Are These Superfoods a Regular Part of Your Diet?

Open your refrigerator and take a good look. Is it stocked with superfoods packed with vitamins and nutrients?

You know, leafy greens, like spinach, kale, and broccoli. Or brightly colored fruits and vegetables, like sweet potatoes, berries, and tomatoes. Maybe some fish.

No? Maybe your refrigerator is packed with take-out containers, some beer, and dessert.

You don’t have to restrict your diet to eating clean 100 percent of the time. But superfoods should be a regular part of your diet to promote health and prevent disease.

 

What’s a superfood?

Ask a foodie or a nutrition researcher, and you’ll get differing opinions on what a superfood is.

Some swear by a specific list of foods, and others argue that there really isn’t such a thing as a superfood, just foods that have a higher nutritional value than others.


Here’s how Harvard University describes superfoods:
They’re “…packed with nutrients and potent disease-fighting compounds. They’re also rich in fiber, healthy fat, and protein, which will keep you full so you’re less likely to splurge on the unhealthy stuff.[1]

That’s really what makes a superfood different than a candybar, a soda, or a hot dog for example. These foods provide little to no nutritional value and may even raise your risk for disease.

But superfoods have the opposite effect.

Eating more nutrient-dense foods high in phytochemicals has a corresponding effect on disease prevention.[2]

For example, an estimated 70 percent of all deaths in the United States are caused by chronic disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And poor nutrition and lifestyle habits are typically the root cause.

Kind of scary. Makes you want to take a closer look at your diet and find ways to eat healthier. Right?Eating the right foods can promote health and prevent chronic diseases like:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Obesity
  • And other chronic diseases and conditions [3]

 

Feast on Superfoods: 12 Foods for Better Health

Sometimes people only get around to improving their diet after a major health event like a heart attack, stroke, or diagnosis like high blood pressure of diabetes.

But preventing disease is always going to be better than trying to manage disease.

Want to improve your diet and your health?

Good. Feast on these 12 superfoods.

  1. Fish

    You can’t go wrong with eating fish a couple times a week. Try salmon, tuna, trout, and even sardines. Fish contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids that promote heart health and reduce inflammation.

  2. Dark Chocolate

    You might think sweet treats are off limits when you’re trying to eat healthy. It’s no secret cookies, candy, and sweets can be high in calories, sugar and fat. But a little dark chocolate can be good for you. Antioxidants in dark chocolate help control cholesterol, regulate blood sugar levels, and control blood pressure.

  3. Berries

    Take your pick. Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries…Dark-colored berries contain plant pigments like lycopene and anthocyanins. Berries are another rich source of antioxidants that can help protect against cell damage and prevent cancer.

  4. Quinoa

    It’s sometimes considered a whole grain, but it’s actually a seed. (In case you’re wondering, it’s pronounced “keen-wah.”) It’s nutty flavor makes it a good alternative to oatmeal. But it also works well added to salad, and it’s gluten-free. But the bigger benefit, it’s a good source of protein and essential amino acids.

  5. Leafy-Green Vegetables

    Broccoli tops the charts in this category of superfoods. But leafy-green vegetables also include spinach, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale. Leafy-greens are high in vitamin C, calcium, folate, and fiber, and contain natural compounds that help fight cancer.

  6. Tea

    Skip the sugar and cream, OK. Green tea, black tea, herbal tea of most varieties contain antioxidants that can help prevent cancer, and keep your heart and your brain healthy.

  7. Eggs

    Sure, bodybuilders chow down on eggs because they’re high in protein. But it’s not the only reason to include eggs in your diet. Eggs also contain lutein and choline, compounds that keep your eyes healthy and support brain function.

  8. Olive Oil

    You’ve probably heard of the Mediterranean Diet. This style of eating (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, legumes, nuts and seeds, herbs and spices) was the focus of a landmark study on heart disease.[4] And there was one more staple: olive oil. The study found that eating this way significantly reduced the risk for heart disease.

  9. Greek yogurt

    Skip the yogurts made with high-fructose corn syrup, and go for Greek yogurt instead. It’s a good source of protein, but it also contains calcium and vitamin D. Research shows Greek yogurt can help with weight management, improve digestion, strengthen bones, and support the immune system.

  10. Oats

    Choose steel-cut oats, or whole grain oats. Oats are high in fiber, which promotes heart health, controls blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and helps you feel fuller longer. A bowl of cereal or oatmeal loaded with sugar and butter doesn’t count, but go ahead and add berries or bananas for a sweeter taste.

  11. Legumes/Beans

    This superfood gets a bad rap. You know the rhyme…”Beans, beans, the magical art…the more you eat the more you…” You know the rest. Actually, the more often you eat beans, the more your gut gets used to digesting them. Beans are a rich source of nutrients like iron, magnesium, folate, potassium, fiber, and protein. Research shows eating beans lowers cancer risk and reduces inflammation.

  12. Nuts

    Skip the salted nuts and trail mix packages loaded with chocolate candies. And grab a handful of nuts. Walnuts, cashews, almonds, take your pick. Nuts contain healthy fats needed to absorb vitamins and nutrients from other foods. They’re a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, linked to heart health, cancer prevention, and brain function.

 

Need help getting all the vitamins and nutrients you need from superfoods? Make smart foods choices and complete your diet with all-natural plant-based supplements. Use coupon code super25off  for up to 25% off.


References

  1. Harvard University. (2017). 12 “superfoods” you should be eating. Harvard Health Publications. From: http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/12-superfoods-you-should-be-eating.
  2. Noia, J. (2014). Defining powerhouse fruits and vegetables: A nutrient density approach. Preventing Chronic Disease, 11(6). From: http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd11.130390.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). Chronic disease prevention and health promotion: Chronic disease overview. From: https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/overview/index.htm?s_cid=ostltsdyk_govd_203
  4. Estruch, R., et al. (2013). Primary prevention of cardiovascular disease with a Mediterranean Diet. New England Journal of Medicine, 368:1279-1290. From: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1200303#t=article

 

The Real Thing

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *