A great first step to healthy eating is to take a few moments to learn what foods are the healthiest for you. And to learn how they work within the body. To start eating healthily we must begin by thinking healthily. Most people understand that superfoods are good for our health, but few people understand why. The key is learning about nutrients. When you understand how specific nutrients work in your body, it becomes more reasonable for you to make healthier choices.
Here are 12 nutritionally dense superfoods and their benefits for your health.
Spinach and Kale
Cancer-fighters and cardio-helpers: Spinach and kale top the list as far as green leafy vegetables are concerned. Much like broccoli they provide an excellent source of vitamin A and C. Kale is a surprisingly good source of calcium at 25% per cup, boiled. Vitamin K is abundantly found in spinach as well. Almost 200% of the daily value is available in spinach to help reduce bone loss. The iron mineral in spinach helps bring oxygen to the body’s tissues.
Avocado is known as one of the fattier superfoods. But the fats that it contains are healthy fats. The monounsaturated fat in avocados protects your heart by lowering LDL “bad” cholesterol. It raises HDL “good” cholesterol. Avocados also contain fibre and the phytonutrient beta-sitosterol. They help control cholesterol. They also help control lutein which promotes eye health. Avocados are enriched with vitamin C and vitamin E which are essential to support a healthy skin. They prevent it from free radical activity.
This superhero of the nutrition world is able to do some pretty amazing things. For example, some studies have shown that the tomato may help decrease the risk of some types of cancers. These are prostate cancer, breast cancer and lung cancer. What is it about this little red fruit that makes it so amazing? Lycopene. This powerful antioxidant is the chemical in tomatoes is responsible for its red colour. Lycopene gives tomatoes its disease-fighting powers.
Out of all superfoods, sweet potatoes have a beta-carotene content that is off-the-charts providing, 377 percent of your daily vitamin A needs. In addition to promoting eye health, some researches show that beta-carotene may help prevent cancer. It both neutralises free radicals and promotes communication between cells.
It’s a top source of glucosinolates which are indirect antioxidants. Brussels sprouts activate the body’s own natural detoxification systems. Brussels sprouts also contain other phytonutrients like indole-3-carbinol which helps protect against breast cancer. Containing just 36 calories, one serving of four brussels sprouts provides 100 percent of your daily vitamin C. This promotes skin cell turnover and collagen formation. This helps enhance your glow.
In additional to serving as source of antioxidants papaya contains vitamins and fiber. Papaya contains beta-carotene and lycopene which are promoting eye health. Papaya is also a rich source of vitamin C and vitamin E. This superfood supports the immune system and the digestive system. And, the enzyme papain is good for your skin too. Because it acts as a powerful exfoliator against dead skin cells.
Blueberries are high in fibre, potassium and folate. They are also enriched with vitamin C, vitamin B6 and phytonutrient. The compounds in blueberries protect you against cancer. It helps prevent heart disease and urinary tract infections. They also help in preventing wrinkles. They help to reduce the total amount of cholesterol in the blood. As a result, they lower the risk of heart disease.
Just like blueberries, cranberries are also high in fibre. They help lower levels of LDL, also known as “bad” cholesterol. They may even help boost levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Cranberries also supply procyanidin which is a phytonutrient that protects against urinary tract infections.
Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are crucial to the growth and functioning of our organs. They supposedly help diminish dangerous inflammation within the body. Among the different types of fish, salmon is one of the richest of good-for-you fats. When you eat plenty of salmon and stick to a healthy diet you will see dramatic changes in your skin’s appearance and texture. Your skin will become smoother, plumper and more moisture-rich.
Cinnamon is widely used both in the food and pharmaceutical industry because of its antiseptic properties. According to research findings, one teaspoon of cinnamon contains 28 milligrams of calcium, one milligram of iron and fibre. It is enriched with vitamins C, K, and manganese. Medieval physicians used this superfood to treat coughs, hoarseness and sore throats. Cinnamon also has antibacterial and inflammatory properties that help reduce joint and muscle pain.
A true friend to human beings, this superfood detoxifies the body as its enriched with antioxidants. It acts as a powerful antibacterial. It is a popular ingredient in TCM medicine. Ginger also reduce inflammation. It helps eliminate free radicals. It can treat morning sickness during pregnancy. It also reduces muscle pains.
Walnuts are one of the greatest superfoods to add into your diet. These nuts are packed with omega-3 healthy fats. A quarter cup of walnuts would take care of about 90% of the omega-3s needed in one day. Walnuts provide many health benefits including cardiovascular protection and better cognitive function. They provide anti-inflammatory advantages relating to asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. They help with inflammatory skin diseases like eczema and psoriasis. They can even help against cancer. They also support the immune system.
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