As humans we are forever evolving, or if we’re not, we should be. We should be trying new foods and finding which ones are the most important to our individual life and eating style.
Over the years I’ve posted my list of superfoods and realize it’s time for an update. I’ve grown to depend on some foods more than others to keep me nourished, happy and healthy. Below is a list of foods I eat every week, some every day.
1. Almonds – Almonds are a prime source of protein and healthy oil. They have been found to reduce LDL cholesterol, and, when eaten with a meal, lower blood sugar. Almonds are high in vitamin E, magnesium, potassium and antioxidants. The best thing about almonds is that they are filling. I eat a few each morning with breakfast and it helps me stay full until lunch. You can add almonds to salads, vegetable dishes, yogurt and baked goods.
2. Olive Oil – Olive oil is a key part of the Mediterranean Diet and is most known for its anti-inflammatory benefits and ability to reduce total blood cholesterol. It’s also been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of some cancers. Keep in mind when cooking with olive oil that it has a low smoke point so you don’t want to get it too hot or it will lose some of its health benefits. Drizzle olive oil on breads, salads and garden vegetables.
3. Blueberries – Blueberries are also famous for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These berries are also believed to improve cognitive benefits and memory. They may even slow down cognitive problems that are associated with aging. Blueberries are best when fresh but can also be frozen. They are abundant in vitamin K, vitamin C, fiber and manganese.
4. Bananas – There isn’t anything that compares with bananas when it comes to post-workout recovery. They have more potassium than sports drinks plus they are a good source of vitamins B6 and C. Despite their sugar content, bananas are low on the glycemic index due to the amount of fiber and pectins they contain. Bananas can be added to smoothies, eaten with peanut butter or on their own.
5. Romaine Lettuce – Leafy, crunchy romaine lettuce is my favorite for salads. It is high in vitamins K, A, C and B1. Plus, it has fiber and folic acid that’s not found in a lot of other foods. The best thing about romaine lettuce is its high nutritional value combined with being very low in calories.
6. Coffee – Okay, it’s not actually a food but it has super powers. The proven benefits of coffee are that it helps reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and liver cancer. It also is known to improve cognitive function and mood and will jump start a workout. It comes in at zero calories when consumed without any creamers or sugar.
7. Peppers – Colorful bell peppers are a staple on my grocery list. I add them to pasta dishes, use them as a topping for pizza, and eat them as a snack with hummus. Peppers have more vitamin C than oranges, and are high in antioxidants. We grow mini sweet peppers in pots on the patio in the summer and by fall we have a harvest of beautiful peppers to eat.
8. Chia Seeds – Chia seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids and have an abundance of antioxidants. They also provide calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc. Research has shown that eating chia can lead to improvement in certain health conditions and has long been known as runner’s food. Aztec warriors ate chia seeds and it came them sustained energy. The seeds can be added to oatmeal, yogurt, breads, and sauces.
9. Garlic – The sulfur component of garlic is, in part, what makes it a super food. Sulfur is an important component for good health and helps keep blood pressure under control. Some people may be deficient in sulfur so a daily dose of garlic is a good way to replenish your supply. The best way to buy garlic is fresh and whole. You can use a garlic press or a knife to chop it before adding it to soups, salads, meats and main dishes.
10. Black Beans -Black beans are rich in fiber and protein which support the regulation of blood sugar. The beans are also a good supply of anti-inflammatory compounds and antioxidants and give support to the digestive tract. They are low in calories and high in protein and can be prepared in a variety of ways including black bean brownies.
I encourage everyone to experiment to find the foods that work for them. A super food is a whole food that is high in nutrition, has the ability to improve your health when eaten on a regular basis. