A healthy diet including superfoods will help you maintain your weight, fight disease and even reverse the aging process! How so?
- they provide extra amounts of vitamins, minerals, and essential fats
- they are loaded with phytochemicals that provide antioxidant effects that ward off and reverse cellular damage and cancer
- they offer more protection against cancer and heart disease compared to ordinary foods
- they lower cholesterol and blood pressure
- they promote digestive health
Here is a list of some SUPERFOODS you can start incorporating into your diet today:
Did you know that blueberries have 40% more antioxidant capacity than strawberries? They are packed with immune-boosting vitamin C, as well as and phytonutrients called anthocyanins, which lower your risk of heart disease and cancer. Blueberries also possess anti-inflammatory properties, and as we know, inflammation is a key contributor to chronic diseases.
Drink green tea because of its purported health benefits, ranging from its potential to fight cancer and heart disease, lower “bad” (LDL) cholesterol, burn fat, prevent diabetes and stroke, and even ward off dementia. Green tea contains antioxidants (catechins) that scavenge for free radicals. Free radicals can damage DNA and contribute to cancer. In fact a few studies have shown drinking 2 cups of green tea a day inhibits cancer growth. Black, white and green tea all contain protective antioxidants; however, green tea also contains EGCG, which assists with fat and weight loss.
Cocoa (ie. Dark Chocolate):
- serotonin and dopamine: antidepressant compounds
- phenylethylamine: produces the same brain chemistry as falling in love
- polphenols (antioxidants): provide cardiovascular and metabolic health benefits
Several studies suggest cocoa-derived polyphenols reduce blood pressure, improve insulin sensitivity, raise HDL (good) cholesterol and reduce the risk of blood clotting.
Dark chocolate also provides these health benefits. The darker the chocolate the better because darker is lower in fat and sugar and is closest to the pure source of cacao beans. Be sure to purchase dark chocolate that has at least 70% cocoa solids to get the heart healthy benefits. The serving recommendation is 1 ounce of dark chocolate 2-3 times a week. Do not consume dark chocolate with milk because the health benefits of dark chocolate are negated when consumed with milk. Have you tried 99% dark chocolate yet?
Açai (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) is a Brazilian berry is rife with antioxidants, fiber, amino acids, omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated (healthy) fats. Açai has been touted to boost energy levels, promote sleep, improve digestion and cardiovascular health, restore skin’s youthful appearance and detoxify the body. Since 90% of the berry is a pit, you will not find this berry in your grocery store, but you will be able to purchase it as a juice.
This Himalayan berry is a small red fruit that resembles a raisin and has been used in Chinese medicine for over 2000 years. The goji berry is a complete source of protein containing all the essential amino acids, which is uncharacteristic for a fruit. Goji berries are high in beta-carotene, vitamin C and iron.
Peppers, especially chili peppers, contain capsaicinoids. High levels of capsaicinoids are responsible for the anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-cancer and heart-healthy effects of hot peppers. Chili peppers contain the following antioxidants: carotenes, flavonoids and twice the amount of vitamin C that is found in citrus fruits.
Did you know that chili peppers speed up your metabolism? Capsaicin, the active ingredient in chili peppers responsible for that notorious inferno effect in your mouth, can induce thermogenesis and increase body temperature. By incorporating hot peppers into your meals, you will be able to rev your metabolism and increase fat burning.
Walnuts contain more omega-3 fatty acids than other nuts, and as we know, omega-3 fats help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and may even reduce arterial inflammation. Walnuts are also an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamin E, selenium and magnesium.
Not only are avocados are a great source of healthy monounsaturated fat, but they also help block the absorption of cholesterol. They are low in pesticides and high in lutein, which aids eyesight, as well as potassium and folate.
Beets get their colour from the pigment betacyanin, a disease-fighting phytonutrient. Not only are beets high in fiber and beta-carotene, but they also provide an excellent source of folate, which helps prevent birth defects, colon cancer and osteoporosis.
Sweet potatoes are rich in complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, vitamin C and vitamin B6. Sweet potatoes also contain the immune-boosting phytonutrient, beta-carotene (a vitamin A equivalent nutrient).
Spinach and other dark leafy greens, such as kale are an excellent source of iron (especially important for women), omega-3 fats, vitamin A, and lutein for eye health.
