DIET & NUTRITION
12 Superfoods That Supercharge Your Diet
24 October 2017
Is it possible to prevent heart disease simply by changing your diet? What about reducing inflammation and joint pain or boosting your metabolism? Or enhancing your hair, skin, and nails while gaining protection from chronic illnesses? By consuming certain superfoods, you can unlock your body’s ability to fight disease and improve your overall health.
WHAT ARE SUPERFOODS?
A “superfood” is a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for your health and well-being. They consist of fruits, vegetables and healthy fats that have high levels of antioxidants, minerals, and essential vitamins responsible for balancing your immune function and improving your overall health.
In your everyday life, you should always strive to eat foods that are fresh, real, and organic while avoiding processed foods that are laden with chemicals and preservatives, harmful fats, and sugars. Try incorporating some of these nourishing superfoods as you strive toward a healthy, life-giving diet:
01 | BONE BROTH is made by simmering the bones of different kind of animal meats with water, apple cider vinegar and assorted spices for up to 24 hours. The collagen that leaches from the bones is one of the main ingredients that make it such a healing food. Bone broth contains many wonderful nutrients your body needs in a form that is easy to absorb. It has minerals such as calcium and phosphorus, as well as amino acids and glucosamine. Bone broth is said to reduce inflammation, help restore gut integrity, reduce joint pain, strengthen bones, and encourage healthy hair and nails. Along with fighting infections caused by colds and flu, it has a whole host of benefits that promote health and longevity.
02 | COCONUT OIL is a natural oil that comes from the white meat of mature coconuts. It is a great choice for cooking and baking because it can tolerate high heat temperatures without being damaged. Coconut oil also contains medium-chain fatty acids (MCTs), which are easily digested and converted into energy rather than being stored as fat. Because of this, it helps to boost metabolism and assists in weight loss. This superfood is amazing at promoting heart health, optimizing brain function, and supporting your immune system and thyroid. It’s also great for improving skin health, so aside from consuming it, you can lather it on as a moisturizer to gain its benefits topically as well.
Coconut oil is a must-have in every household for cooking and consumption.
03 | KALE is one of the healthiest leafy greens you can eat. It is loaded with vitamins A, C, K and B6, and is high in Omega 3s. Just one cup of kale can blow a whole week’s worth of other foods out of the water. It contains anti-inflammatory properties, which may help to reverse certain diseases like arthritis, heart disease, and several autoimmune diseases.
04 | BLUEBERRIES have so many rich benefits, including nutrients that fight cancer, promote skin health and encourage weight loss. They are easily one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world. They are chocked full of antioxidants, which help the body defend itself against toxins, free radicals, and harmful pathogens. These little berries pack a big punch for memory and focus, and they support optimal brain health. One more benefit blueberries possess is the ability to improve heart health. They have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol, raise HDL cholesterol, and lower blood pressure naturally. So, grab a handful as an afternoon snack or throw them in your morning smoothie. Just make sure you get these superfoods in your diet on a regular basis!
“A healthy diet impacts your body in so many beneficial ways. Superfoods are the boost you need to take your healthy diet further.”
05 | TOMATOES often get overlooked, but they shouldn’t, as these plump, red superfoods are packed with anti-carcinogenic properties. They contain lycopene, which is the antioxidant that gives this fruit its red color. They may help to reduce prostate cancer and your risk of stroke. Tomatoes supply us with high amounts of fiber, potassium, manganese, magnesium, and vitamins A, B6, C, E, and K.
06 | BROCCOLI is a cruciferous vegetable packed health benefits, including anti-carcinogenic properties, anti-inflammatory properties, digestive system support, cardiovascular support, support for bones, and protection from chronic illnesses. People generally associate oranges as the go-to vitamin C food, but broccoli actually has twice the amount found in a single orange. Broccoli also provides you with vitamins A, C and K, folate, potassium, selenium, and calcium. In fact, it contains almost the same amount of calcium as whole milk. This superfood should be on your plates multiple times every week.
