Eating super foods is one of the best ways to enhance one’s health. Although many people make an effort to follow a healthy diet, some individuals overlook the very foods that can protect their health the most. Additionally, a person may be unsure about which selections are best. Even though many foods offer healthy benefits, the following are everyday super foods that should be included in one’s diet as part of a simple wellness plan:
Blackberries are a star super food, although they are often overlooked. Similar to acai berries and blueberries, blackberries are loaded with powerful antioxidants, including cancer fighting ellagic acid, polyphenols, flavonoids and anthocyanins. Blackberries rank higher than any other North American food regarding their concentration of antioxidants. Not only it tastes good, it also makes good emergency food when dried.
Although frequently regarded as a vegetable, the avocado is actually a super fruit that offers health benefits to essentially everyone. Not only are avocados one of the richest sources of healthy, monounsaturated fats and essential fatty acids, they are also rich in carotenoids, a substance that is vital to cardiovascular health. In addition, they contain folic acid, and vitamins B, C, E and K. They are rich in vitamin B5–also known as pantothenic acid–which has been proven to combat anxiety, allergies, fatigue, hair loss and respiratory disorders.
Over the past several years, pomegranate fruit has become highly recommended as a super-food by many health and fitness experts. Such fruit contains polyphenols, anthocyanins and tannins, all of which are all potent antioxidants. Additionally, pomegranate juice contains more antioxidants than tea, red wine or any other fruit juice, making it an excellent choice for those who need to lower their cholesterol. Studies are also underway to determine whether or not pomegranate juice is advantageous to those who need to reduce their blood pressure.
Tomatoes are rich in vitamins E, A and C, as well as fiber, folate and potassium. According to the Mayo Clinic, tomatoes are also high in polyphenols, flavonoids and carotenoids, three phyto-nutrients that are also antioxidant-rich. The National Institutes of Health report that tomatoes are high in lycopene as well, which is a substance that is believed by many nutritionists to reduce one’s risk for cancer.
Salmon contains little saturated fat, but high amounts of calcium, zinc, iron and protein. It is also rich in docosahexaenoic acid–DHA–and omega-3 fatty acids. According to Johns Hopkins University, this combination is linked to improved vision and a lowered risk for cardiovascular disease. Salmon is also a healthy alternative for expectant mothers who crave seafood, but want to avoid the high mercury levels associated with certain kinds of fish. In addition, studies are currently being conducted by the Cleveland Clinic to determine whether salmon should be a staple for heart patients.
Dark, leafy greens such as spinach, collard greens, mustard greens and kale are ideal sources of vitamins A, K and D. Like tomatoes, they also contain high levels of fiber, potassium and folate. According to the American Diabetes Association, leafy greens are a perfect choice for diabetics, as they are low in both carbohydrates and calories. Many nutritionists and medical researchers believe that eating leafy greens can lead to enhanced brain function and improved vision. All the aforementioned facts make dark, leafy greens a bona fide super-food. Because such foods are readily available and easy to prepare, essentially anyone can add them to his or her diet on a regular basis. For example, eating a salad primarily made up of dark, leafy greens each night with dinner is a great way to add a serving of this super-food to one’s diet. Similarly, adding blackberries or pomegranate juice to one’s breakfast is an ideal avenue through which to introduce powerful antioxidants into his or her diet. Finally, although the aforementioned foods are very healthy, it is always wise to speak to one’s physician before making any dietary changes.
Lee Flynn is a freelance writer and expert in emergency food preparedness and food storage.
Photo. Ed Gregory