A recurring theme you’ll see in our list of Superfoods is that they’ll usually provide support to a major organ needed to live. There are foods you can eat that benefit the heart, brain, liver, and other vital organs. Another benefit that is commonly shared is the presence of antioxidants used to battle free radicals and help keep us free from disease and fight the aging process.
In order to reap the benefits you don’t have to change your diet around so that you’re only eating these foods, but the more of them you can incorporate into your diet, the better. And some might be worth adding to your daily intake of food.
Even though almonds are high in fat, they are a way for you to reduce the risk of getting heart disease. They effectively lower your LDL Cholesterol, often referred to as the “bad” cholesterol. Almonds have been credited with helping you feel full when they’re added to a meal, helping to gain muscle when combined with weight lifting, and helping to stave off hunger as a snack between meals. Consider using almond butter that contains only almonds if you aren’t a fan of chomping up whole nuts.
Turns out there’s a lot of truth in the apple a day adage. Aside from the obvious benefits of containing fiber and helping regular digestive bacteria, apples contain polyphenols that offer an assortment of benefits. The most impressive of which is they’re able to help regulate your blood sugar levels, which can be of great use in weight loss, and help you stay focused throughout the day. To get the full benefit, consider spending a bit more for organic rather than conventional. It’s not that there’s more vitamins in an organic apple, but you’re leaving out a lot of the toxins and pesticides that get sprayed onto ordinary apples.
These are another heart-healthy fruit option, and can help out your eyes due to the high beta-carotene usually attributed to carrots. They also contain fiber and antioxidants in the form of Vitamin A. The other great quality is that they taste good, with a tart and sweet flavor that makes them a welcome addition to the range of fruits that you eat.
The major takeaway on asparagus is that it hits on two levels: it provides antioxidants, and also works as an anti-inflammatory, so you’re fighting free radicals and making it easier for your body to maintain it’s natural state of being.
Avocados do contain a decent amount of fat, but it’s the good kind of fat, and these can actually help your heart, rather than weigh it down. Guys: these can help with the prevention of prostate cancer. Other top benefits are that it can help prevent other cancers, keep your cholesterol at healthy levels, and help prevent strokes. Useful if you have a family history of stroke.
Most of us know that bananas contain a good amount of potassium, but it’s also a good source of fiber. When combined, these two features make bananas one of those foods you should try to consume on a daily basis. Why is potassium so important? It helps to regulate your blood pressure, and this does a great service to your overall heart health, and well-being.
Basil is an herb that has a lot going for it. The flavonoids it contains may help ward off invading cancer cells. This alone would be a good idea to pick up some fresh basil the next time you’re out. There are a lot of recipes that call for basil, but the one that packs the most basily punch is pesto. With the other ingredients of pesto also being good for you, namely garlic, pine nuts, and extra virgin olive oil, this is a tasty sauce that can break up the marinara routine.
Beans (several kinds)
Beans are getting more and more attention as a good carbohydrate to balance out protein dishes. This is because they don’t spike your blood sugar levels like some complex carbs do, and they contain a good amount of fiber. There are plenty of varieties to chose from, such as Kidney beans, Lima beans, Navy beans, Pinto Beans, and the one that’s most commonly found: Black beans.
The betalains in beets aren’t found in many foods that make it to the dinner table, and unless you want to eat prickly pears this makes a better option. They’re a staple in menu items like Greek salads and can be cooked up as a side item by following one of the many recipes found online. If you don’t like the taste of beets there are several ways to cook them up so you’re not just eating a mouthful of straight beets.
Whether you go with green, red, or yellow bell peppers, you’re going to get good nutritional value, not just in the form of phytonutrients, but also from Vitamin C, which bell peppers are a surprising source. They’ve also got antioxidants in them that can help you avoid diabetes, and can help you prevent a buildup of cholesterol which can lead to a host of other problems.
