It is important to remember that no single food can promise all nutrients, health benefits, and energy needed despite what the internet says. However, research suggests adopting healthy eating patterns that include bits and pieces from all food groups while not exceeding the daily required calorie count.
Studies show that healthy dietary patterns ensure a healthy body while reducing high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer. A few foods, known as superfoods, power-pack meals and deserve to be singled out because they are packed with nutrients.
What Are Superfoods?
Superfoods are plant-based foods but may also include fish and dairy, which are extremely nutritious and provide a range of benefits for one’s health. However, according to the American Health Association, there are no set criteria to determine and differentiate between superfoods since they do not have their own food group.
Even though superfood is now used as a marketing term for foods with loads of health benefits, the basic concept is food that is rich in nutrients, such as antioxidants, that are famous for keeping cancer at bay.
Superfoods also have healthy fats that prevent heart disease and fiber, ensuring that one does not suffer from diabetes and digestive issues. Moreover, superfoods are loaded with phytochemicals- the chemicals present in plants that provide deep colors and smell. Together, these nutrients help make a healthy diet.
Below are the top ten superfoods that are super easy to find and make the idea of ‘eating healthy’ fun and delicious.
Did you know that berries are an excellent source of fiber? In fact, most people do not include sufficient fiber in their diet. Fiber is important to ensure a healthy digestive system and is great for your heart. Since fiber is filling, berries can prevent you from getting hungry too fast and munching on fattening snacks!
There are many different kinds of berries to choose from. Don’t worry; all of them provide the same benefits. Berries usually go out of season in the winters, but you can opt for frozen berries that are not artificially sweetened. Throw in some berries in your smoothies, cereal, oatmeal, and yogurt.
Raspberries are one of the best foods to include in your breakfast as they keep you full for longer periods of time, hence encouraging weight loss. One cup of raspberries contains 8 grams of fiber and is loaded with ellagic acid- a compound known for its anti-cancer properties. One cup of blueberries contains 4 grams of fiber and is loaded with anthocyanins- an antioxidant that strengthens and sharpens your memory. One cup of strawberries contains only 3 grams of fiber but helps meet your daily recommended dose of vitamin C.
An excellent protein dose, an egg is versatile enough to be included in your breakfast, lunch, or dinner meals. A single egg has 6 grams of protein and approximately 70 calories. Egg yolks are loaded with lutein and zeaxanthin-two antioxidants, both of which keep your eyesight sharp.
Research shows that lutein and zeaxanthin also help prevent age-related macular degeneration, one of the leading causes of blindness in older individuals. Lutein is also known to protect the skin from harmful UV damage. We could go on and on about the benefits of an egg to the human body!
3. Sweet Potatoes
Have you noticed that sweet potatoes have a brilliant orange color? This is due to their alpha and beta carotene. When digested, these compounds are converted into active forms of Vitamin A. Vitamin A is great for the eyes, bones, and immune system.
The phytochemicals present in sweet potatoes also work as antioxidants and eliminate all disease-promoting free radicals present in the body. A medium sweet potato provides four times the recommended amount of vitamin A, along with smaller amounts of vitamin C, B6, potassium, manganese, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
Packed with vitamins A, C, and K, broccoli is known to help bone health. Moreover, it delivers a healthy dose of sulforaphane- an isothiocyanate known to prevent cancer by stimulating detoxifying enzymes in the human body.
A staple breakfast, oats are a popular choice amongst most people. Oats are an easy meal to increase your fiber intake. Fiber is essential for the guts and waistline as it keeps you full for longer and helps you avoid all forms of craving. Oats are whole grains that don’t have any added sugar.
If you want to include oats in your diet, start with plain oats and then work up to fancier recipes, such as blueberry oatcakes, granola, and energy bites with peanut butter.
Dark leafy greens are a man’s best friend. Spinach is loaded with nutrients, such as vitamins C, A, and K, as well as fiber, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin E.
Research proves that incorporating greens into your diet can help you lose weight, lower your risk of diabetes, prevent cancer, and keep your brain active and energetic.
Drinking tea regularly has been linked to healthy teeth and gums and strong bones. Moreover, it can also lower your risk of Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and cancer. Tea is loaded with antioxidants known as flavonoids. There are several tea options to choose from- all you have to do is ensure that you opt for freshly brewed tea.
You can also make cold tea. Add a little bit of lemon, lime, or orange juice to meet your daily dose of citric acid and vitamin C, and ensure a cup of refreshing, cold tea.
Nuts are great for heart health as they are packed with polyunsaturated fats and magnesium. These protect against insulin resistance, and hence, keep diabetes at bay. Nuts are loaded with antioxidant compounds that include ellagic acid and resveratrol, both of which balance out the wear and tear caused by free radicals.
Studies claim that nuts provide the body with insoluble fiber, which helps maintain gut health. If you do not like to eat raw nuts, make some nut butter at home, sweeten it with honey, and spread it on a piece of toast.
Oranges are the best source of vitamin C. One large orange or one cup of orange juice can meet your daily requirement. Vitamin C helps produce white blood cells and antibodies that keep the body safe from infections. It is also a strong antioxidant that helps protect cells from free radicals.
Moreover, vitamin C has been linked to ensuring the production of skin-firming collagen. Oranges are also a great source of fiber and folate.
Yogurt is filled with “good bacteria” or probiotics that ensure good gut health. It is also a great source of calcium. One cup of yogurt helps fulfill half the recommended daily dose of calcium needed by the body. Moreover, yogurt is also packed with phosphorus, potassium, zinc, riboflavin, vitamin B12, and protein.
When choosing yogurt, opt for plain instead of flavored. Most flavored yogurts tend to be loaded with extra sugars and preservatives.
Remember, the key to healthy living is a balanced diet. Anything taken in excess can harm the human body. Try to incorporate healthy foods from each food group, and allow your body some daily exercise for the best results.