What are they and what makes them so super?
Something of a buzzword these days, superfoods are loaded with nutritional value beyond that of other foods. With powerful benefits that range from helping you lose weight to acting as a cholesterol-lowering agent, if these foods aren’t a part of your daily diet, they should be. And don’t worry. Despite their awe-inspiring name, superfoods are not rare, hard-to-find foods only available in exotic locales. They can actually be found on the shelves of your local neighborhood grocery market.
What is so great about superfoods? What are some of the most popular superfoods you should include in your diet? Are they all you need to eat?
The “Super” in Superfoods
Fun fact: Many people take daily medications to provide the same health benefits offered by superfoods. Unlike medications, however, superfoods have no negative side effects, are cheaper to buy, and taste good, too. In other words, your medicine doesn’t have to taste disgusting. It can taste like…well…food!
Superfoods get their name from the amazing health benefits they provide. Being low in calories yet high in vital nutrients and antioxidants, these foods are powerful enough to reduce your risk of certain cancers and heart disease, lower your cholesterol, improve your mood, reduce or reverse the effects of aging and type 2 diabetes, reduce and maintain your weight, and help you live longer.
What Makes the Cut?
Hungry for some superfoods in your diet? It’s pretty easy. The next time you’re at the grocery store, stock up on the following superfoods:
Blueberries. They may be small, but they are one of your best sources of antioxidants. Blueberries, and all other berries, are also loaded with fiber, phytoflavinoids, potassium, and vitamin C. Eating a half-cup of berries each day will lower your risk of cancer and heart disease and reduce inflammation. The darker the berry, the more antioxidants it contains.
Salmon. Wild salmon and other fatty, cold-water fish are high on the list of superfoods because of their high amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon is also full of protein and iron while being low in saturated fat. Eating fatty fish twice a week protects your heart, reduces symptoms of arthritis, and may prevent memory loss.
Nuts. Nuts earn their superfood reputation by being full of heart-healthy fats, fiber, protein, and antioxidants. Eating a handful of nuts each day helps lower your cholesterol and aids in weight loss. You can’t just go crazy on nuts, though, as they’re rather high in fat. Whether your prefer almonds, peanuts, walnuts, pistachios, or pecans, enjoy some today as a snack or added to a salad.
Tea. Both black and green teas are extremely high in antioxidants. Green tea also contains an especially powerful antioxidant called ECGC. Drinking tea each day has been shown helpful in lowering cholesterol and reducing your risk of certain cancers.
Broccoli. A popular vegetable that looks like cute little trees, broccoli is an excellent source of vitamin A (beta-carotene). It is also high in vitamin C, vitamin K, and fiber. As fiber helps you feel full faster and therefore maintain a healthy weight, it’s no wonder broccoli is considered a superfood.
Yogurt. Fat-free or low fat plan yogurt is high in calcium, protein, vitamin D, and potassium. For some added oomph, get yogurt enriched with probiotics or live active cultures, as this yogurt helps keep the bacteria in your digestive system in balance.
Beans. It’s not just a joke. Beans really are good for your heart. The insoluble fiber in beans helps to lower cholesterol. But they’re not just good for your heart. Their soluble fiber fills you up and keeps you regular. Beans are also a great source of protein, magnesium, potassium, and carbohydrates. Eat them as a main dish in place of meat, or put them in soups or salads. Aim to eat three cups of beans a week.
Dark Chocolate. When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Packed with antioxidants, dark chocolate can help lower your cholesterol and improve your mood-all with a single bite. Look for the kind with more than 60 percent cocoa content.
Just a Start.
A number of other foods qualify as superfoods. Do your homework before your next trip to the grocery store, and fill your belly up with superfoods!
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