Looking for a way to feel good inside and out, maintain a healthy weight, ward off disease and slow down the aging process? To maximize the effects of your regular healthy diet, make it a habit to incorporate a few superfoods into your daily menu. Packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, they deliver the most nutritional bang for your caloric buck!
Here are a few healthy and tasty choices to consider:
Chia seeds – edible seeds that come from a flowering herb in the mint family. They were used as an energy booster in ancient Aztec and Mayan cultures, which makes sense, because chia seeds contain a high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, and a healthy blend of carbohydrates, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and calcium. You can add these mild, nutty seeds to foods and beverages for a heart healthy energy booster!
Blueberries – delicious, easy to eat and packed with healthy antioxidants, blueberries are also high in potassium and vitamin C. Be sure to add them to your shopping list, along with their colorful friends, acai berries, goji berries, raspberries, cranberries, strawberries, and cherries. Not only can they lower your risk of heart disease and cancer, they are also anti-inflammatory (and did I mention tasty?) When selecting berries, the rule of thumb is that the darker the berry, the more nutrients are packed inside!
Kale – it’s been called the “healthiest vegetable on the planet!” Just one cup of kale contains about 100% of your daily requirements for vitamins A, C and K, providing major cardiovascular and anti-inflammatory benefits. It’s also rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, which promote healthy eyesight. Plus, kale is a great source of potassium, iron, phosphorus and manganese – as well as over 45 different varieties of antioxidant flavonoids that lend themselves to cancer prevention!
Salmon – veggies are great, but I always recommend that you add some protein in too. Lean protein helps you to feel full and satisfied, without adding fat to your diet. In addition, wild salmon, along with herring, sardines and mackerel is rich in omega 3s, which lowers heart disease risk, helps arthritis, and helps with memory loss and Alzheimer’s. It’s also believed that omega 3s are beneficial in treating depression.
Tea – swap out your morning coffee for a cup of tea! The overall antioxidant power of black tea is the same as green tea, but green tea also contains ECGC, an especially powerful antioxidant. A recent Japanese study on green tea found that men who drank green tea regularly had lower cholesterol. Researchers in Spain and the United Kingdom have also shown that ECGC can inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
Almonds – nuts are another superfood rich in healthy fats that help you slim down, and they’re a great way to get your protein on the go! Almonds are high in protein, heart-friendly, and very filling. While a bit high in fat, they are one of the few foods that, like olive oil and avocados, contain the healthy monounsaturated fat, which is proven to help stave off heart disease and diabetes and to help lower bad cholesterol. Limit yourself to 10 – 15 almonds a serving, and keep the skin on to maximize the healthy benefits.
These nutritional superstars are just a few of the foods that nutritionists and health experts are touting these days.