What are Superfoods?
Whether you are on a diet or not, choosing the right foods for the base of your daily nutrition is important. There are articles out there stating to stay away from certain food groups or nutrients, but ideally, the best kind of diet is one that includes the most nutritiously dense foods. You have probably heard the term “superfoods” if you have researched about dieting. It is not a separate food group; the name is just used for foods that have a longer list of health benefits. Although superfoods are considered extremely healthy, weight loss is not their main benefit. This group of foods is full of vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and fiber. Since there are several superfood options, it is actually pretty easy to include one of these in every meal.
We all know fruit should be a staple in our diets. Specifically different types of berries provide extra health benefits, therefore are considered a superfood. Plant substances called phytochemicals are found in berries and provide the body with anti-inflammatory properties, help regulate hormones, and stimulate the immune system, among other benefits. Tossing some blueberries into your morning oatmeal, blending raspberries into your post-workout smoothie, or enjoying dessert with a few sweet strawberries are just a few easy ways to include this superfood in your diet.
Eating fish twice a week is known to provide many health benefits to our diet. Salmon is known to be a superfood due to its low saturated fat and high omega-3 fatty acid contents. These healthier forms of fat help reduce the risk of heart disease by slowing the growth of plaque in the arteries and lowering triglyceride levels. Of course, these benefits are in conjunction with other heart-healthy practices such as limiting alcohol, saturated and trans fats, and including exercise in your daily routine.
A handful of nuts is an easy snack when you are on the go. They are loaded with heart-healthy fats and most include a hearty dose of fiber and protein. Almonds, specifically, have several vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, vitamin E, and iron. Pistachios are also on the top of the list with almost as much potassium as a banana!
You have probably heard the saying that beans are good for your heart. Well, this is true considering they help lower cholesterol, unlike other animal protein sources. Beans are high in protein and fiber and are choke full of vitamins and minerals including iron, folate, magnesium, potassium, and zinc, just to name a few. This superfood is versatile, as you can add it to many dishes and even use it to make dips and hummus.
In the past, people stayed away from eggs as they were thought to increase cholesterol and be unhealthy for the heart. Well, new research shows that eggs have just as much good cholesterol and can actually help keep your heart healthy. They are relatively low in calories—just 70 for a large egg, and are a good protein source for any meal. Eggs also include the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin which both help reduce the risk of eye diseases. This superfood contains all of the 9 essential amino acids making it a perfect whole protein source.
Not just a common breakfast staple, oats provide several health benefits besides just fiber. It is a filling meal aiding in digestion, metabolism, and lowering cholesterol levels. Containing many phytonutrients and minerals such as magnesium, zinc, copper, potassium, and vitamin E, oats are probably one of the most powerful superfoods with their disease-fighting ingredients. A bowl of oatmeal doesn’t have to be boring either. Stir in some almonds and berries along with cinnamon for added flavor, and you will be satisfied until lunchtime.
Just one ounce of dark chocolate provides 3 grams of fiber and 64 grams of magnesium, along with antioxidants that help lower the risk of heart disease. These antioxidants called flavanols aid in maintaining healthy blood pressure and promoting blood flow. Just be sure to choose a dark chocolate with at least 70% cacao for the most benefits.
Made with the dark skin and seeds of grapes, red wine is rich in resveratrol, a natural plant compound that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which help prevent blood clots and limit the growth of cancer cells. Research shows that resveratrol can slow the deterioration the body goes through when not getting enough exercise. The recommended serving for red wine is up to two glasses a day for men and one glass for women.
These are just a few of the many superfoods out there. It is easy to add in several of these options in most of your meals throughout the day. With so many vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients, making superfoods a staple in your diet will not only satisfy your appetite but also keep your body as healthy as possible.
- What's so super about superfoods?, Website, Jul 01, 2018 ,