Did you know that this cruciferous vegetable contains more vitamin C than an orange? It also contains more calcium than a glass of milk! Broccoli is packed with a phytochemical called sulforaphane, which has been shown to lower the risk of many types of cancers. Also try cauliflower, kale, cabbage, brussel sprouts and bok choy: all members of the cruciferous family.
Tomatoes are a rich source of lycopene, a powerful anti-cancer agent. But did you know that lycopene needs fat to be optimally absorbed? Be sure to add a healthy fat to your tomato dishes, such as olive oil.
Beans such as kidney, black, navy, pinto, garbanzo and lentils are low in fat, calories, and sodium, but are high in protein and fiber. They have a low glycemic rating, which means they do not cause huge spikes in your blood sugar levels.
Reasons why you should eat oats:
1. Oats are a complex carbohydrate. Their high water-soluble fiber content encourages slow digestion and minimizes insulin spiking.
2. Oats can lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
3. Oats can reduce high blood pressure because of its soluble fiber content.
4. Because of the high soluble fiber content of oats, eating them will make you feel fuller longer, which helps you keep your caloric intake under control. This will help you lose weight.
5. Oats are inexpensive and easy to prepare.
6. Oats are a good source of lean protein, vitamins and minerals.
7. Research suggests that consuming oats can reduce the risk of some cancers.
Cinnamon is a thermogenic spice, meaning it speeds up your metabolism. Several studies suggest that cinnamon can lower “bad” LDL cholesterol and regulate blood sugar levels. Seasoning a high glycemic carboydrate food with cinnamon can lessen its impact on your blood sugar levels. Cinnamon also has one of the highest antioxidant levels of all the herbs and spices.
The American Heart Association recommends you consume at least 2 servings of fish per week to get your omega-3 fatty acids, and salmon contains the highest amounts of omega-3 compared to other fish. Wild Alaskan salmon poses the lowest contamination risk compared to farm-raised salmon. If your grocery store does not carry wild-caught Alaskan salmon, it is recommended that you purchase wild-caught Alaskan salmon in canned form (with no salt added) as the next best option.
Flaxseeds contains soluble and insoluble fiber, as well as mucilage. Not only does mucilage help protect against bowel cancer, but it also helps stabilize your blood sugar. And fiber, as you know, helps relieve constipation. Ground flaxseed expands up to 5 times when ingested, which means 1 tablespoon added to your morning oats or protein shake will be enough to help you feel full all morning! Note that flaxseeds must be ground in order to be absorbed. Store them in the refrigerator in an airtight container to extend their freshness (they will stay fresh for 3 months). Flaxseeds also contain lignans, which possess anti-cancer, anti-viral, anti-bacterial and antioxidant properties. Flaxseeds are also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein.
Did you know that one ounce of wheatgrass juice contains as much nutritional value as approximately 2.5 pounds of fresh green vegetables? Wheatgrass contains chlorophyll, which is known for its purported ability to draw toxins from the body. It also contains beta-carotene, which acts as a scavenger against harmful molecules in our body.
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), is a whole grain known for being a dietary staple of the ancient Incas of South America. It is a low-glycemic index complex carbohydrate, as well as an excellent source of protein, providing all 9 essential amino acids. In fact, quinoa has twice the protein of regular cereal grains with fewer carbs. This gluten-free high-fiber ancient grain is most typically available in stores in the red or golden varieties. Quinoa has a slightly nutty flavour and a light fluffy texture. Red quinoa has a chewier texture and a stronger and more earthy flavor than its golden counterpart. Both provide a source of dietary fiber, vitamin E, B vitamins, calcium and phosphorus.
Hemp Seed & Oil:
Hemp has the perfect ratio of omega-3 and -6 fatty acids. Studies have demonstrated that a balanced omega ratio reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and provides anti-inflammatory benefits. Hemp is also a complete protein source. Blend your hemp seeds into your smoothies and protein shakes, or add hemp oil to your salad dressing. Do not cook with hemp oil because it is not heat stable.
The health benefits of garlic have been touted for centuries. It has been used to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, prevent cancer, and even as an anti-batcterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral agent. One clove of garlic provides vitamins A, B, C, selenium, iodine, potassium, iron, calcium, zinc and magnesium. Tests have revealed that raw garlic can detoxify the body by increasing antioxidant levels.
Incorporating superfoods into a healthy balanced diet will improve your health and energy levels, boost your immune system and help ward off disease.
Learn how to approach your diet as effortlessly as possible by signing up for my FREE Intermittent Fasting Tutorials.