Eating healthy is easier said than done. How do we know which foods to avoid and which have the hidden nutrients our bodies need? We’re constantly told that a healthy diet is the key to prevent and control disease. But which foods will give you the most bang for your buck? Here are some “Super foods” that you can try to fit in to your everyday meal plans.
|A balance diet rich in minerals and vitamins.
Always talk to your doctor before you start any new diet plan. Not all foods are for everyone.
I’m not referring to the rare exotic berries found in the Amazon jungles. Berries right here at home are a super food all on their own. Take strawberries for example. Just a handful of fresh sweet strawberries carry more vitamin C than a whole orange! The blueberries you toss into your cereal every morning are even better. Blueberries have the highest amount of antioxidants of the berries here in North America. These antioxidants are powerful disease fighters. And who hasn’t been told to drink more cranberry juice? Cranberries contain proanthocyanidins. These are substances that stop bacteria from sticking to the inside of your urinary tract, causing a urinary tract infection, or “UTI”.
As a child, no one was excited to hear that beets were on the menu for dinner. Beets however, carry tons of nutritional value. Beets are loaded with vitamins and minerals such as fiber, vitamin A, B and C and folic acid just to name a few. Beets also work as a tonic for the body. Beets also contain tryptophan, which relaxes the mind somewhat like the way that eating a piece of chocolate relaxes your mind. Good luck passing off beets as chocolate though!
Cabbage wins the race beating out broccoli and cauliflower. Regular consumption of cabbage has been linked to a decrease in the risk of colon cancer, as well as a decreased risk for other estrogen based cancers. The enzymes in cabbage give a boost to the production of antioxidants. These antioxidants can help to deactivate carcinogens and work to prevent abnormal growths.
The rumours are true. Avocados are fairly high in fat and calories. (138 calories and 14 grams of fat in just ½ of a medium avocado.) However, these fats are good fats. Avocados are full of antioxidants that help protect your body from various illnesses. ½ of an avocado has about 3.4 grams of fiber. Fiber is important because it helps keep your digestive system running smoothly. Avocado also has oleic acid, which can help to reduce cholesterol. Some avocado with your meal can help slow down digestion, preventing a steep spike in blood sugar after a meal. Avocado is so creamy, it can be used in place of mayo, and some people swear by using avocado in place of butter when baking.
All legumes are fairly healthy for you. Lentils are very high in fiber, and taste great. A diet high in fiber can be linked to lower cholesterol, and a decreased risk for colon cancer. Did you know, just 100 grams of lentils carry more potassium than a whole large banana? Not only that, but lentils actually carry the highest levels of folate out of all plant based foods. Folate is a vitamin B that helps support your body to make red blood cells. Who couldn’t use a few extra blood cells? Folate also helps with nerve function.
This one is easy. We’ve been told our whole lives how good spinach is for you. Popeye based his whole life around his spinach. That might seem like a lot of credit to give to a vegetable, but if anyone deserves it, its spinach. One cup of fresh spinach carries twice your daily vitamin K needs. Vitamin K, along with the calcium in spinach work together to make sure you maintain good strong bones. Vitamin K is also the vitamin that helps to clot blood and stop bleeding. Spinach also has vitamin A, D, and E. Antioxidants in spinach work to help protect your eyes against various diseases.
Most types of fish are generally good for you provided it isn’t battered and fried. Fatty or oily fish have the highest amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Fish is also a good source of protein and it carries plenty of vitamins and minerals. Fish is light, easy to cook, low in fat, low on calories, and let’s face it. It tastes great. Adding a piece of salmon to any salad adds tons of flavor, color, and nutrients.
Quinoa is just starting to become popular. Vegetarians have known about it for a while. Quinoa is a truly ancient food. Originally from South America, quinoa was used by the Inca warriors to build stamina as well as to recover faster after battle. Quinoa is referred to as a grain, but actually it’s a seed from a vegetable. Because it has no association with grains or wheat, it is gluten free! It also works as an excellent substitute for rice or other grains. Quinoa carries a high quality protein. It has 9 essential amino acids, and a great balance of protein comparable to milk. It’s even used as an antiseptic. The saponins from quinoa are used to encourage the fast healing of minor skin injuries in South America. Quinoa is also low in fat and calories (172 calories per ¼ cup dry, 24 of those calories are from protein and 12 are from sugars. The rest are fiber, complex carbohydrates and good fat.) Try adding quinoa as a side dish to your meals. There is even quinoa flour that you can use for baking.
A staple in every salad, one serving of raw tomato has vitamin A, C, K and folate and potassium. Tomatoes are low in fat and sodium. Did you know one serving of tomato offers 2 grams of fiber (that’s 7% of the daily recommended amount.) Tomatoes also have lycopene. Lycopene makes your skin less sensitive to damage caused by UV lights. This damage is also known as fine lines and wrinkles! Tomatoes can also help regulate blood sugar.