
Apples are a powerful source of antioxidants, including polyphenols, flavonoids, and vitamin C, as well as good source of fiber, and potassium. The secret behind the super antioxidant capacity of the apple is its skin. The apple skin alone provides two to six times the antioxidant activity of the apple flesh alone. So it is important to eat the skin to obtain the full health benefits of apples. One large apple has 5.7 grams of fiber, which is 30 percent of the minimum amount of our daily fiber intake. Also, there are only 47 calories in an average sized apple.
Avocados not only contain the best kind of fat (monounsaturated oleic acid) but also help your body block the absorption of bad fats (cholesterol). Plus, monounsaturated fat burns more rapidly than saturated fat. They’re high in lutein, which aids eyesight, and in potassium and folate, which may reduce the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease. Avocados help fight obesity because they boost satiety. Satiety is the feeling of fullness that signals us to stop eating, helping us control our calorie intake.
The pigment betacyanin, which gives beets their distinctive hue, is just one of several disease-fighting phytonutrients found in this root vegetable. Beets are also a good source of folate, which guards against birth defects, colon cancer, and osteoporosis, and are high in fiber and beta-carotene.
Packed with antioxidants and phytoflavinoids, these berries are also high in potassium and vitamin C, making them the top choice of doctors and nutritionists. Not only can they lower your risk of heart disease and cancer, they are also anti-inflammatory. And new research suggests blueberries might protect the heart muscle from damage.
Among the most powerful weapons against cancer, Broccoli also boosts the immune system, lowers the incidence of cataracts, supports cardiovascular health, builds bones, and fights birth defects. Broccoli is one of the most nutrient-dense foods known, offering an incredibly high level of nutritional value, for a very low caloric cost. Of the ten most common vegetables eaten in the United States, broccoli is a clear winner in terms of total polyphenol content. Having more polyphenols than all other popular choices; only beets and red onions have more polyphenols per serving. Containing a powerful range of disease fighters, one in particular called sulforaphane, may increase enzymes that lower the risk of colon and lung cancers.
Brassica vegetables (including broccoli, bok choy) contain compounds called indoles, which have been shown to reduce the risk of cancer dramatically. Cabbage also stimulates the immune system, kills bacteria and viruses, and is a good blood purifier. If you go for the red variety, you’ll also get a healthy dose of anthocyanins, another powerful antioxidant with an anticancer boost.
Containing lots of Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, it works to keep your capillaries and blood vessels healthy, and helps with wound healing, collagen and tissue repair, and keeps you strong during cold and flu season. Folate a B Vitamin that your body needs to make healthy new cells and is super important during pregnancy and if you are trying to concieve.
It has Vitamin K, which your body needs to make healthy bones and prevent against osteoporosis. It’s full of Fiber which keeps your digestive tract healthy, and lowers the glycemic index of your meal, keeping your blood sugar and energy levels steady. Cancer preventing compounds often found in the cruciferous family (Cabbage, Broccoli, Kale, Brussels Sprouts, Bok Choy). These sulfur-containing phytochemicals have been shown to disrupt the growth of cancer cells, detox carcinogens and break down excess estradiol which is associated with breast cancer.
Omega-3 fatty acids are a hot nutrition buzzword, and for good reason. They speed up cell metabolism and reduce inflammation in the body, reducing triglyceride levels and lowering blood pressure, and one of the easiest ways to get Omega-3 fatty acids is from ground flaxseed. For a fast hit, sprinkle some on a bowl of oatmeal.
While all tea (black, white, and green) has protective antioxidants, green tea contains the most. It’s full of a metabolism-boosting compound called EGCG, which prevents damage to the heart muscles. Green tea may also improve bone density! Learn more about Green Tea.
Kale belongs to the same plant family as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and collard greens. It is great for protecting your health, providing us with vitamins and minerals that prevent cancer. It contains large amounts of vitamin A, Vitamin C, B6, manganese, calcium, copper, and potassium. Vitamin C gets rid of free-radicals, preventing damage to our cells, and reducing damage from inflammation (one primary cause of heart disease and autoimmune diseases), it oxidizes cholesterol, fights infections, and strengthens & renews collagen in our skin for a healthy, youthful appearance. Manganese is a mineral that helps metabolize and utilize energy from protein and carbohydrates, making it the perfect fat-burning element.
