If you’re the fitness junkie, I’m sure you’ve dealt with superfoods at one point in your life. If you’re the type who eats junk food and soda for lunch and dinner, let us try to convince you how replacing your bad unhealthy habits with superfoods will make a huge difference in your overall health.
What are Superfoods?
According to the American Heart Association, there is no rigid classification for what is or what is not considered a superfood. The term “superfoods” is described to those types of food which have numerous health benefits.
And true to its name, they’re not called superfoods for nothing. Superfoods are indeed packed with more nutrients, minerals, and vitamins compared to a combination of different dishes or viands.
Superfoods also come in many shapes, form, and content. Some of these types are plant-based while some are oily like fish and nuts. Some experts say that filling half your plate with superfoods in every meal will keep you physically and mentally healthy. However, the same experts also said that any food – even superfoods – is good when taken in moderation.
Although there are a lot of superfoods in your local grocery stores, we’ve curated these top 7 superfoods that keep your body and mind strong.
- Beans and Legumes
Beans and legumes are a vegetarian’s favorite protein source. Beans and legumes are high in protein, B vitamins, fiber, calcium, potassium, zinc, iron, folate, and phosphorus. With all these vitamins and minerals, they’re also extremely low in fat which makes them a suitable replacement for meat and dairy.
Technically, legumes and meat sources are similar. The only difference is that legumes contain no saturated fats. A cup of cooked black beans alone will give an adult half the recommended daily amount of fiber adding only 227 calories to their diet.
Overall, legumes lower your chances of getting heart diseases and diabetes because they don’t have saturated fats. They are very filling which make them an excellent choice for people who are trying to lose weight.
Pronounced as “keen-wah,” quinoa is a gluten-free superfood which people mistake for grain and are loaded with a lot of nutrients. However, it is considered as a faux cereal. They appear like small seeds which do look like grains. And even though quinoa is not classified as a grain, they still belong in the “whole grain” section in your local health food store.
Quinoa can be boiled or sprinkled in your salad. You may also eat quinoa as a side dish to replace high-carb food like rice or sweet potato. A cup of cooked quinoa contains 222 calories.
Because quinoa is a gluten-free “grain,” this superfood is perfect for people who are into a gluten-free diet or keto diet. Overall, quinoa lowers your blood sugar levels and prevents you from getting heart diseases. And because they contain zero sugar, diabetic patients should take advantage of this superfood.
Who doesn’t love yogurt? Made from fermented dairy products with live bacteria, yogurt is a great probiotic which can give you a lot of health benefits. The probiotics in fermented milk are bifidobacteria and lactic acid bacteria.
However, you have to be smart when choosing yogurt. Some commercialized yogurt brands are laden with sugar, especially the flavored ones. Choose a nonfat, Greek yogurt as a healthier option which contains 59 calories only per 100 grams.
Probiotics are vital for our digestive system because they help balance the entire intestinal flora. Because of this, you can prevent the onset of IBS and decrease constipation.
Our brains need fatty acids to function. In fact, 60 percent of our brain is composed of fatty acids. And one type of fatty acid that the brain loves is docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which are omega-3 fatty acids.
Since our body can’t naturally produce DHA, it’s essential that we get our daily dose of DHA or omega-3 somewhere else. And guess what? Salmon can pack a punch of omega-3 needed for our brain health.
Salmon is also high in B vitamins. Some of them are vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, and B12. When the body is deficient in B vitamins, it can lead to some mental issues such as depression or memory loss.
Since salmon is also relatively low in calories (206 calories per 100 grams) compared to its other white and red meat counterparts, it’s an excellent source of protein and can aid in weight control. And we all know that eating healthy protein sources in every meal can help our bones, muscles, skin, blood, and other body parts function.
Blueberries come from a flowering shrub called blueberry bush. These shrubs are similar to those that grow cranberries and huckleberries. When blueberries first set, they appear to be green in color. After they slowly ripen, they turn to purple and then blue.
A cup of blueberries only contains 84 calories! That’s why a lot of health buffs always incorporate blueberries in their diet since they give them the right amount of nutrients with the lowest calories.
Although blueberries contain 4 grams of fiber, vitamin C and K, and manganese, the primary benefit of blueberries is that it has a high flavonoid content. These compounds are antioxidant compounds that help fight off free radicals in the body.
Every day, we are exposed to environmental and industrial toxins which can damage our cells and make our bodies susceptible to diseases like cancer. With the right amount of antioxidant intake daily, we can prevent these pollutants from hindering our cell’s functionality.
Avocados are a great source of riboflavin, niacin, beta-carotene, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Although it seems enticing to eat avocados and toast all day, be careful of the calories! There are 160 calories in every 100 grams of avocados. But don’t worry, most of these calories are from healthy unsaturated fats.
Avocados pose great benefits to your brain’s overall health. They give your brain enough oxygenation while improving its blood supply as well. Even a quarter of avocados per day can make a huge difference! Plus, the unsaturated fats help protect the brain’s nerve cells and keep the brain cell membranes flexible.
Nuts are not only delicious snacks, but they’re also packed with many nutrients and minerals including fat, fiber, and protein. Apart from that, they are also high in monounsaturated fat. This is the type of healthy fat that should also be eaten in moderation. Instead of consuming more of the saturated fat or trans fat, you should be replacing them with monounsaturated fat, along with omega-6 and omega-3, which are all found in nuts.
However, remember what the experts said about eating any food in moderation? Nuts are no exception. Although these little bad boys are superfoods, they’re also extremely high in calories. A quarter of mixed nuts contains 166 calories. So make sure you’re not munching on them for the entire duration of your movie!
Nuts are good for people with high blood pressure as the monounsaturated fats can help lower the bad cholesterol levels which prevent heart diseases and heart failures. Plus, nuts are considered as antioxidant powerhouses. Walnuts are said to reduce oxidative damage more than salmon.
Author Bio: Sarah Brooks is a health conscious who loves to write about healthy lifestyle, need for proper diet and exercise. One of her latest articles published is about the importance of healthy foods.