Top Ten Superfoods
Superfoods are nutritious foods that pack a strong health-promoting benefit. Adding superfoods to your daily diet can reduce your risk for a wide range of serious health conditions, like heart disease and cancer. You’ll find superfoods in every grocery store and you’ll probably find a lot on the shelves in your pantry and refrigerator. Take advantage of the healthy benefits of these foods by moving then from the back of shelves to having starring roles in your daily diet.
Registered dietician Jessica Coz at meal planning site eMeals put together this list of the top 10 superfoods.
1. Beans and peas
Legumes, including kidney beans, black beans, lima beans, black-eyed peas, chickpeas and lentils, are an excellent source of meat-free protein, fiber, folate and potassium. Diets highs in beans and peas may help to reduce the risk of heart disease and prevent diabetes.
2. Dark green leafy vegetables
Kale, spinach, collard greens, turnip greens and mustard greens are excellent sources of fiber, folate, Vitamins A and K and antioxidants that contribute to heart and bone health and may help to prevent some forms of cancer. Choose fresh greens in season, or purchase frozen chopped spinach and kale to incorporate into casserole and pasta dishes for the best value.
Low-fat and fat-free yogurt contains calcium and Vitamin D necessary for healthy bones, as well as potassium, which can help maintain a healthy blood pressure. Choose Greek yogurt for twice the amount of protein in regular yogurt.
This ancient grain contains more protein per serving than any other grain. It also contains filling fiber, as well as iron and potassium. Try substituting quinoa for rice and couscous in grain recipes.
5. Hot peppers
Low-calorie peppers contain cancer-fighting, heart-healthy antioxidants and Vitamin C. Capsaicin, the compound that makes peppers hot, can also increase satiety and temporarily boost you metabolism by up to 15%.
6. Garlic and onions
Not just for adding flavor, members of the allium family, including garlic, onions, leeks and chives, are packed with polyphenols, which may help prevent stomach, breast, colon, esophageal and lung cancer.
Fresh blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries are prized for their naturally-sweet flavor, but these fruits are also bursting with a host of healthy nutrients, including fiber, Vitamins A, C and E, calcium and potassium. The antioxidants in berries may help to reduce risk of heart disease, diabetes and some kinds of cancer. As a high-fiber, low-calorie sweet treat, berries can be helpful in weight control. Enjoy fresh berries in the spring and summer when they’re in season, and purchase frozen, unsweetened berries for smoothies and sauces throughout the year.
8. Broccoli and cauliflower
Cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage, contain powerful antioxidants that have been linked to reduced risk of several cancers. This group of vegetables is also low in calories and high in fiber and Vitamin C.
Polyphenols in cinnamon help to reduce inflammation in the body that can lead to heart disease and cancer. Sprinkle on oatmeal, coffee or toast for an added antioxidant boost.
Green and black teas contain flavonoids, which may play a role in reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers. Just limit the amount of sugar you add to keep this healthful beverage low in calories.
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