Many types of berries can offer you plenty of antioxidant support, as well as add a burst of flavor to a dish, a meal, or all by themselves. Blueberries have been shown to help the belly fat fight and help you avoid cardiovascular diseases. Cranberries can help with yeast infections, tooth health,and certain types of cancers. Goji Berries rank extra high in antioxidants. And raspberries contain a good amount of potassium which can help with blood pressure levels.
Aside from feeling like a giant by eating these tiny trees, broccoli packs a lot into a regular serving. It’s got fiber to help with regularity and keeping blood sugar levels optimal, it helps the heart and eyes with lutein, and can help prevent cancer. It’s also been shown to help with sun damage, and is good for bones and can help with the nervous system.
Often used as a substitute for white rice, brown rice contains a decent amount of fiber, could lower your cholesterol, and even has phytonutrients that can really help out the body. It can easily be put into recipes that call for white rice, as its been shown to reduce your risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
Many kids leave their brussels sprouts untouched on their plants, and it’s hard to reason with them by telling them they’re a superfood. But if they only knew that these could help prevent cancer and provide support to their cardiovascular system, they might hold their nose and chew them up. And since some adults actually prefer the taste, it’s a win-win situation.
Packing more Vitamin C support that the orange, cabbage is a great way to help keep healthy during flu season or anytime of the year. But it doesn’t stop there, it also acts to detoxify the body, and can help your brain function at its best. Worried about getting Alzheimers because it runs in the family? Make sure you get regular cabbage intake.
It’s been said that you burn more calories by eating cantaloupe than what it contains, but that may be a bit of an exaggeration. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t belong on your list of foods to eat regularly. It’s got an alkaline effect on the body and can help your pH levels from getting too acidic. Not to mention it’s also great tasting, so it can add a lot of flavor to your day.
Yes, carrots do actually help with good vision, and they can also help prevent cancer, and they can help slow down the aging process of cells. But that’s not all, they’ve also been shown to help with heart disease, and can have a cleansing effect by providing the liver with Vitamin A so it can do its job better.
Cashews aren’t just yummy, they can also help with heart, bone, hair and skin health. Whenever you’re dealing with nuts you’ll want to make sure you go organic and try to get them raw so you avoid the roasting process which involves added salt and more processing. You can roast them yourself quickly and easily if that’s how you prefer to eat them.
There are plenty of benefits to cauliflower and it makes a great partner to broccoli. They can help prevent cancer, help you digest other foods more easily, and can help with any weight loss efforts. Expecting Moms: This is a good source of folate, so if you’ve been looking to add more of that to your diet you can count on cauliflower.
Like nearly all of the superfoods on this list, cherries hit on multiple levels. They can help improve your memory, as well as having a substantial amount of beta carotene. You might also want to consider eating cherries to help put you out for the night, as they’re a natural source of melatonin.
Chickpeas can help you avoid getting diabetes, and they are also a great source of fiber so they’ll keep you more regular. They’ll also help balance out your blood sugar, and help you avoid cardiovascular problems. One of our favorite ways of getting more garbanzo beans into our diet is by eating hummus, a tasty dip for whole wheat or rye crackers as well as pita bread.
Cucumbers are a good source of water, and while that might sound funny they help to rehydrate the body in a different way than drinking a glass of water does. When preparing them you may be tempted to peel them first since the skin can be hard to chew up, but since it’s packed with Vitamin C so you want to leave them on, or at least leave some of it on.
This is one of the superfoods that many people will not have a problem eating. While it may not be as ubiquitous as milk chocolate this is worth going out of your way for. It’s got antioxidants and has been shown to help with the heart, the brain, and glucose levels. It can even help with tooth health. What’s not to love?
Eggplant is a very versatile food, and very easy to prepare as a side dish, or to add in to vegetable medleys. Aside from helping you out with your weight loss efforts, it can help you avoid cancer and give your skin a healthier glow. It’s one food that is easy to incorporate into your regular menu, and one that you can feel good about eating.
The fiber in flax is what gets its foot in the superfood door, but it’s also packed with omega-3, which you’d usually find in a fish source. Men and women both benefit from its anti-cancer benefits, men with prostate cancer and women with breast cancer. Toss in the evidence showing this can help ward off heart disease, diabetes, and stroke and this is a bona fide winner.