07 | AVOCADOS, known as a healthy fat, keep your cholesterol levels in an optimal range and can lower your risk for heart disease. This amazing little fruit is loaded with nutrients such as fiber, vitamins B5, B6, C, and K, folate, and potassium. They are also high in omega-9 fats, which can help balance hormones naturally. Whether combined with organic ingredients to make a homemade guacamole, displayed over a salad, tossed into your smoothie, or sliced fresh on a plate, be sure to include these in your diet on a daily basis.
Avocados and avocado oil are great sources of good, healthy fats
08 | CUCUMBERS, although mostly water, are filled with nutrients that are both anti-inflammatory and infection-fighting. The cucumber is an amazing source of vitamin B5, C, and K, as well as potassium, manganese, and magnesium. Many home remedies use cucumbers to treat headaches or to provide soothing relief for puffy or swollen eyes. The seeds can also be used as a diuretic. If that is not enough to get you running to the store to buy some cucumbers, then consider this: cucumbers contain vital phytonutrients known to block cancer cell growth.
09 | GOLDEN BERRIES are linked to stronger immunity and contain anti-inflammatory bioflavonoids. These tart, sweet and tangy berries are a great source of beta-carotene and a potent antioxidant. They are great for snacks and an excellent addition to salads or to a mix of nuts, such as almonds and cashews. Be sure to stock up on these during flu and cold season, as they are anti-viral and wonderful for that immune system boost you may need.
10 | HEMP SEEDS are an exceptional superfood, providing the perfect amount of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids to help reduce inflammation and boost the immune system. These little seeds are high in fiber, causing them to have great support for the gastrointestinal system and help relieve bouts of constipation. They help to improve the appearance of skin and promote healthy cell growth. Your hair, skin, and nails are sure to love you when you eat these precious seeds. So will your waistline, since hemp seeds are a helpful aid in weight loss. They can be natural appetite suppressants, as they help you feel full between meals. Putting them in your smoothies or your salads is a great way to add them into your diet.
11 | GOJI BERRIES are often considered as the healthiest dried fruit you can consume. They are a high antioxidant food that gives your body the ability to fight illnesses naturally, fight diabetes (as they reduce blood glucose levels), and help prevent heart disease. Goji berries have also been shown to help with anxiety and mood disorders. This super fruit contains 18 amino acids, protein, vitamins A, C, and B2, iron, calcium, potassium, and selenium. This superfood will surely become a favorite with its sweet taste, energy boosting ability, and easy ability to eat quickly while you are out on the go.
12 | FERMENTED FOODS are foods that have been set aside and steeped, allowing natural bacteria to feed on the sugar and carbs in the food. This process creates beneficial probiotics and enzymes that are wonderful for your immune system, as well as your digestive system as a whole. Some top fermented foods are sauerkraut, kefir, plain yogurt, kombucha, kimchi, and pickles. Eating these enzyme- rich foods will help you to better absorb the nutrients in the other food you eat. Fermented foods fight infection, detoxify the intestines, and increase the good bacteria in the gut. A great way to reap their benefits is to have some with each meal. Grab some kombucha and say “cheers” to a happy gut!
WHERE TO GET SUPERFOODS
Most of the superfoods in this article can be found at your local grocery store, speciality food shop, or nearby farmer’s market. If you need some guidance on where to start, Eat Well Guide is a great website that has a directory of more than 25,000 restaurants, farms, stores, farmer’s markets, CSAs, and other sources of local, sustainably produced food throughout the United States. It’s a great resource to find these beneficial superfoods in your area.
Thrive Market is another great option if you don’t have easy access to grocery stores that carry these items.
A healthy diet impacts your body in so many beneficial ways. Superfoods are the boost you need to take your healthy diet further. While exercise, reducing stress, and getting enough sleep are crucial as well, these nutrient-rich foods will give you the boost you need to minimize disease and illness while supercharging your health. Ditch processed foods from your diet in exchange for these fresh, healthy superfoods and you won’t regret it. They’re easy to incorporate and love!
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