Superfoods are foods that have many health benefits due to their phytonutrient content. These health-giving foods can reduce cholesterol, treat hypertension, aid in weight maintenance, and ward off cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
A healthy diet incorporating a variety of superfoods can reduce occurrence of common ailments and extend lifespan. Superfoods that offer health benefits include: Blueberries, wild salmon, oranges, walnuts, oats, spinach, pumpkin, soy, tea, beans, broccoli, dark chocolate, tomatoes, chili peppers, and yogurt.
Three main benefits of superfoods are related to their antioxidant, nutrient and fiber content. Antioxidants strengthen the immune system, stabilize cell-damaging free radicals and protect muscles, bones and skin. Nutrients found in superfoods consist of vitamins and minerals that are often lacking in the typical diet, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, the B vitamin folate, magnesium, and potassium.
Fibers in superfoods improve absorption of nutrients, increase feelings of “fullness,” aid digestion, and decrease occurrence of specific diseases. All superfoods contain fiber as well as phytochemicals, the substance in plants that give them their flavor, color and disease resistance. Some superfoods also contain healthy fats, such as omega 3s.
Including these superfoods in your diet can ensure health and well-being:
Blueberries: Blueberries contain high amounts of antioxidants, phytoflavinoids, potassium, vitamin C, and manganese. They are anti-inflammatory and can lower the risk of cancer and heart disease.
Wild salmon: The omega 3s found in fatty, cold-water fish, such as salmon, herring, mackerel, and sardines can protect against memory loss and Alzheimer’s, treat arthritis, and reduce heart disease risk. Salmon is high in monounsaturated fats, which lowers cholesterol.
Oranges: A primary source of vitamin C, oranges and other citrus fruits can aid the body in warding off cancers and heart disease.
Walnuts: Can reduce risk of cardiovascular disease.
Oats: Oat bran, such as that found in oatmeal, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol and can reduce risk of colon cancer.
Spinach: Contains vitamins A and C, folic acid and magnesium which can reduce stroke and heart attack risk, block free radicals, prevent osteoporosis, and reduce occurrence of cataracts and macular degeneration.
Pumpkin: Its phytonutrient content ensures healthy skin appearance and prevents skin aging due to sunlight damage.
Soy: A vegetarian source of protein, soy can reduce cholesterol and heart disease risk, as well as occurrence of certain cancers.
Tea: Although green and black teas contain similar antioxidant content that can lower cholesterol, green tea also contains ECGC, an antioxidant that can inhibit cancer.
Beans: A low-calorie source of protein, which can be effective in weight maintenance, beans are high in protein and complex carbohydrates. Beans contain phytochemicals and can aid in cancer prevention.
Broccoli: Contains vitamins C, A, and Beta Carotene and can aid in cancer prevention.
Dark chocolate: Has high antioxidant content and can lower blood pressure. Dark chocolates should be selected that have at least 60 percent cocoa content.
Tomatoes: Contain lycopenes, an antioxidant. Stimulates immune function, and reduces risk of prostate cancer.
Chili peppers: Capsaicin, an antioxidant that produces the heat source in chili peppers, can prevent stroke, protect against carcinogens and lower cholesterol.
Yogurt: Boosts the immune system.
For more information about nutrition for health and wellness call Dr. Richard Browne, Acupuncture Physician, at (305) 595-9500. .