What are Superfoods you may ask? Well there is no official definition, however certain foods have an extraordinarily high nutrient and antioxidant content or they may provide nutrients which promote health in several different ways, and are thus known as SUPERFOODS. Many are high in antioxidants that fight cancer and inflammation.
As a mom I feel that it is vital to provide my children with the best nutrition possible, especially growing up in a culture that is prone to either gorging on fast foods or indulging in fad diets. I try to provide my girls with the best choices for a healthy diet that can hopefully become a way of life.
Some common or well-known examples of these foods include salmon, blueberries, broccoli, spinach and green tea. I have put together a list of everyday Superfoods, which are not only high in nutrients and antioxidant but in some cases, are thought to help prevent weigh gain – yes we can use all the help we can get!
- Almonds – Eating almonds lowers blood pressure and cholesterol and may aid in weigh loss. The vitamin E in these nuts may aid in skin suppleness.
- Avocados – Are a high source of Fiber, Potassium (more than twice the amount found in a banana),Vitamin E, B-vitamins and Folic acid. In addition, avocados enable your body to more efficiently absorb fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha- and beta-carotene and lutein. Heart-healthy mono-unsaturated fatty acids in avocados can actually help you lose belly fat – a risk factor for heart disease and even some fertility problems.
- Blueberries – They have compounds called anthocyanins, one of the most powerful forms of antioxidants and one of natures most powerful anti-ageing foods.
- Beans – Are packed with calcium, iron, potassium, B vitamins and are an excellent source of protein. They rank low on the glycemic scale, which means that they do not cause hunger-inducing spikes in blood sugar, and keep you feeling full for longer.
- Broccoli – Research suggests that the chemicals in cruciferous vegetables, especially broccoli, may help prevent breast cancer by fighting excess estrogen. Rich in vitamin C and a good source of vitamin A, broccoli helps you feel full on less than 30 calories per serving.
- Cranberries - Cranberries are packed with proanthocyanidins that have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes, and improve urinary tract health. New research shows that cranberry juice may also work against gastrointestinal viruses.
- Dark chocolate – Is rich in flavonoids and antioxidants but you need to eat dark chocolate which contains at least 70% cocoa. It is also high in magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc, and phosphorus, which are important for strong bones. It is also thought to improve moods and brain power.
- Eggs – Are a great breakfast staple and a high-quality protein that is rich in vitamins D and A and low in saturated fat. They also contain choline, which was recently noted for its importance in brain function.
- Garlic – Research has shown that garlic may protect against heart disease and some cancers. It is also a great way to boost one’s immune system, especially in winter – it is in essence natures antibiotic. Garlic has been found to be more powerful than Penicillin and Tetracycline and will not cause disturbances in the gastric flora, which other pharmaceutical antibiotics do.
“It’s antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, anti-protozoan and antiviral,” asserted Paul Bergner, Director of The North American Institute of Herbal Medicine and author of The Healing Power of Garlic and several other herbal medicine books.
- Green tea – Fights cancer and heart disease, and helps in preventing dementia, diabetes, and stroke. Green tea contains polyphenols, which may reduce heart disease, cancer and stroke risk. Green tea also supports brain health and memory, likely due to a key compound called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), which is a flavonoid. EGCG is thought to boost the immune system and prevent tumours.
- Kiwifruit – Are high in vitamins, flavonoids and minerals. In particular, they contain a high amount of Vitamin C (more than oranges), as much potassium as bananas and a good amount of beta-carotene. They also help form Carnitine, which transports fats into cells to be burned as energy.
- Lentils – Are a great source of energy as they are high in protein, fiber and antioxidants.
- Mushrooms – Researchers have found that two of the most commonly purchased mushrooms—crimini (small, brown ones) and portobello—ranked as high in antioxidants as green beans, red bell peppers and carrots.
- Olive oil -Is a healthy mono-unsaturated fat, which has been linked to heart health and also promotes longevity.
- Pumpkin Seeds – If you would like the same mood lift you get from eating dark chocolate, but without the fats and calories, this is the super food for you. Like chocolate, they are a good source of the amino acid tryptophan, which is a mood elevator—nature’s healthy Prozac.
- Oats - Rolled oats and also oatmeal, the milled grain, are high in protein, contain essential fats and are rich in minerals including zinc, calcium, magnesium and iron.
- Red Peppers – Give us our daily dose of skin-repairing vitamin A and more than your necessary supply of immune-boosting vitamin C.
- Salmon – Is a great source of protein and has one of the highest levels of vitamin D found in all foods, which is important in maintaining a healthy heart and strong bones. Salmon is also one of the best sources of omega 3 fatty acids, which increases brain efficiency and improves memory. It is essential for children to include omega 3 fatty acids in their diet, especially in the early developmental phase of their lives.
- Spinach – Is loaded with vitamins A, C, and K, and lutein—an essential nutrient for healthy eyes.
- Sweet Potatoes – Contain Resistant Starch, which is considered to be the third type of dietary fiber. They are high in cancer-fighting antioxidants and are loaded with vitamins, manganese, and potassium.
- Tomatoes – Are a great source of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that may help protect against cervical and breast cancers. The lycopene in tomatoes is also said to lower LDL (“bad” cholesterol), enhance the body’s defences and protect enzymes, DNA, and cellular fats.
- Watermelon - One cup of watermelon contains more than twice the lycopene (7.8 milligrams) of a fresh tomato and watermelon offers healthy amounts of vitamins A and C. It only contains 40 calories per cup.
- Yoghurt - Not only is it a great source of bone building calcium, but also a great source of probiotics, which combat the growth of unhealthy bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.
That concludes my list of everyday Superfoods. There are many more but these are the ones which I find are more readily available. If we endeavour to include at least a few of these in our daily intake and eat seasonal fresh produce, it will not only boost our immune system but keep us looking and feeling healthier.
I will be posting recipes containing these Superfoods, over the next few months. Please share any other foods you consider to be Superfoods or feel free to share any of your own healthy recipes with us.
Images: Watermarked images are all protected by copyright. Other: Broccoli & Kiwi – Pinterest