The Best Superfoods to Add to Your Diet Today
Dec 23, 2020
Incorporating superfoods into your diet is one of the best ways to remain heart healthy, manage your weight and keep your body in optimal shape. The top super foods are staples in the diet of athletes, clean eaters and people who simply want to get more from their diet.
What is a Superfood?
Super foods are rich in nutrients and give the body the maximum and most efficient use for energy. They are full of vitamins and minerals that the body needs and lacking in the things it doesn't. These foods give your meals a power punch, remaining low in calories and unhealthy fats while (in most cases) delivering the protein you need to build muscle and remain heart healthy. (1)
Why Add Superfoods to Your Diet?
Superfoods are great sources of energy and can fuel your body while helping you to maintain a healthy weight. These foods are packed with the vitamins, minerals and proteins that keep you fuller longer so you can avoid the cravings that can sabotage your eating habits. Healthy eating can lower blood pressure, reduce the incidence of heart disease and prevent the onset of type-2 diabetes.
High in protein and omega 3-fatty acids, salmon tops the list of superfoods to add to your diet. Salmon has been known to prevent heart disease due to its high antioxidant content and level of B vitamins. (2) Salmon retains its nutrient "superpowers" regardless of how its prepared. Salmon is an excellent source of protein so its an excellent post-workout food for rebuilding muscle.
The deep, rich color of these naturally sweet berries are a clue to the richness of the nutrients in these tasty fruits. Blueberries are high in fiber and vitamin C. They are also high in pterostilbene, a nutrient that has been shown to add in reducing tumors. (3) Blueberries are also packed with epicatechins, which help to prevent urinary tract infections. Blueberries are an excellent addition to oats, smoothies and cold cereals or just eaten as a snack.
Jam packed with calcium, broccoli is an excellent superfood to stave off the affects of osteoporosis that normally affect women in middle age. Broccoli is also a high source of fiber and vitamins and has been known to ward off certain cancers. Broccoli also contains nutrients that support cardiovascular health, fight birth defects and help to strengthen teeth and bones. (4)
A great source of protein, eggs are an important staple in many vegetarian diets. Bodybuilders love eggs for their nutritional punch. Each egg has about 70 calories and six grams of protein. Eggs are also packed with amino acids, iron, vitamins B12, B5 and B2. Eggs also promote satiety, keeping you full longer on fewer calories. This is excellent for maintaining your diet. (5) They only contain small amounts of carbohydrates, so they don't increase your blood glucose levels.
Greek yogurt is excellent for gut health. Yogurt is packed with live cultures and probiotics that reduces the growth of bacteria in the digestive tract. Greek yogurt can help to prevent and treat vaginal yeast infections, ulcers, urinary tract infections and bowel disease. It is important to note that not all yogurts are created equal. Some yogurt is high in sugar, which negates the healing properties of this superfood. (6) Choose Greek yogurt that contains live and active cultures.
Olive oil is one of the "good fats" that has been shown to lower the incidence of heart disease. Olive oil contains monounsaturated fats that lower cholesterol and aids in blood clotting. Studies have shown that olive oil has been beneficial to people looking to lower insulin levels and control the development of type-2 diabetes. Olive oil is also filled with antioxidants that keeps plaque from building up in artery walls. (7) Look for extra virgin olive oil or cold pressed olive oil for the best results.
Beans are one of the best sources of soluble fiber out there, and adding beans to your diet can boost your regularity and strengthen your heart. Soluble fiber works as a mini vacuum cleaner in the body, sucking up cholesterol and excess fats before pushing them out and keeping them off the artery walls. Beans also contain antioxidants that help with brain function. (8) They are also great plant proteins, so they are an excellent addition to vegetarian diets. Eat with brown rice for a complete protein meal.
Almonds, walnuts and peanuts are protein powerhouses, and there is a reason they make their way into trail mixes and protein bars. Nuts contain high amounts of fiber and are excellent tools for building muscle, suppressing appetite and fighting against excess fat. The high fat--the good kind---content is excellent for heart health and when added to a high protein, low calorie diet, can aid in weight loss. Sprinkle almonds on top of a bowl of oats with a side of blueberries or mix them with peanut butter and almond milk for a healthy protein shake. (9)
A favorite sweet treat of clean eaters, an apple a day just might keep the doctor away. Apples are full of antioxidants that help protect both red and white blood cells and reduce the likelihood of developing many incidences of cancer. The skin on apples is full of fiber. In fact, apples contain more fiber than any other fruit. Apples are versatile and can be eaten raw or made into applesauce, added to smoothies and fruit juices. For a real protein and fiber boost, cooked oats with almonds and a boiled egg for protein with a side of apple slices makes a high-energy breakfast. (10)
There's a reason that body builders and athletes grab a handful of oats after a workout. Oats are excellent for muscle repair and when paired with protein, they go to work in the body, helping you to fight fat and maintain a healthy weight. They are also high in soluble fiber, keeping the intestines clean and ridding the body of unhealthy bacteria and excess fat. (11)Oats are a good addition to protein shakes and smoothies and easy for the body to digest. Pair a bowl of oats with non-fat milk and blueberries for a high protein, high-antioxidant breakfast. Sprinkle a few almonds on top for even more protein.
Green tea is a wonder food, reducing inflammation in the body while at the same time boosting metabolism and suppressing appetite. Green tea has also been shown to help to reduce the plaques in the brain that lead to dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Drinking green tea hot without added sugar is one of the best way to enjoy the benefits of this superfood. (12)
Quinoa is one superfood that checks all of the boxes when it comes to a nutrient-rich dietary staple. Quinoa contains all nine of the amino acids the body needs for optimal health. It is also high in fiber, vitamin B, iron, potassium and calcium. Quinoa contains eight grams of protein, and more than 15 percent of the daily recommended dose of iron. (13) It is also gluten free and completely plant-based. Quinoa can be eaten alone or served as a side dish. Many people enjoy it with hummus or raw chickpeas. Others add it to salads. Quinoa is best cooked quickly as to help it to retain its nutrients.
A sweet ending to a day of healthy eating, dark chocolate is known for its heart boosting qualities. Dark chocolate has been known to reduce stress, increase blood flow and improve your mood. It also is packed with flavonoids which help to reduce blood pressure. Dark chocolate, when eaten in moderation, is healthy for the heart and brain and can boost your sexual energy as well. Experts advise a limit of about one ounce of dark chocolate per day. (14)
When it comes to enjoying a diet fueled with the most nutrient-rich and powerful foods, superfoods are a must for your diet. From high protein beans to brain boosting salmon, the best foods keep your body nourished, your brain sharp and your energy high so that you can tackle your day and enjoy a healthy body for life.
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