Superfoods are special foods found in nature that are low in calories and high in nutrients. They provide the body with nutrients that we can’t make ourselves. Most superfoods are plant based but can also include fish and some dairy. While the actual term superfood has no real scientific meaning, most people understand that superfoods are healthy.
Some superfoods are antioxidants that keep medical conditions such as cancer at bay, others are rich in fiber which benefits digestion or may prevent diabetes while others contain phytochemicals which provide a plethora of health benefits including protection from disease.
Including at least a few superfoods in your diet is a great way to boost overall health and and wellbeing. Here are three superfoods that you don’t want to miss out on.
Much research has been done on this blue superfood. In fact, researchers at the United States Department of Agriculture’s Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center found that blueberries had the highest antioxidant capacity out of 100 common foods. Antioxidants keep disease at bay and chase free radicals from the body. This power-packed blue fruit has also been found to reduce hypertension, boost brain health and memory as well as reduce the risk of colon cancer. Just a handful of blueberries each day is all it takes to reap the benefits. Try tossing some in yogurt, eating them on oatmeal or munching them alone for a delicious and nutritious snack.
While green foods are often thought of as leafy green vegetables, foods such as barley grass, wheatgrass and blue-green algae are much higher in nutrient value than their leafy green cousins. Studies conducted show that regular consumption of super green foods reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. In addition, they are found to improve immune system function and protect from cancer. These benefits are mostly due to their high concentration of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is the phytochemical that gives leaves, plants and algae their green color. It is known as the hemoglobin of the plant world. Cereal grasses can be eaten in salads or raw while blue-green algae is available in a wide variety of supplement forms including a powder that mixes well in smoothies.
Raw Nuts and Seeds
Because they are small they are often overlooked, but nuts and seeds can dramatically reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes while keeping hunger pangs at bay. Nuts are powerful antioxidants and anti inflammatories. In one study, researchers followed over 30,000 Seventh Day Adventists over twelve years. The study group was comprised of healthy vegetarians. One group consumed raw nuts at least five days a week while another group consumed them only one day a week. The group that ate the nuts five days a week reduced their risk of dying from coronary heart disease by up to 48% compared with those who ate nuts only once a week. These same nut eaters also reduced their chance of having a heart attack by 51%. Nuts contain healthy fats and minerals that the body requires for a number of functions.
Additional benefits of regular consumption of nuts and seeds includes a reduction in wrinkles and sagging skin. Toss a handful of raw nuts into your salad or enjoy them as a delicious and nutritious snack.
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