Past the store shelves lined with less-than-healthy processed foods,hundreds of healthy food options are waiting to be picked up and put in your shopping cart. They span every food group, from veggies and fruits to grains, dairy, and healthy fats. Below are 26 favourites when it comes to super foods, each letter of the alphabet representing one, along with what makes them so super.
Avocados are a great source of monounsaturated fats. These can improve cholesterol levels, benefit brain function , and decrease risk of heart disease. Avocados also contain Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, as well as vitamin B6 that promotes healthy skin as well as serving as a back-up fuel. The fruit however is packed full of calories and is pretty heavy. Remember not to overdo it.
Beets are characterized by a purple hue, coming from Betalin, an antioxidant that’s packed in the fruit. Betalin may in addition help ward off cancer and other degenerative diseases. Not to mention, it is packed full of Vitamins A, B, and C whose benefits range from helping the body produce collagen to bolstering the immune system. Beets also pack a healthy dose of potassium, essential for proper organ function; and fiber, to keep the digestive tract regular.
Chia seeds contain more fatty acids than any other known plant in addition to being packed with packed with iron, magnesium, calcium, and potassium. They also have some hefty amounts of antioxidants compared to other whole food sources. Chia seeds are known to absorb up to 10 times their weight in water, this helps the human body stay hydrated longer and improves overall endurance.
Dates to begin with are a perfect healthy recipe alternative for both butter and or sugar in baking. They are in addition full of fiber; essential for good digestive and heart health. Not t mention, dates contain vitamins and minerals including potassium, copper, selenium, and magnesium.
Eggs, one of the best superfoods, are considered to be a complete protein. This is as they contain all 9 essential amino acids – the building blocks for the body. Eggs are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, that help maintain proper body function and heart health. Antioxidants; lutein and zeaxanthin which are found in the yolks help protect the eyes from light and free radicals, and are believed to help prevent eye degeneration that may come with age. Also found in the york is choline, a B vitamin essential for proper brain function.
Flaxseed has four great ingredients that give it its healthy reputation: essential fatty acids, flavonoids, lignans, and fiber. The superfood flaxseed has been linked to reducing your risk of stroke, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes as well as acting as an anti-inflammation food for those suffering from arthritis. Incorporate the seeds (whole or ground) to oatmeal, baked goods, or a salad. Stay away from the flax oil, as it may not have the same awesome cholesterol-regulating powers.
A favorite among many, this fruit packs beta-carotene, vitamins C and K, and resveratrol. These vitamins serve as antioxidants in the body to help eliminate free radicals that can cause cellular damage. Resveratrol has potential to help inhibit cancer cell growth, lower LDL cholesterol and treat cognitive impairment.
Hemp is packed with essential fatty acids and protein. These fatty acids; polyunsaturated fats and omega-3s, help fight coronary heart disease, symptoms of depression, and even cancer. Hemp seeds are also high in magnesium, zinc, and iron. Gamma linoleic acid adds a various benefits ranging from helping lower cholesterol levels, to helping treat attention deficit disorder, and even allergy defence.
Inca berries are a small, tangy golden berry that taste similar to a tart apricot. Its antioxidant value makes this berry truly a super food. Inca berries are rich in polyphenols, which are found in tea and pomegranates. It’s best known for its high amounts of bioflavonoids and carotene. Another benefit of the Inca berry, it is a great source for phosphorous, potassium, Vitamins A, C, B2 and B6, and fiber.
Jalapenos are a good source for complex carbohydrates, vitamin A, folate, beta-carotene, and minerals. Jalapeños are in addition packed with capsaicin, a compound that’s credited with speeding up metabolism and suppressing appetite as well as reducing inflamation. This magical compound also increases fat oxidation.
Kiwi is a fantastic source of folate, which is essential for overall cell health; in addition to containing a superhuman amount of vitamin C. Studies even suggest kiwi helps rduce the risk of heart disease and colon cancer.
