The Superfoods That Pack an Extra Punch
By Mea | @MeaByTheSea | CLC Science Contributor
With so many diets trending—Paleo, keto, etc— it can be hard to figure exactly what a person should and should not be eating. Recent dietary guidelines from the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion say it all comes down to this: eat a balanced variety of foods and make sure you’re not taking in too many calories. Eating a healthy variety of foods is very important, but there is a handful of superfoods that can add some key nutrients to your snack or meal.
Berries: High in fiber, antioxidants, and other vitamins, berries make a great immune booster when added to a smoothie, yogurt, cereal, or by themselves.
Fish: Both a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids which help prevent heart disease. If you’re looking for fish with the highest omega-3 content, look for salmon, tuna steaks, mackerel, herring, trout, anchovies, and sardines.
Leafy Greens: Dark, leafy greens such as spinach, Swiss chard, kale, collard or mustard greens are great sources of vitamins A and C, calcium, and fiber. Leafy greens such as spinach also contain folate, which can be helpful for conditions like Rheumatoid Arthritis. Can be sautéd with a little bit of olive oil, in a salad, or even in a soup stew. If you’re not a fan of the “green” taste, add them into a smoothie full of berries and other fruits for an immune-boosting and vitamin-filled treat.
Nuts: Hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, and pecans are all great sources of proteins and healthy fats like monounsaturated fats, which may lower your risk of heart disease. Add them yogurt, salads, oatmeal, or on toast or fruit in a nut butter form (almond and cashew are especially good).
Olive Oil: a great source of vitamin E, monounsaturated fatty acids, and other micronutrients only found in plant-based foods. Olive oil can be used a salad dressing, used to sauté vegetables, or as a butter or margarine substitute on pasta and rice. (Healthline)
Whole grains: Great source of fiber, B vitamins and other minerals, whole grains can help lower cholesterol, protect against heart disease and even diabetes. Breakfast bowls like oatmeal and quinoa can give your day a healthy start. And substituting brown rice, quinoa, or bulgur for white rice or potatoes are a simple and easy way to choose a healthier option. Also when buying whole grain breads, make sure that the packaging says “100% whole wheat flour.”
Yogurt: An excellent source of calcium, proteins, and healthy bacteria that be especially helpful when taking antibiotics. Yogurt can be added to sauces or even used in baking. Try to stay away from flavored yogurt, as it can have a lot of added sugar. Adding honey or agave and berries can make your yogurt delicious without all the extra added calories. Look especially for yogurt with “live active cultures” such as Lactobacillus, L. acidophilus, L. bulgaricus, and S. thermophilus.
Cabbage & related Vegetables: Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi, radishes, and turnips are great sources of fiber, vitamins, and nutrients only found in plants such as indoles, thiocyanates, and nitriles. Add to a stir-fry, soup, casserole, or pasta for a healthy and filling dish.
Legumes: Kidney beans, black beans, red beans, garbanzo beans, soy beans, peas, and peanuts actually all make great sources of fiber, folate, and protein. Can be added to salads, soups, casseroles, or mixed in with rice or pasta.
Tomatoes: These fruits are high in vitamin C, lycopene— which has antioxidant properties and can reduce risk of prostate cancer. Add them to a salad, sauce, soup, or sandwich. (Healthline)
McManus, K. D. (2018, August 16). 10 superfoods to boost a healthy diet. Retrieved March 19, 2019, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/10-superfoods-to-boost-a-healthy-diet
Lycopene: Health Benefits and Top Food Sources. (2019). Retrieved March 19, 2019, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/lycopene
Phytonutrients. (2019). Retrieved March 19, 2019, from https://www.healthline.com/health/phytonutrients#outlook
What are polyphenols? (2019). Retrieved March 19, 2019, from https://www.healthline.com/health/polyphenols-foods#beans