What they are and how they can improve your health
Diet, weight loss, healthy living- there are just some of the common terms tossed around these days, mostly by those who wish to understand how exactly they can improve the quality of their life. For the most part, living healthy is all about treating your body well and keeping it away from harmful elements that can cause diseases or compromise one or several vital organs. Daily diet is a crucial aspect of healthy living, and it is one that is mostly overlooked by many due to lack of awareness as to how much the food they eat can actually impact their life.
Superfoods are not a new concept, although they have gained widespread popularity as of late due to the proliferation of information on what constitutes a healthy diet. For those who have yet to become acquainted with this health concept, it is necessary to understand exactly what superfoods are and what specific benefits they can provide. Listed below are some of the best superfoods that can help not only make the body healthier, but also turn you into a more capable and productive human being.
What are Superfoods?
Essentially, superfoods are food items (vegetable, root crop, fruit, etc) that contain excellent properties that help provide a wide array of health benefits to anyone who consumes it. They are dubbed as superfoods since they provide more than just run of the mill nutrients i.e. protein, carbohydrates, etc.
The Superfood List
Below is a comprehensive list of food items that are categorized as superfoods. Please note that these items can either be fruit, vegetable, root crop, or other types of foods.
Almonds – These nutty treats are a great source of vitamin E, B, dietary fiber, protein, magnesium, and potassium. It is known to have anti-aging effects, i.e. prevention of wrinkles and age spots. It is also believed that it is effective in keeping fatty plaque off blood vessels, which prevents blockage.
Apples – This fruit is often taken for granted. There is a good logic behind the saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”, because this fruit is largely beneficial to the bones due to its boron content. In addition, it also helps lower bad cholesterol levels and helps prevent asthma. For people who are trying to lose weight, apples are also a good snack as they make you feel full longer, thus preventing unnecessary binging.
Apricots – Although much more popular as a natural fragrance for soap and body wash, apricots actually provide a wide array of benefits such as high fiber content (for better digestion), vitamins A and C, potassium, beta carotene, and lycopene. It is also known to help prevent a number of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack, etc.
Artichokes – Admittedly, this vegetable is not exactly look all that appetizing but it does a lot of good things for the body. It effectively lowers blood pressure, thereby preventing major cardiac events such as myocardial infarction, etc. In addition, it also helps eliminate carcinogenic residue (cancer-causing substances) in the body.
Asparagus – Of late, many food movements in the culinary scene have been featuring asparagus as the main ingredient in several exciting dishes, and for good reason. It is a great source of vitamin K and has a high concentration of antioxidants. Asparagus is also a great source of Folate, which is a necessary nutrient for pregnant women. As far as dieting goes, this makes for an excellent snack because it only contains about 27 calories per cup, and is very filling.
Avocados – If you are fond of guacamole, you would certainly be delighted to know that the primary ingredient for this incredible Mexican dip is really good for your body. It packs quite a healthy punch, which includes potassium, dietary fiber, and other essential vitamins.
Bananas – This kitchen staple is often overlooked because it does not have all that much excitement in the flavor department. However, bananas are full of potassium, energy, and dietary fiber. It also helps lower cholesterol levels effectively, on top of combating depression by inducing the production of serotonin in the brain.
Berries – There are many species of berries in the world, but some of the most common (i.e. strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, acai berry) are loaded with antioxidants, which protect cells in the body from premature degeneration. In addition, berries also have wonderful anti-aging effects, which is why many of them are used as active ingredients in formulating anti-aging supplements.
Berries are also low in calories but they are quite filling so they are excellent snack foods for those on a strict low-calorie diet.
Tip: You might want to consider swapping your usual morning bacon and pancakes for a cup of berries topped with greek yogurt.
Eggs – Commonly known as a popular breakfast item, eggs are in fact quite healthy if eaten in proper amounts. It is a wonderful source of protein (which is why it is a choice of food for many professional athletes). It also helps preserve eyesight by effectively preventing mascular degeneration.
Bell Peppers – While mostly used for garnish, bell peppers contain a high concentration of antioxidants that help fight off free radicals. In addition, it aids in thermogenesis (process of producing heat in the body), which is a necessary precursor to rapid weight loss.
Chilies – All types of chilies are good for the health. In fact, the spicier the chili is, the more benefits it can provide for the human body. This hot fruit is high in vitamin content (B, C, E, K), and is effective in fighting off cancer by eliminating carcinogens from the body.
Dark Chocolate – For people with a particular affinity to sweets, it might be time to switch from milk chocolate to dark chocolate. Not only is dark chocolate good for the cardiovascular system, but it also has excellent anti-aging properties as it is packed full with antioxidants. It is also believed that dark chocolate is a great brain-food that can improve memory and overall mental acuity.
Garlic – Yes, this kitchen staple that most people avoid eating when on a date is very good for the body. Garlic is known to fight off infection and a wide array of diseases, such as heart attack, gingivitis, stroke, etc. It is also rich in essential nutrients such as Potassium, Zinc, Phosphorous, Selenium, and Vitamin B6.
Mangoes – This tropical treat is one that people should have in their kitchen all the time. Not only are mangoes rich in vitamins A, E, and C, but they are also high in antioxidants as well as essential healthy enzymes.
Nuts – Apart from being an excellent snack, nuts are also god for the heart as they contain a high concentration of essential fatty acids. Nuts are also highly effective in keeping signs of aging at bay, i.e. wrinkles, age spots, etc.
Salmon – This fish is a very popular item on any restaurant menu mainly due to its pleasant taste, especially when coupled with lemons. What some people do not know is that salmon is rich in Omega 3 and other essential fatty acids, which makes it a perfect choice for people with heart concerns.
When doing your weekly grocery shopping and/or taking a trip to the farmers market, be sure to refer to this list of superfoods. It would do you a lot of good if you start learning to cook at home using one or all of the items mentioned above.
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