Increase Your Use of Superfoods
Whether you hope to lose weight, prevent illness, or just generally eat healthier, increasing your intake of superfoods is a great place to start. The word “superfood” refers to food that is packed with nutrients and highly beneficial to your physical well-being. Choose foods that are rich in antioxidants (vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene) as well as food with protein, fiber, and omega-3’s.
- Vitamin C – Choose berries, especially blackberries and blueberries for the ones richest in antioxidants. Oranges also provide an abundance of vitamin C along with a big dose of calcium. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts (these actually ward off cancer and detoxify your body), sweet potatoes (also a good source of vitamin A to protect your vision and immune system), and peppers (red, green, yellow) are also loaded with vitamin C.
- Vitamin E – Broccoli (sprouts are the best choice), mangoes, nuts (eaten raw and unsalted to avoid extra sodium and fat, plus omega-3’s in walnuts improve memory and coordination), and spinach (also rich in vitamin K, which helps blood to clot and promotes strong bones).
- Beta-carotene – carrots (also high in fiber), kale (contains lots of nutrients that promote a healthy heart), nectarines, and peaches. Watermelon, although mostly water, is packed with antioxidants, amino acids, and even a modest amount of potassium, so don’t be afraid to indulge in this juicy treat especially once the warm weather arrives!
- Protein – Turkey breast is a great choice for lean protein, as it has 20 grams of protein but only 92 calories in a satisfying 3-5 oz. serving. For a vegetarian option, quinoa is a smart choice. It’s loaded with iron, potassium, calcium, fiber, vitamin E, and the B vitamins. Added bonus: it’s naturally gluten-free! Black beans are also great for a meatless diet since they contain not only protein, but fiber and antioxidants as well. Edamame, high in protein and fiber, has cholesterol-lowering power too.
- Fiber – Bananas are a wise choice, especially since they contain not only fiber and potassium, but also “good-for-you” starch. Barley also lowers cholesterol and controls blood sugar. For a fiber-rich side dish, try brown rice. It is high in magnesium, which your body uses to build bones and convert food to energy.
- Omega-3 – Just 3 oz. of salmon will meet your daily omega-3 goal. For more of these healthy fats, sprinkle ground flaxseed on oatmeal or yogurt in the morning or as a midday snack.
This is just a basic roundup for superfoods that help to optimize your general health in a variety of ways. Increasing your intake of these foods will make you feel better, possibly slim down if that’s goal of yours, and slow down the aging process. As always, check with your doctor to find out what your specific health concerns are, and which foods to add to your diet that will address them.
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