You’ve heard about them in news reports, in fact, you’ve probably been eating a good number of them all throughout your life. That’s right! This round we explore superfoods and the many benefits they offer.
What Are Superfoods?
Superfoods are nature’s nutritional gift baskets—dense with highly desirable chemical compounds such as essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that make them exceptionally healthy. A diverse diet including these foods helps to easily fulfill the FDA’s recommended daily value allowances. Such foods are known to have preventative properties that make them helpful in reducing the risk of cancers, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. They also provide health benefits through effects like the strengthening of the immune system, facilitating chemical balance in the body, and the reversal of damage incurred through the carrying out of metabolic processes.
The list of groceries that are part of this extremely beneficial group is extensive. They include dark leafy greens such as kale, Swiss chard, spinach, collard greens, and turnip greens; berries including raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and cranberries; nuts such as cashews, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, Brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts, and macadamia nuts; legumes including beans, soy, peas, lentils, peanuts, and alfalfa; seeds such as flaxseed, pipitas, hemp seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds; alliums including leeks, onions, and garlic; yogurt and kefir, green tea, olive oil, seaweed, avocado, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, oregano, cayenne, black pepper, mushrooms, beets, radishes, whole grains, spelt, sardines, dark chocolate, and figs.
Below we explore 5 common foods lurking unsuspectingly in the superfoods category that can be easily incorporated into your eating patterns, and instrumental in boosting your nutritional intake.
Sitting casually in the produce section all this time, our fuzzy little friend, the kiwi, is loaded with high levels of vitamins C, E, and K, potassium, and fiber. A single serving, consisting of one kiwi, has 50 calories with 7 grams of natural sugar. The kiwi strengthens immunity and it has been shown to improve sleep onset, duration, and quality. It has also been demonstrated to enhance protein digestion, absorption of oxygen, and it exhibits multiple antioxidant effects.
With all of the specialty and exotic food products listed among the superfoods, one would easily fail to take notice of the everyday egg as the energy packed burst of nutrition that it is. Coming in at an average of 77 calories with 6 grams of protein, 9 amino acids, and 5 grams of fat, eggs are high in iron, phosphorus, and selenium, and choline, which is critical for brain functioning. They have high concentrations of vitamins A, B2, B5, and B12, as well as the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin which provide substantial protection for the eyes.
In the midst of a category dominated by a majority of vegetative foods, salmon bears an unassuming level of nutritional compounds that are known to improve brain function, skeletal strength, and heart health. At 412 calories, a single serving ranks high in protein, selenium, iodine, vitamins A, D, and B12, and most critically, Omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent heart disease and facilitate healthy brain activity.
Sweet potatoes are another common grocery that few might think to turn to amidst a conversation about superfoods. However, a serving of sweet potatoes carries 100 calories and is chock full of beta carotene which provides an abundance of vitamin A and offers antioxidant effects—strengthening the bones, skin, eyes, immune system, and reproductive health, in addition to reducing the risks of cancer.
Last up, we have the seemingly ubiquitous banana. A medium ripe banana contains an average of 110 calories and is an outstanding source of vitamins C and B6, manganese, magnesium, fiber, and, most notably, potassium with 450mg. These nutrients are critical to cardiovascular health, digestive health, and weight maintenance.
It’s official! Superfoods are the gateway to a healthy lifestyle.
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