Healthy diets often include fresh foods rich in vitamins and minerals as well as powerful antioxidants that help prevent and fight diseases. Here are 13 superfoods for optimal health.
While taking health supplements does help to maintain good health, commercially sold vitamins and minerals can be very costly. A better and cheaper alternative is to include lots of superfoods in the daily diet to achieve optimal natural health.
Feel Good Superfoods
Check out the nutritional benefits of the following superfoods:
Despite their high caloric and fat contents, avocados are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids that help reduce bad LDL cholesterol while raising good HDL cholesterol levels. They have also been found to help control diabetes. They contain dietary fiber, potassium, magnesium, and folate and can help in the absorption of nutrients from other foods.
Get your printable salad ingredient cheat sheet and smoothie ingredient cheat sheet here to balance your fruit and veggie creations every time!
Broccoli is a superfood containing lots of vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and C. It is loaded with calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc too. But broccoli’s real potent nutritional value lies in substances known as isothiocyanates, which are powerful anti-carcinogens that prevent and fight cancer. Find out how to learn to eat healthy when you hate vegetables here. And for ideas with broccoli, check these out:
Kiwis are primarily known for their extremely high content of vitamin C. One kiwi has up to 120% of the Recommended Daily Allowance for vitamin C. Kiwis also contain vitamin E, folate, copper, magnesium, potassium, and dietary fiber. Even the skin, which is edible, has plenty of flavonoid antioxidants.
Touted as the king of dietary fiber and known for its cholesterol-lowering powers, oats also contain protein, potassium, minerals, and antioxidants. They can also help stabilize blood glucose in the body. So those with heart disease and diabetes should include oats in their daily diet. Make oatmeal balls like these for a nutritious breakfast and they can be prepped ahead so they are already ready!
Superfoods for Immune System
Popeye is right. Spinach, which is loaded with calcium, folic acid, vitamin K and iron, is a superfood. It also has high amounts of carotenoids and antioxidants such as coenzyme Q. Because of its near-zero caloric content, spinach can be eaten in large quantities. Other dark green leafy vegetables with similar nutritional value are kale, Swiss chard, and turnip greens.
Lycopene, the red pigment in tomatoes, is a very potent antioxidant. Tomatoes also have coumaric acid and chlorogenic acid, which help prevent lung disease. Because of their low caloric content, tomatoes are ideal for weight loss. Unlike most greens and fruits, tomatoes are better eaten cooked than raw as cooking increases the effect of lycopene.
Typically seen on the produce shelf in the winter months this blah-colored turnip is great in the juicer from what I’ve personally experienced. It seems to have a sort of flowery taste after it’s juiced. Mix it with some raw just juiced apples and perhaps some carrots and you’re good to go.
The nutrition in parsnips is of great abundance and includes things like folate, vitamin C, and fiber. All of which help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and a few specific cancers out there. The good fiber content will assist with the prevention of heart disease as well as colon cancer prevention.
I spend a large amount of time juicing kale. It doesn’t make a lot of juice, but it’s a food that packs a potent nutrient punch starting with the highest amount of antioxidants in a veggie, how’s that for a great way to fight cancer? Sulforaphane is one of those powerful antioxidants that according to the Milwaukee Journal article not only fight cancer but ulcers as well and constitutes a large part of this leafy green.
If you’d like a little more sweetness to your kale, freeze it first. After a frost, experts say that it tastes sweeter.
Lentils are quite versatile and can be used in a variety of recipes for things like various nut burgers, or included in many vegetarian types of meatless loaves, soups, and stews. That’s great because these beans are high in some valuable nutrition that includes protein, fiber, and folate and as a result are great in the prevention of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
Carrots are rich in beta carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the body, and vitamin K. They also contain plenty of potassium and manganese. The nutritional value of carrots makes them good for eye disorders, skin care, nervous disorders, and indigestion. They are one of the most versatile superfoods for optimal health
Although walnuts are high in calories, they are also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, known for their cancer-fighting capabilities. Other nutrients found in walnuts are antioxidants and plant sterols that can help reduce blood cholesterol levels.
Armed with a plethora of potent nutrients that include anthocyanins, the substance that provides blueberries with their deep blue/purple color, this fruit can prevent specific eye problems that involve the minuscule vessels in the eyes. Blueberries are also helpful in providing prevention of macular degeneration as well as night blindness.
Frozen blueberries are a big treat for your family and make a great wholesome snack for the kids that won’t cause a spike in their blood sugar.
For ideas of what to make with blueberries, check this out.
Most berries are naturally sweet and provide lots of vitamin C and dietary fiber. A cup of strawberries has more than 100mg of vitamin C and only 53 calories while also providing calcium, magnesium and potassium, and folate. A cup of blueberries has fewer amounts of vitamin C than strawberries but it is packed with antioxidants, including anthocyanins and polyphenols. Other berries that should be added to the diet are raspberries, gooseberries, and currants. And don’t forget the mighty elderberry! You can even dehydrate them and store them for later. Check out these ways to enjoy berries and other superfoods:
Check out the superfoods that you can actually grow at home too!