Kefir is a thick drink made by fermenting milk with kefir grains made of lactic acid bacteria, yeast and polysaccharides. The grains culture the milk, infusing it with healthy bacteria or probiotics, that are not available in yogurt. They help support the digestive system and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria in the intestines and help with weight loss.
Kefir has an effect on cancer cells, effectively prohibiting the growth of malignant T-cells, along with helping control blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Because kefir is a balanced and nourishing food, it has been used to help patients suffering from AIDS, chronic fatigue syndrome, herpes, and cancer. Due to the significant amounts of amino acid, it has a tranquilizing effect on the nervous system and is beneficial for people with sleep disorders, depression and ADHD, making it a good choice for a nightcap!
Leeks and Garlic as well, share many remarkable traits. They can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Research suggests they inhibit the growth of prostate, stomach, and colon cancer cells. They also have antibiotic properties meaning they can ward off germs as well.
Parsley is a wonderful medicinal herb that contains more vitamin C than any other vegetable, and three times as much as oranges (about the same as blackcurrants). Because of this, it can fight off and protect the body against many illnesses such as the common cold. Parsley’s exceptionally high vitamin content increases overall energy and vitality.
Parsley is a very good source of folic acid, one of the most important B vitamins. Consuming foods that contain folic acid, is a good idea for people that want to prevent diabetes. Folic acid is also a critical nutrient for proper cell division and is therefore very important for cancer prevention in the colon, and in women, the cervix. Other illnesses that Parsley protectas against are Inhibits tumor formation, protects against rheumatoid arthritis, bladder & urinary track infections and against kidney stones.
This fruit has generous amounts of Vitamin C, Vitamin-B6, thiamin, copper, manganese, and dietary fiber, while being naturally sweet and filling. It’s now being studied by researchers for an important enzyme mixture called “bromelain.” The compounds appear to reduce inflammation and a certain “swelling”conditions like sinusitis, sore throat and arthritic flare-ups. It also contributes to fast recovery from surgical operations and wounds. For maximum health benefits, the fruit should be eaten between meals rather than with. Fresh Pineapple is typically your best choice, the canned variety may have lowered beneficial properties, due to heated processing procedures that destroy some of the natural enzymes.
King, Sockeye, and Coho salmon have more DHA plus EPA omega-3 fatty acids than almost any other seafood, as well as some of the lowest mercury levels. Nutritionally, wild-caught Alaskan canned salmon is as good as fresh salmon, and it costs a fraction of the price.
Green Leafy Spinach is loaded with an army of beneficial nutrients to protect the body from cancer and disease. Spinach has 13 flavanoids that help to fight cancer, protect against age related memory loss, and prevent heart disease.
The magnesium in spinach helps to lower high blood pressure and protect against heart disease, while vitamins C and A also benefit the heart by preventing cholesterol from becoming oxidized in the body. Spinach also contains Vitamin E that may help slow the loss of mental function, and Vitamin K that helps maintain bone health. It is an excellent source of iron (especially important for women), and lutein for eye health. Best of all, it has Omega-3s which are heaviest in the dark greens (including seaweed, which is why they’re concentrated in fish).
Of all nuts, walnuts contain the most alpha-linolenic omega-3 fatty acids, which lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and may reduce inflammation in arteries. Walnuts are also a great source of antioxidants, vitamin E, selenium, and magnesium.
Eat whole grains (especially buckwheat and quinoa) because they are high in magnesium, B vitamins, fiber, and manganese. This will actually help you to not overeat. One study found that people feel fuller after eating buckwheat than after eating other grains. Learn more about Whole Grains.
Greek Yogurt is a very good source of calcium, phosphorus, and protein. Unlike milk, real yogurt also contains probiotics, the good bacteria your digestive system needs to process foods and benefit from all the other things you eat. Also, it boosts immune response. Learn more about Yogurt.
Superfoods at a Glance