Lemons are full of strong antiviral, antibacterial, and immune-boosting powers in addition to containing many substances such as calcium, citric acid, vitamin C, magnesium, bioflavonoids, pectin, and limonene–that promote immunity and fight infection. Lemons are also used as a weight loss aid because lemon juice is a digestive aid and liver cleanser. Plus, lemons are packed full of the antioxidant known as flavonoids, this may help reduce inflammation, reduce risk of heart disease, and fight some cancers.
Studies suggest that milk provides the optimal ratio of carbohydrates and protein for gym-goers to consume post-exercise. A chocolate milk fix could help improve performance, lead to better body composition, and make for quicker exercise adaptation.
In addition to being super delicious, nuts are packed full of unsaturated fats good for your heart, and some types of nuts such as almonds can help lower blood pressure and body fat. Nuts are also a good source of protein as well as nutrient-dense.
Oatmeal, the easy, delicious breakfast staple is a great source of whole grains. Oatmeal is a great source of fiber, which has been known to aid in digestion, instrumental in lowering blood cholesterol, and improve metabolism.
Low in calories and high in fiber, pumpkins are packed with disease-fighting nutrients including pantothenic acid, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins C and E. The key nutrient called carotenoids is what puts pumkins on our superfoods list. Research suggests highest concentrations of carotenes in women diets lowers the risk of breast cancer. In addition, Carotenoid consumption also decreases the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration along with various cancers of the lung, cervical, bladder, colon, and skin.
Quinoa is gluten-free and high in essential amino acids. Quinoa is one of the only grains or seeds which provide the nine essential amino acids our bodies are incapable of producing themselves.
Studies suggest certain compounds in radishes may inhibit the growth of some cancers. More research suggests another compound found in radishes and also found in cherries, anthocyanins, may aid in muscle recovery after a tough workout in addition to help prevent some cancers.
Salmon is full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which as suggested by studies in the field can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease . In addition, Omega-3s may also help protect skin from UV-induced damage.
From boosting endurance to reducing the risk of cardiovascular issues and potentially a bunch of cancers, tea leaves are a great way to hydrate and stay healthy at the same time. Catechin, a compound in green tea is an antioxidants that help prevent cell damage and aid in healthy cell production. In addition, some research suggests green tea could help in prevention of some types of skin cancer, while black tea may help cure those annoying sunburns.
Ugli Fruit (aka Tangelo)
This succulent superfood is rich in calcium, vitamins A and C, iron and dietary fibers. These nutrients fight cardio vascular disorders, strengthen the immune system, and promote healthy gums. Ugli fruit also contains rich doses of Vitamin B which promotes oral health and prevents kidney stone formation. One fruit contains about 140 percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin C and about 90 calories.
From high levels of vitamins and minerals to a good dose of fiber, you can never go wrong with veggies. Greens are a great source of iron and calcium; red veggies are usually packed with lycopene and anthocyanins; and allium veggies like garlic and onions are full of antioxidants.
Watermelons are low in sugar, and high in vitamins A and C, as well as the amino acid citrulline, which help the body produce another amino acid, arginine. Arginine improves the blood pressure as well as reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Water melons are also a great source of lycopene, which studies suggest can protect the body from cardiovascular disease, UV rays, and some forms of cancer.
Xigua (aka Watermelon)
This super food is packed full of body-quenching nutrients such as vitamins C, B, A and lycopene. Lycopene is good for the heart and important for bone health. Xiquas are known for their high levels in citruline, an amino acid, known to prevent excess fat accumulation in the body and improve blood flow.
Not to be confused with sweet potatoes, these tubers are a great food to eat for sustained energy. Thhey are low on the glycemix index, they can be consumed without negatively affecting blood sugar levels. Yams are a great source of fiber, potassium, vitamin B6, and manganese. These are key for things for proper production of serotonin, nervous system function, and wound healing.
One of the reasons zucchini is a super food is due to the amount of antioxidants it contains. The juicy zucchini super food has more potassium than a banana! Zucchini is also a huge source of both vitamin C and vitamin A; in addition to being also a great source of folate and fiber. By decreasing the risk of stroke, lowering cholesterol, and reducing high blood pressure; all of these essential nutrients contribute to a healthy heart.