Most people understand that superfoods are good for our health but few people know why. A great first step to healthy eating is to learn their nutritional value and how they work within the body. These knowledges will help you make healthier choices for your body.
We picked 12 nutritionally dense superfoods to help you kick start this discovery journey.
Spinach and Kale
Spinach and Kale are cancer-fighter and cardio-helper which are top of the list of green leafy vegetables. They provide excellent sources of vitamin A and C. Kale is also a good source of calcium when boiled. Vitamin K is abundantly found in spinach and it helps to improve bone density. The iron mineral in spinach helps to bring oxygen to the body’s tissues.
Avocado is known as a ”fatty” superfood but the fats it contains are healthy ”good” fats. The monounsaturated fat in avocados protects your heart by lowering LDL “bad” cholesterol. It raises HDL “good” cholesterol. Avocados also contain fiber and the phytonutrient beta-sitosterol. Both help control cholesterol and lutein which improve eye health. Avocados are enriched with vitamin C and vitamin E. Vitamin C and E are essential to supporting a healthy skin.
Tomatoes is an amazing superfood which decrease the risk of prostate, breast, lung and stomach cancers. What makes this little red fruit so amazing? Lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, is responsible for tomatoes red color and its disease-fighting powers.
This superfood has a beta-carotene content that is off-the-charts. It provides 377 percent of your daily vitamin A needs per 103-calorie serving. In addition to promoting eye health, some researches show that beta-carotene may help prevent cancer through neutralizing free radicals.
A top source of glucosinolates which are “indirect” antioxidants that activate the body’s natural detoxification systems. Brussels sprouts also contain other phytonutrients that help protect against breast cancer. Containing just 36 calories, four brussels sprouts provide 100 percent of your daily vitamin C requirement. This promotes skin cell turnover and collagen formation to enhance your skin’s colour.
In addition to serving as a source of antioxidants, vitamins and fiber, papaya contains beta-carotene and lycopene. Both improve eye health. Papaya also contains large amount of vitamin C and vitamin E. This superfood supports the immune system and the digestive system. The enzyme papain is also good for your skin as it acts as a powerful exfoliator against dead skin cells.
Blueberries are high in fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and phytonutrient. The compounds in blueberries protect you against cancer, heart disease, urinary tract infections and even wrinkles. They help to reduce the total amount of cholesterol in the blood and lower the risk of heart disease.
Cranberries are high in fiber and help lower levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. It also help boost levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Cranberries also supply procyanidin, a phytonutrient that protects you against urinary tract infections.
Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are crucial to the growth and functioning of our organs. They help diminish inflammation within the body. Salmon is one of the richest source of good-for-you fats. If you eat plenty of salmon and stick to a healthy diet, you will see dramatic changes in your skin. Your skin will become smoother, plumper and more moisturize.
Cinnamon is widely used in the food and pharmaceutical industry due to its antiseptic properties. One teaspoon of cinnamon contains 28 milligrams of calcium, one milligram of iron, fiber, and vitamins C, K, and manganese. Medieval physicians used this superfood to treat coughs, hoarseness, sore throats and other types of infections. Cinnamon has antibacterial and inflammatory properties which help reduce joint and muscle pain especially for those discomforts associated with arthritis.
Ginger detoxifies the body as it is rich in antioxidants and has antibacterial properties. Ginger also reduces inflammation, helps eliminate free radicals and treats morning sickness during pregnancy. It also helps reduce muscle pains.
These nuts are packed with omega-3 fats which is one of the “good” fats. A quarter cup of walnuts would take care of your omega-3s daily need. Walnuts provide many health benefits such as cardiovascular protection, better cognitive function, anti-inflammatory properties against asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.
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