There has been tremendous interest in the health benefits of certain foods lately, and so-called superfoods are in the center of the discussion. While research is ongoing, studies show that it may be in our power to prevent serious medical conditions by eating a healthy diet that includes a growing list of superfoods. While many of us know that we should plan our meals to include fruits and veggies and reduce our intake of sugar, salt and unhealthy fat, new research shows that specific superfoods can help to ward off conditions including heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer. Amazing superfoods are packed with nutrition and have been shown to have significant benefits like lowering our cholesterol, helping us lose weight and boosting our mood. Superfoods can reduce our blood pressure, prevent premature aging, improve intestinal health and cut down on inflammation. The best part is that superfoods are inexpensive, commonly stocked items found in the local market. Chances are you are already incorporating some superfoods into your diet. But do superfoods really work?
Amazing Antioxidants in Blueberries
Delicious blueberries are superstars in the superfood world. These little blue miracles are loaded with antioxidants, and they are rich in potassium and Vitamin C. Blueberries can lower your risk of heart disease and cancer. They are also known to reduce inflammation, which contributes to diabetes, depression, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease. Blueberries can help boost your immune system to ward off infections and prevent premature aging. A half cup of fresh or frozen blueberries daily is recommended. Other berries also have an antioxidant effect, but remember that the darker the berry, the greater its antioxidant value.
Intestinal Health with Greek Yogurt
Another superfood that has become a popular choice is Greek yogurt, which can promote intestinal health, provide calcium for strong bones and enhance the immune system to fight off disease. Surprisingly, a six ounce serving of Greek yogurt contains the same amount of protein as two or three ounces of lean red meat, twice the amount contained in regular yogurt. Studies show that yogurt contains probiotics, healthy bacteria that improve digestion and are naturally found in a women’s digestive tract. Greek yogurt is also a good source of Vitamin D, which we now know plays a key role in regulating the body’s immune system. For a delicious meal or snack, add fruit or whole grain cereal to your serving of Greek yogurt.
A Healthy Heart with Wild Salmon
Wild salmon from unpolluted water provides remarkable health benefits, placing it high on the list of superfoods. At just 200 calories for a 3 ounce serving, salmon is low in calories and high in protein. Salmon contains much touted omega-3 fatty acids that support a healthy heart and neurological function. Wild salmon has also been shown to help prevent rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, contribute to prenatal health and reduce the chances of depression. Omega-3s in wild salmon may also reduce inflammation, which can lead to asthma. Prepare salmon on the grill or bake it in the oven, then serve it alone or as a topping for salad.
Lose Weight with Quinoa
A superfood that has recently gained prominence is quinoa, pronounced keen-wa. Quinoa, a diet staple in many cultures around the world, is a good source of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals like iron, zinc, vitamin E and selenium. Quinoa can aid in weight reduction, and it has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Serve quinoa plain as an alternative to pasta or rice, stuff it into vegetables or eat it for breakfast as a cereal.
Avoid Heart Problems with Sweet Potatoes
The high potassium content of sweet potatoes allows the kidneys to get rid of excess sodium in the body to reduced blood pressure. High blood pressure has been linked to medical problems including blood clots, strokes and heart attacks. Sweet potatoes also contain Vitamins A, essential for bone growth and night vision, and Vitamin C to prevent colds. Sweet potatoes taste naturally sweet, making the addition of butter or sour cream unnecessary which saves calories.