No single food — not even a superfood — can offer all the nutrition, health benefits, and energy we need to nourish ourselves. “Superfood” is a reasonably new term referring to foods that provide maximum nutritional benefits for minimal calories. They contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Researches have shown that healthy dietary patterns can reduce the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. Dietary habits such as the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet and the Mediterranean Diet, which are mostly plant-based, have demonstrated significant health benefits and reduction of chronic disease.
These 22 “superfoods” offer vital nutrients to power-pack your meals and snacks and enhance a healthy eating pattern. These are:
High in fiber, berries are naturally sweet. Their rich colors mean they are high in antioxidants and disease-fighting nutrients.
When berries are not in season, it is just as healthy to buy them frozen. Add to yogurt, cereals, and smoothies, or eat plain for a snack.
Fish can be a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent heart disease.
Try replacing your mutton or poultry with salmon or tofu.
Buy fresh, frozen, or canned fish. Fish with the highest omega-3 content are salmon, tuna steaks, mackerel, herring, trout, anchovies, and sardines.
Dark, leafy greens are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium, as well as several phytochemicals (chemicals made by plants that have a positive effect on your health). They also add fiber to the diet.
Try varieties such as spinach, swiss chard, kale, collard greens, or mustard greens. Throw them into salads or sauté them in a little olive oil. You can also add greens to soups and stews.
Hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, pecans — nuts are a good source of plant protein. They also contain monounsaturated fats, which help in reducing the risk of heart disease.
Snack on nuts, seeds (especially Brazil nuts and sunflower seeds), and dried fruit (with no sugar or salt added).
They are calorically dense, so limit to a small handful.
They contain several kinds of good-for-you nutrients, may help you fight cancer, asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.
A quarter-cup of sunflower seeds delivers 14 grams of healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats, which keeps your heart healthy and reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Did you know that avocados have even more potassium than bananas?. Half an avocado provides 29 milligrams (mg) of magnesium.
The healthy fat in avocado also keeps you satisfied and helps you absorb other nutrients.
Flaxseed contains plant omega-3s, which are suitable for your heart health. Store ground flaxseed in your refrigerator and sprinkle on yogurt, cold cereal, oatmeal, toast, or in the dough.
Olive oil is a good source of vitamin E, polyphenols, and monounsaturated fatty acids, all of which help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Use in place of butter or margarine in pasta or rice dishes—drizzle over vegetables, use as a dressing, or when sautéing.
It is a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. It also contains several B vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. They help in lowering cholesterol and protect against heart disease and diabetes.
Barley, bulgur wheat, brown rice, and oats are common whole grains with an entire nutritional package packed with fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins. Brown rice has explicitly a variety of phenolic acids with antioxidant properties that may prevent conditions like type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
When buying bread at the supermarket, look to see that the first ingredient is “100% whole wheat flour.” Choose whole over refined grains.
A good source of calcium and protein, yogurt also contains live cultures called probiotics. These “good bacteria” can protect the body from other, more harmful bacteria.
Buy plain yogurt and add your fruit. You can use yogurt in place of mayonnaise or sour cream in dips or sauces.
These include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, mustard greens, radishes, and turnips. They are an excellent source of fiber, vitamins, and phytochemicals, including indoles, thiocyanates, and nitriles, which may prevent some types of cancer.
Steam or stir-fry, adding healthy oils and herbs and seasonings for flavor.
This broad category includes kidney, black, red, and garbanzo beans and soybeans, and peas. Legumes are an excellent source of fiber, folate, and plant-based protein. Studies show they can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Add to salads, soups, and casseroles. Make a chili or a bean-based spread such as hummus. In India, we use it as daal.
These are high in vitamin C and lycopene, which can reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
Try tomatoes in a salad or as a tomato sauce over your pasta. You can also put them in stews, soups, or chili. Lycopene becomes more available for your body to use when tomatoes are prepared and heated in a healthy fat such as olive oil.
Pomegranate may bolster heart health and make a good candidate for dietary supplements that could prevent cardiovascular disease.
You can eat it for breakfast along with oats.
Regularly eating fruits and vegetables also has strong associations with a lower risk of many lifestyle-related health conditions and overall mortality.
The nutrients they contain help promote a healthy complexion, nails, and hair and increase energy levels.
They can also help maintain a healthy weight.
Garlic and Onions
They may be pungent (some even bring us to tears), but allium vegetables — chives, onions, garlic, leeks, and the like — deliver potent health benefits. Plus, they’re delicious. Once used to ward off the evil eye, garlic also has antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Studies have found allium vegetables may play a role in preventing cancer, and garlic, in particular, may benefit people living with diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
Pumpkin is filled with the natural cancer fighters alpha- and beta carotene.
Mushrooms have been considered a superfood and are still used in traditional Chinese medicine to cleanse the body and promote longevity.
The use of mushrooms to help prevent and treat breast cancer.
You can have mushrooms as a soup or add them to pasta, noodles.
Citrus fruits come under superfoods because of their fiber and vitamin C content. The sweet and sour bite of citrus fruits like grapefruit, oranges, lemons, and limes is also low in calories and high in water.
It may prevent age-related eye diseases.
Dark chocolate may offer health benefits. The cacao in dark chocolate is full of antioxidants, which may play a role in cancer prevention, heart health, and weight loss.
Sweet potatoes have long been on the superfoods list. This root veggie may prevent diabetes, obesity, cancer, and other health conditions thanks to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, and antimicrobial properties.
As a bonus, root veggies, including sweet potatoes, are also gluten-free.
You can eat this as a snack by steaming.
Catechins, potent antioxidants found primarily in green tea, have beneficial anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties.
Tea contains few calories, helps with hydration, and is a good source of antioxidants.
Both green and white tea had reduced stress levels, and that white tea had an even more significant effect.
Green tea may also have an anti-arthritic effect by suppressing overall inflammation.
Replacing processed foods with whole foods will drastically improve health.
Consuming foods packed with nutrients (as many so-called superfoods are) is certainly a good idea.
When we label these foods as ‘super’ and ‘healthy,’ people think they can eat them in unlimited quantities. Still, you have to be cautious of what you eat because you can gain weight from eating healthy food.
Have you ever tried any of these superfoods? If yes, please mention it in the comment section. Don’t forget to like, share and follow my blog.
Superfoods usually offer high levels of particular nutrients. While virtually all whole plant foods offer some health benefits, superfoods are particularly beneficial.
No, a pill can never replace the whole food. Hundreds of compounds in whole foods, such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals, seem to work in unison. Scientists have not even isolated all of the compounds found in plants.
Spinach. Spinach is rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids that remove unstable molecules called free radicals from your body before they damage it.
Carotenoids are found in spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables, and some studies show they could protect against cancer of the mouth, esophagus, and stomach. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) study of more than 490,000 people found that those who ate more spinach were less likely to develop esophageal cancer. Some studies suggest the carotenoids in spinach and other foods reduce the risk of ovarian, endometrial, lung, and colorectal cancer, too.