Many times grapefruit is given to heart patients after surgery. It’s also listed on many fad diets as a way to lose weight quickly. But losing weight alone won’t get a food onto this list. It’s also been shown to help prevent the onset of arthritis as well as keeping cholesterol levels low, and can even help get you through the common cold.
Make sure you mix up your grape intake between the different varieties. Just be sure not to overdo it because while they may not have any fat content, they do contain sugar which you’ll need to burn off. The phytonutrients alone are worth adding these to your shopping list.
Green beans are a popular side dish staples on many homes across the country. They’re relatively easy to prepare, and contain a good amount of antioxidants and help with the cardiovascular system. Just be sure to go easy on the butter when you top them off. Organic green beans tend to taste better and need less sprucing up with butter and other toppings.
The only beverage to make our list, green tea has long been touted for its antioxidant value, but it’s got a lot of tools in its toolkit. It can help with everything from regulating blood pressure to warding off heart disease and cancer. It’s been linked directly to helping prevent skin cancer, and to help with skin wrinkles and other aging signs. It doesn’t have to be hot green tea, you can let it cool and pour it over ice and it will still retain its benefits.
Eat your greens! Many people find them hard to incorporate into a meal, but you can treat them just like spinach in a salad. Collard greens can help detox the body, Mustard greens contain plenty of vitamins and minerals, Turnip greens get you the iron your body needs, Swiss chard can help you with your blood glucose levels, and Kale has carotenoids that make it great for adding to a green smoothie.
Honey can help you prevent things like cancer and heart disease, and if that’s not enough it can also help regular blood glucose levels. Try adding a teaspoon of honey and the juice of half a lemon to a cup of hot water in the morning. It can make a great replacement for a cup of coffee, and can prepare your digestive system for the work ahead of it for the day.
It’s all in the color really. Because these have their green hue it shows they have zeaxanthin, which can help your eyes as you get older. It can be a little boring eating plain honeydew, so why not mix it up with another superfood on our list that goes well with it: cantaloupe. A melon salad is easy to mix up, and adding watermelon can make it a colorful superfood feast.
This is a staple in Korean cuisine, and Korean newspapers ran pieces on how it is believed that kimchi was responsible for stopping the spread of SARS throughout the country. Whether or not that was the case, it’s still a beneficial addition to most meals. The most common way it is prepared is with fermented cabbage. It is thought to help aid in digestion the same way that sauerkraut does, by providing digestive enzymes to help us break down the foods we eat more easily.
Whether you go with the standard green variety, or the harder-to-find gold, kiwis are a great source of phytonutrients and fiber, as well as packed with vitamins and minerals. They go great in fruit salads, or they’re great by themselves. Eating tip: Cut it in half and spoon it right out of the peel. Fast, easy and yummy!
Lemons and Limes
There are plenty of reasons to start using more lemon and lime in your cooking, or even squeezed into your water. They can help with conditions like indigestion and constipation, and can even be a solution for fevers. Several hair and skin products also contain these natural citrus extracts in them, so it only makes sense to get on a first name basis with them.
Lentils often make the list of some of the healthiest foods on the planet. Tim Ferriss includes them in his Slow-Carb Diet in the book The Four Hour Body as a way to balance out proteins without eating carbs that will make you fat. In addition they’ve been shown to help with cholesterol levels, heart and digestive health, and giving you a boost of energy.
If you’re already a fan of mango, but find that you don’t eat it as often as you’d like to, you might want to find a way to fit it into your cooking repertoire. It can help with things like digestion, the immune system, and even a stagnant libido. If you can’t find it fresh when it’s not in season, try going the frozen route. Makes a great addition to smoothies.
If you’ve never eaten a fresh mangosteen before, you might not know how to tackle it. It’s got a protective covering, but just on the inside of it is a white, fleshy fruit that tastes amazing. The biggest feature is the way it supports the immune system, but it also has polyphenols which provide several benefits to the body.
Miso is typically presented in soup form, and you may have only experienced it as a side dish to a sushi roll. But it’s got you covered as far as amino acids go, and it can even reduce your risk for certain cancers. If you don’t like the taste at first, don’t give up, as there are several ways to prepare miso soup, and even to use miso paste in other recipes.
It’s like a peach, hold the fuzz. It’s still got a ton going for it, including commendable amounts of beta-carotene and Vitamin C. Then you should also consider the lutein, which is the antioxidant that can help prevent all sorts of diseases, including cancer. The important thing is to vary up your diet and include nectarines and other healthy foods daily.
Turns out this old standby really is good for you. It’s got plenty of fiber without a lot of calories so you can feel fuller longer without dipping too far into your daily calorie budget. If you do start adding more oats to your diet, be sure to go organic so you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that you’re not ingesting grains that were treated with pesticides and other chemicals. They make instant organic oatmeal that doesn’t cost much more than the conventional brands.
The monounsaturated fatty acids are one good reason to use olive oil if you don’t already, because they’re heart healthy. The polyphenol content is the next big ace up its sleeve. Use the extra virgin variety for things like salad dressing, and stick to the regular kind if you want to fry foods in it.
Don’t be scared off by the high fat content in olives, it’s actually some of the good fat you may have heard about. Even though it sounds counterintuitive, these fats can actually help you be more healthy, and lose weight if that’s your goal. Both green and black olives provide plenty of benefit.
OK, so we all know oranges contain a decent amount of Vitamin C, but what else do they have? Turns out they can help you avoid diabetes and kidney stones, can help you digest the other foods you eat, and can also help ease arthritis pain. So grab a bag of them next time you’re in the produce section.
You might have to wait until it’s in season, but this one is worth the wait. You’ll benefit from the antioxidants it contains, which can help with things like heart disease and inflammation, and it gives your palette a new taste that it might not be used to. Try adding it to a fruit salad to give it an exotic flavor.
Peanut butter is a good source of protein for vegetarians and meat eaters alike. It’s a great addition to smoothies because it provides the good kind of fat, adds that peanut taste, and thickens it up. For good measure it’s also got potassium and fiber, but stick to the recommended portion sizes as its easy to overindulge.
Peas are super easy to make, especially if you buy the frozen or canned varieties. They help with things like glucose levels, heart disease, regularity, and even bone health due to Vitamin K. Want a really special treat? Try adding a pat of ghee to a steaming serving of peas. It makes them taste amazing!
Pineapples have a way of adding instant island flavor to most any dish. But they also pack their own benefits by helping with eye health, gum health, and even easing arthritis pain. Even though it is low in fat and cholesterol free, you’ll want to stick to smaller portions due to the sugar content.
Help your heart, improve your regularity, keep your glucose levels in check, get stronger bones, and get a better memory all from one super fruit. You can eat plums raw just like a peach, or you can include them in a specially designed recipe. They’re one fruit that doesn’t usually make the shopping cart, but you can spot in next time you’re at the store.
This usually ends up as pomegranate juice, and it’s makes a great addition to fruit smoothies, or just drinking straight. The top benefits of drinking it are that it can help with breast, prostate, and lung cancer. It’s also been shown to help with blood pressure, and can help prevent or even reverse plaque buildup in the arteries.
The potassium levels in portobellos are the first thing that typically gets brought up, but they also contain antioxidants and vegetable based protein for those that don’t eat meat. It’s often served up as an alternative to a burger, or used in Italian dishes to replace the beef.
Most of us are aware of the ability of prunes to help with constipation, but you’ve got to have a bit more going for you than that to make in on this list. It also helps with “bad” cholesterol, and can help with diabetes because it ranks low on the glycemic index. Added bonus: the potassium helps regulate blood pressure.
The Vitamin A in pumpkin puts it on our superfood board, but it follows that up with carotenoids and plenty of fiber. Lost on how to eat pumpkin unless it’s in pie form? There are plenty of pumpkin recipes that will give you fresh ideas. It can become a weekly thing, or more often if you find that you like it.
This is gaining popularity in recent years, and for good reason. It’s got all of the protein you’d want from a supergrain, and it’s got plenty of fiber. It also contains plenty of minerals like iron, magnesium, and manganese. Lost on how to prepare it so you can add it to your regular menu? Luckily there are plenty of quinoa recipes to guide the way.
As far as antioxidants go, raisins beat out their grape ancestors. They’re loaded with tons of other benefits like giving you a burst of energy, and even helping to treat infections. But be careful because there’s more sugar in play than with grapes, and it’s easier to eat too many raisins and get a sugar rush and subsequent crash.
If you don’t already have a daily salad, you might want to start, and make romaine lettuce its base. It’s got things like protein and omega-3’s, features you typically only find in meat and fish. It’s also got a lot of vitamins and minerals that makes this well worth eating on a regular basis.
Made from fermented cabbage, sauerkraut adds a lot of flavor to meals but also aids in digestion because of the fermenting process. It acts as a natural probiotic, and it’s recommended to eat it before eating the other foods in your meal.
Seeds are typically small but can contain a lot of nutrients and healthy benefits depending on what type you eat. Hemp seeds can help with different brain funcions, eat Pumpkin seeds raw for the full sleep-inducing effect, use Sesame seeds in dishes like Tahini, Sunflower seeds are best when they’re eaten raw, and Chia seeds have plenty of extra omega-3 in them and can help balance your glucose levels.
Your immune system can benefit from eating shiitake mushrooms in their whole form. Don’t get them confused with the extracts that are used in herbal remedies, as it’s not the same. Like the Total corn flakes commercials of old, you’d have to eat dozens of shiitake mushrooms to equal the same beneficial qualities as the extracts contain.
Was Popeye on to something? Turns out that he was barking up the right tree, and you can even follow his lead and eat it from the can for cost savings. It might be just as easy to add a spinach salad to your lunch or dinner. The fiber is off the charts, and like many of the other superfoods it helps with blood pressure, immunity, brain function, and has several other benefits.
This is one of the flavors that is most often artificially replicated in sweet treats, but the real thing has the benefit of tasting great and providing enough nutrients to not only put it on the list but separate it from the other berries we’ve covered. It provides a boost to the immune system, helps the eyes, helps fight cancer, helps with cholesterol and inflammation, and even has anti-aging properties.
Many times these only make it to the dinner table on special holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, but you should start to consider adding them as side dishes to your meals throughout the year. They’re a good source of iron, as well as magnesium and Vitamin D and C, as well as B6. They’re great for reaching weight loss goals and are a good carb.
It’s not important the form, canned or fresh, just be sure to get more of these into your system. There are so many benefits to eating tomatoes that they cover almost every major part of the body including the heart, the skin, and bones. Ward off cancer, fight the harmful effects of smoking, help manage your diabetes, and improve your vision. Wow!
Even though it’s been around for a long time, turmeric is only recently getting attention as a superfood, or rather superspice. Add it to the other superfood cauliflower to create a powerful front against prostate cancer. In fact you might want to get into the habit of incorporating this spice into many foods you prepare for its anti-cancer properties.
They say that the brainy look of walnuts is a hint that they’re good for the brain, and modern research is backing it up. As long as you follow a healthy diet these can help you keep your mind sharp as you get older. They can also give you a natural energy boost, unlike the energy drinks that get so much attention.
The anti-cancer properties of watermelon are due to the vitamins and antioxidants it contains. It’s also a great cooling food for hot summer days, and it’s natural sweetness can make this a good food to satisfy your sweet tooth without breaking your diet. Just don’t overeat it, as it does contain sugar so keep portion sizes regular.
Mix It Up!
This is just a sampling of foods that are good for you, and other foods also have their place. They can’t all be superfoods. A good goal would be to eat at least one superfood a day, but of course the more the merrier, or in this case the healthier. One of life’s pleasures is sampling new tastes, and if you find that you haven’t tried some of these foods before, start with those so you can broaden your taste horizons.
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