Superfoods provide superhuman health benefits for those looking not only to cut fat and cholesterol from their daily diet, but also improve their overall well-being. Superfoods are any non-processed, additive free food that is highly nutritious and beneficial to your health, especially when eaten raw.
Although this may seem like a pretty large range of foods, there are some food groups that naturally fall into the superfoods category. Almost all superfoods are readily available, therefore, making these excellent edibles a part of every meal is as easy as adding them to the weekly grocery list. So, with superior sustenance in mind, what are some of the best superfoods around and why exactly are they considered super?
Where Does the Vitamin C Come From?
Has your mother ever told you to make sure you eat your greens? Well, considering dark green vegetables and leafy greens are some of the top superfoods available, your mom was right.
In particular, the immune boosting, natural antihistamine properties of vitamin C are largely prevalent in vegetables , which is just one of the reasons they’re considered super. Here are just a few super-veggies:
- Broccoli – The most popular member of the cabbage family is also one of the most beneficial superfoods available. In its raw or steamed form, broccoli is high in dietary fiber and vitamin C. Add to that its anti-cancer properties such as selenium and its immune boosting benefits, and broccoli is a great tasting superfood with some super qualities.
- Spinach – Popeye was on to something with eating all that spinach. As far as iron goes, spinach has almost twice the amount of iron as a serving of lean beef. And, whether eaten fresh, steamed, of quickly boiled, spinach contains high amounts of vitamins A, C, E, and K, antioxidants, and, of course, protein.
- Beets – Although beets aren’t green, they do offer a ton of nutrients like magnesium, potassium, and vitamin C. Not only that, beets derive their name from betaine, which is great for protecting your body against heart and liver disease, diabetes, and general protein deficiencies.
- Sweet Potatoes – Not taking into consideration sweet potato casserole or fries, sweet potatoes themselves are superfoods that pack an energy punch. They’re rich in complex carbohydrates, potassium, protein, calcium, and Vitamin B6, which promotes red blood cell production.
Where Do I Get My Antioxidants from?
Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, dinner, or any of the snacking opportunities in between, fruit is simply the anytime superfood.
And, in terms of the beneficial ascorbic acid, fruits have essential antioxidant properties that help reduce free radicals from forming in the body which directly relate to cell and DNA stress. That said, here are some of the best super-fruits:
- Apples – If you eat an apple a day to keep the doctor away, then keep up the good work. Apples are a great source of soluble and insoluble fiber, vitamins A and C, folic acid, and they’re also the richest fruit source of vitamin E. So, whether green or red, Granny Smith or Golden Delicious, apples are super for your health.
- Grapefruit – When it comes to citrus fruits, grapefruit is at the top of the superfood fruit food chain. Thanks to their high mineral content, grapefruits are great for liver detoxification . And, considering the deeper the color, the more lycopene they contain, red grapefruits in particular have an immune-boosting amount of antioxidants.
- Watermelon – Everybody’s favorite fruit is also an excellent source or vitamin B6. And, although they contain about 90 percent water, watermelons are high in carotenoid lycopene, which is great for prostate health. Throw in the mix high levels of magnesium and potassium, and watermelon is both hydrating and healthy.
- Blueberries – The antioxidant benefits of blueberries can’t be ignored, but did you know they’re also known to slow memory loss and promote a positive attitude? Not only that, they’re rich in vitamin C and manganese, which is an enzyme building mineral.
What is Omega-3?
Fish high in fatty acids like Omega-3s help reduce muscle and joint inflammation, they’re vital for the brain’s grey matter structure, and they’re also a great source of protein.
Just as long as you stay away from the fried form of this superfood, pretty much every type of fresh and saltwater fish has unique benefits. Here are some of the healthiest super-fish in the sea (or any other body of water):
- Salmon – Extremely high in both protein and cardiovascular disease reducing omega-3 fatty acids, salmon tops the fish superfood list. And, whether farmed or wild, salmon is also a great source of vitamin D, which enhances intestinal absorption.
- Sardines – The fresh, non-canned version of sardines are high in vitamins and minerals. In particular, eating sardines daily provides 13 percent of your body’s vitamin B2 requirement, which helps support a properly functioning nervous system and metabolism.
- Mackerel – A great source of omega-3 fatty acids, mackerel is also high in vitamin C, calcium, vitamin B12, and protein.
What Disease-Fighting Superfoods Are Out There?
Beans, peas, and peanuts are all forms of legumes and lentils can lower the triglyceride levels in the body that are directly associated with heart and cardiovascular disease.
Add to that whole grain superfoods such as wheat, barley, and oat, which have high protein, insulin reducing, diabetes fighting benefits, and the following super-beans and super-grains are great for fighting all types of disease.
- Legumes – The legume family is a complimentary protein food. What this means is they’re most effective when consumed with dairy, meats, and other proteins. And, they’re also the best source of protein in the plant world.
- Lentils – Lentils such as soybeans are high in dietary fiber and protein as well as essential amino acids. And, they’re also a great source of vitamin B1 and folate, which helps promote healthy cell growth.
- Whole Grains – When it comes to reducing the risk factors involved with type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, whole grains such as brown rice and buckwheat can’t be beat. Not only that, whole grains found in wheat breads and pastas help fight hypertension and heart disease too.
So, from leafy greens to whole grains, superfoods are the perfect way to get your diet, and your health, on the right track. What are some of your favorite superfoods , and how do you incorporate them into your everyday meals?