Posted on by Paula Gallagher
What makes a food “super”? The term “superfood” describes a food, usually plant-based, that offers maximum health benefits and is packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Superfoods help give our breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks that boost of nutrition for our health, particularly our immune system.
10 Favorite Superfoods
This grain is tasty and chock-full of magnesium, vitamin E, fiber and essential amino acids. It can be added to salads, soups and stews and can be used in place of couscous.
Whether you drink the juice, eat the dried forms, or add them to baked goods, you can rest assure that you are getting lots of vitamins C and A, and fiber.
Its orange color is what makes this gourd an antioxidant powerhouse. Beta carotene is just one of the antioxidants that it provides. Available frozen and in cans, it can be added to baked goods, stews and soups to raise nutritional value.
These would be your peas, beans and lentils. Readily found in bulk, soak them overnight and add them to whatever you are making for a source of iron, fiber, omega-6, and lots of other vitamins. If you're short on time, look for canned varieties that are sodium free.
This is one of my favorites. There are many different varieties, all of which are great sources of iron, A, C and K. Kale also contains indoles, compounds that are known to fight cancer.
Garlic, along with chives, onions and leeks, all belong to the allium family of vegetables, long touted for their heart-healthy benefits. Garlic is rich in antioxidants, including organosulfur compounds, selenium and polyphenols. These help fight free radicals and lower the risk of diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
Not only are they great for keeping one regular, they are packed with cancer fighting antioxidants and also help with iron absorption and glucose metabolism. Prunes are an excellent source of dietary fiber, vitamin K and disease-fighting flavonoids.
The bright pink pigment is thought to help ward off certain cancers, such as colon cancer. Beets are also high in folate (an essential B vitamin) and manganese, and the betaine found in beets can help fight inflammation in the body. Do you want to know how slow or fast you are digesting your foods? Eat some beets. If your GI tract is working optimally, you should see some pink come through in 2 to 3 hours.
9. Dark Chocolate
An ounce a day has antioxidants which help decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke. It's also a great way to give your mood a little boost.
What you put on your food can be just as important as what you cook. For example, one teaspoon of cinnamon has as many antioxidants as a serving of blueberries – making it a superfood favorite. Hot peppers (think cayenne or ground red pepper) contain capsaicin, another antioxidant which is thought to boost the metabolism. Allspice, cloves, ginger, oregano and sage are also packed full of antioxidants. If you want the benefits of many of these foods but have a hard time getting them in your diet, many of the beneficial compounds they offer are available as supplements.
The wonderful thing about superfoods is that there are so many of them. Don’t be limited to this short list.
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