Here are top seven superfoods you shouldn’t go without.
It can be hard trying to maintain a healthy diet. There are just so many food options out there! Which ones are really best for your health, though? We’ve compiled a list of five superfoods that are good for just about everyone.
You’ve likely heard about “good fats” and “bad fats,” but do you know where to find them? Well, “bad fats” include trans fat and saturated fats. These increase your LDL cholesterol level and therefore, your risk of cardiovascular disease. “Good fats” on the other hand, include unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids. These have been shown to have various beneficial health effects.
Nuts are an excellent source of good fats. Almonds and hazelnuts, for example, reduce bed cholesterol, while increasing good cholesterol.
Nuts also contain vitamins and other compounds which play a part in maintaining a healthy brain, Walnuts, for example, contain vitamin E and melatonin, both of which play an antioxidant role, protecting the brain’s membranes from damage.
Like beans, nuts are high in fiber, too. This equates to a reduced risk of heart disease and a feeling of satiety (which helps to control your weight).
Instead of reaching for chips or candy, snack on nuts instead; you won’t regret it.
When you think about dairy products, kefir is not usually one of the first things to come to mind. But, maybe that should change. Kefir is a cultured dairy product and one of the most probiotic-rich foods in the world. By now, you should have heard all about the benefits of probiotics—they boost immunity, combat obesity and reduce intestinal issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome and lactose intolerance.
Kefir also helps to build bone density by increasing the absorption of calcium and magnesium. This leads to a reduced risk of osteoporosis, a disease which is on the rise. A protein-rich dairy product, kefir is packed with bioavailable calcium.
There’s no doubt you’ve heard the hype about blueberries. There’s good reason for all the hype because blueberries actually have many benefits. This is mainly due to their high levels of antioxidants. In fact, blueberries are said to contain the highest level of antioxidants of all commonly consumed fruits, along with pomegranates.
As you may know, antioxidants help to prevent cell damage due to free radicals. This means that blueberries help to prevent cancer and other chronic diseases by neutralizing free radicals.
Blueberries also contain vitamins and minerals (such as calcium, iron, and vitamin K) which maintain healthy bones. Recent research has also found that the antioxidants (especially polyphenols and flavonoids) contained in blueberries may also help to prevent bone loss which leads to osteoporosis.
On top of all this, blueberries are good for the heart, since they contain fiber and vitamin B6, but no cholesterol.
Salmon is exceptionally rich in omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). These are essential fatty acids that are crucial for heart health, brain function, and reducing inflammation in the body. You can’t find such an excellent combination in any plant food. The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon have been extensively studied for their positive effects on heart health. They can help reduce blood pressure, lower triglyceride levels, improve cholesterol profiles, and decrease the risk of heart disease. DHA is a major structural component of brain tissue. It is essential for cognitive function, memory, and overall brain health. Consuming adequate DHA has been associated with improved cognitive performance. While salmon is relatively high in fat, it’s predominantly heart-healthy unsaturated fat. This makes it a healthy choice compared to foods high in saturated fats.
Salmon is an excellent source of high-quality protein. Protein is essential for muscle repair, immune function, and the production of enzymes and hormones in the body.
Salmon is a good source of B vitamins (particularly B12 and niacin), which are important for energy metabolism, nerve function, and DNA synthesis.
Salmon is a good source of minerals like selenium, potassium, and phosphorus. Selenium is an important antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage.
Beans, in general, are great for your health. But, kidney beans are definitely special. Since kidney beans are filled with fiber (which lowers LDL cholesterol, without affecting HDL cholesterol), they’re great for your heart health. Beans have also been shown to reduce C-reactive protein levels (associated with inflammation). These anti-inflammatory properties additionally contribute to a healthy heart.
Due to their high fiber content and antioxidant activity, kidney beans may also help to control glucose levels. In fact, their low glycemic index makes them a healthy food option for diabetics.
That’s not all, though. Kidney beans are also high in protein (one cup of cooked kidney beans contains 15 grams of protein). Of course, protein is important for repairing tissue, building muscles and more. The list really can go on and on when it comes to kidney beans. They contain molybdenum (which jump starts our enzymes), iron, vitamin C and vitamin A.
Avocados are packed with essential nutrients. Known for their healthy monounsaturated fats, avocados are also rich in fiber, potassium, and a variety of essential vitamins, including folate, vitamin K, and vitamin C. Avocado is considered a superfood for several compelling reasons, owing to its exceptional nutritional content and a wide array of health benefits. Here are some of the key factors that contribute to avocado’s superfood status:
- Healthy Monounsaturated Fats: Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats, particularly oleic acid. These heart-healthy fats can help lower bad cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart disease.
- Fiber-Rich: Avocados are a good source of dietary fiber, which is important for maintaining a healthy digestive system, regulating blood sugar levels, and promoting a feeling of fullness, aiding in weight management.
- Antioxidant Content: Avocados contain various antioxidants, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which are beneficial for eye health. These antioxidants help protect the eyes from harmful ultraviolet light and reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
- Anti-Inflammatory Properties: The monounsaturated fats and various phytochemicals in avocados have been associated with reducing inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation is linked to numerous chronic diseases, so consuming anti-inflammatory foods like avocados can be beneficial for overall health.
- Aids Nutrient Absorption: Avocado can enhance the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients from other foods. For example, adding avocado to a salad can increase the absorption of carotenoids (such as lutein and beta-carotene) from vegetables.
- Regulates Blood Sugar Levels: The high fiber content in avocados can help stabilize blood sugar levels. This is particularly beneficial for individuals with type 2 diabetes or those at risk of developing it.
- Supports Skin Health: The healthy fats, vitamins, and antioxidants in avocados contribute to healthy, glowing skin. They help moisturize the skin, reduce inflammation, and protect against damage from UV rays.
You’ve probably taken ginger when you were feeling nauseous—but that’s only one of its many benefits! Ginger contains compounds called gingerols, which have powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This is why people with arthritis feel much better when they regularly consume this root. Although inflammation is necessary for warding off foreign invaders (such as viruses), chronic inflammation is a risk for many diseases. So, consuming ginger may help to prevent such diseases, including cancer, asthma, acid reflux and atherosclerosis.
Ginger may also help to reduce symptoms of diabetes by lowering blood glucose. Unfortunately, diabetes is becoming more and more common in North America. So, it’s good to know there are natural ways to reduce its symptoms and even prevent it from occurring in the first place.
Many people find the taste of ginger to be too strong to consume, but there are ways around that. You can add a piece of fresh ginger to a smoothie and the fruits will mask the taste.