Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wellness Wednesday: 10 Superfoods That Will Keep You Healthy!

I have heard much talk about "superfoods" and how good they are suppose to be for you.  So, I did a little homework and found out that they really do exist and are really good for your diet.  But what makes them so "super" you ask?   Well, they are low in calories, high in nutrients and a great source of antioxidants!  In other words, they are very good for you!!

Here are a few potential health benefits:
(Disclaimer-seek a medical professional for diagnosis and consult, for I am not a doctor!)
  • Prevent or reduce inflammation
  • Help regulate metabolism and burn body fat
  • Lower total cholesterol
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Help protect against heart disease
  • Help protect against cancer
  • Help protect organs from toxins
  • Promote digestive health
Sounds good right?  I think so.  With that, here is the list of superfoods and why they are good for you!

Spinach, kale, and swiss chard (dark, leafy greens).  These veggies are an excellent source of iron (women listen up), vitamin A, and lutein for eye health. More importantly, they are a great source of omega-3s that everyone is talking about. You can include this in your salads as well!

Cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli, etc. are "cruciferous vegetables".  These veggies contain a potent range of disease fighters. One specifically is sulforaphane, which may increase enzymes that lower the incidence of colon and lung cancers.  Sounds like
  a salad for me!

Leeks, onions, and garlic (alliums).  They  help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Research suggests they inhibit the growth of prostate, stomach, and colon cancer cells and may help you fight those pesky germs because of the antibio
 tic properties they possess.  Guess I will be packing an extra pack of gum!!

Ginger, Cayenne, and Black Pepper.  Do you like spicy foods?  Well that may work in your favor! That heat that you experience when you eat foods containing one of these spices is evidence of gingerols, capsaicin, and piperine, compounds that boost metabolism. (This is good for maintaining or losing weight!) They also have an aphrodisiac effect.  Ummm, ok moving along....

Cinnamon.  Believe it or not, cinnamon has one of the highest antioxidant levels of all herbs and spices! It also has a positive effect on blood glucose levels.  No, this does not mean go to the mall and get two Cinnabons!

Sweet Potatoes. They also contain phytonutrients which promote heart and eye health and boost immunity. The are flush with beta-carotene, which is believed to lower the risk of breast cancer and vitamin A,(which may reduce the effects of smoking. Oh, that's great! I love sweet potato pie! (Hmmmm, I some how don't think baking them with sugar, butter, etc. is what they had in mind....)

Avocado.  Contains the best kind of fat (monounsaturated oleic acid) but also helps your body block the absorption of bad fats (cholesterol). Didn't know that some fat was good fat did you? They aid in vision because they contain lutein and also in potassium and folate, which may reduce the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease. They are also low in pesticides. Still wash all your fruits and vegetables you buy from the market!

Beets. Ok, yuk! But, the pigment in them, which gives beets their distinctive color, is just one of several disease-fighting phytonutrients found in this root vegetable. They are also a good source of folate, which guards against birth defects, colon cancer, and osteoporosis, and are high in fiber and beta-carotene.  Does anyone have a tasty beet recipe? Ewwww... This is going to be a hard one for me!

Blueberries.  Fresh or frozen, they contain large levels of antioxidants, which combat the damage done by inflammation. They also contain natural plant compounds, which give them their deep color, that may have antidiabetic effects as well. New research suggests blueberries might protect the heart muscle from damage.  Yum!

Yogurt.  It's a very good source of calcium, phosphorus, and protein. Unlike milk, real yogurt also contains probiotics, the good bacteria your digestive system needs to process and benefit from all the other things you eat and Lactobacillus casei, boosts immune response.  Hmmm, you can mix the blueberries with the yogurt and kill two birds with one stone! (It's just a catch phrase, PETA don't start a protest...)

Wow, that is just a few superfoods that you can incorporate in your diet, that can really play a beneficial role to improving and marinating good health.  For more information about superfoods, check out Superfoods, by Tonia Reinhard.  She provides a detail information about different foods and the categories they belong to.  This book can be found at or wherever books are sold! Enjoy!

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