Recently, there has been a lot of talk about superfoods, and the internet is inundated with all types of information on them. First, it’s important to know that, to maintain a healthy lifestyle, what is most important is to eat a balanced nutritious diet. What are superfoods? Simply, foods that are packed with nutritional minerals and vitamins. But just eating one superfood can’t give you all the nutrition you need. So, what are the best superfoods?
While many superfoods may have anti-inflammatory properties and be rich in antioxidants, it is important not to place reliance on a single food for good health. Experts suggest that combining a variety of superfoods is the most logical approach to good health. The key is to eat a combination of superfoods in moderation regularly, while still keeping everything in moderation. Some of the superfoods that can bolster your health include the following.
There are many types of berries and most have high fiber content and are packed with antioxidants. The most common seasonal berries available in North America include:
Regular consumption of any of the above berries can help maintain good health and lower chronic inflammation. Fresh berries are great but frozen berries, are available all year round, and are just about as good. Besides eating berries plain, you can add them to your cereal, yogurt, or create a smoothie.
Some fish are excellent sources of protein and are loaded with omega 3 fatty acids, which have been shown to lower the risk of stroke and heart disease. Fish with the highest concentration of omega 3 fatty acids include tuna, salmon, mackerel, sardines, and herring. It is recommended to eat fish at least 2-3 times a week to derive the health benefits. Fish is one of the best superfoods.
Garlic is a plant food that is related to leeks, onions, and shallots. For centuries, it has been regarded for its health benefits, and it is now known to be rich in vitamins (C and B6), manganese, selenium, and even fiber. Garlic is usually used to enhance the flavor of cooking but also possesses many medicinal properties. Research shows that regular consumption of garlic can result in a lowering of blood pressure, a decrease in cholesterol, and an enhanced immune system. New data show that garlic may even help prevent certain cancers.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Green leafy veggies are an excellent source of vitamins, calcium, and are rich in several phytochemicals that can help fight inflammation. Plus, green leafy veggies add fiber to the diet. Types of green leafy veggies that you can eat include kale, Swiss chard, spinach, mustard greens, or collard greens. While most cook with them or make salads, some people make smoothies with a mixture of these superfoods. These veggies lower cholesterol, prevent constipation, maintain healthy body weight, and prevent the development of diabetes.
Green tea is purported to have many medicinal properties because of its richness in polyphenols and antioxidants. One of the most potent antioxidants in green tea is catechin, which also possesses anti-inflammatory effects. Studies show that green tea consumption can protect against several chronic disorders, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Further, there is some evidence that green tea may be an effective aid for people considering weight loss.
Nuts are not only a good source of protein but also contain monounsaturated fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. All nuts are good for health as long as they are eaten in moderation. One can eat almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, or pecans. Nuts can be eaten as a snack or added to yogurt, smoothies, or oatmeal.
The original answer to the question, what are superfoods? Olive oil is a good source of monounsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E, and polyphenols, all of which can lower the risk of stroke and heart disease. It is recommended that olive oil be used instead of saturated oils for cooking. In addition, only small amounts should be used as it is also rich in calories. Olive oil is a major component of the Mediterranean diet, which is known to prevent heart disease, stroke, lower blood sugars, and lower blood pressure.
Whole grains are a great source of both insoluble and soluble fiber. Whole grains also contain several vitamins, phytonutrients, and minerals. Regular use of whole grains has been shown to decrease cholesterol levels, and reduce the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease.
Low-fat yogurt is an excellent source of protein, calcium, vitamins, and probiotics. Yogurt contains probiotics that can protect the body from harmful bacteria. Yogurt comes in many flavors and can be eaten any time of the day. However, yogurt is also packed with calories, so don’t overdo it. Regular consumption of yogurt can improve digestion, lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, and prevent joint pain.
Ginger is derived from the root of a flowering plant in Asia. It has been used as a food enhancer and for its many medicinal benefits for centuries. Ginger is known to contain several antioxidants, including gingerol, which is chiefly responsible for many of its health benefits. Ginger is often used to manage nausea, lower inflammation, and decrease pain from a variety of causes. In North America, fresh ginger is available all year round but is also available as a powder and oil. It can be consumed with salads, soups, sauces, and even tea.
Turmeric (Curcumin) is a yellow spice native to India. It has been used as a spice in Indian cooking and its medicinal benefits for centuries. The active compound in turmeric is called curcumin, which has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Many studies have shown that regular use of turmeric can be a good supplement when treating a wide range of medical disorders, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and even some cancers. Turmeric can also be used for pain relief, teeth whitening, and as an aid for wound healing.
Cruciferous vegetables include Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, collard greens, radishes, kohlrabi, and turnips. These vegetables are a good source of fiber, iron, vitamins, and many phytochemicals that can maintain low levels of cholesterol and help prevent several types of cancers.
Legumes and Tomatoes
Legumes include a wide range of beans, including peas, soybeans, garbanzo beans, and kidney beans. They are rich in fiber, minerals, folate, and protein. They not only maintain good health of the colon but also lower cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of heart disease.
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene and vitamin C. When consumed regularly, they have been shown to decrease the risk of prostate cancer.
What are superfoods? What are the best superfoods? Even though there are many superfoods on the market, consumers should understand that achieving good health is much more than eating one type of food. At the same time, one needs to exercise regularly, quit smoking, maintain a healthy weight, and limit the intake of alcohol. Finally, if you have a chronic medical illness, it is important to follow up with a healthcare provider; superfoods are not a substitute for good clinical care. The professional staff at Cano Health are focused on providing their patients with the best care possible. Call them today at 855.975.5119 to learn more.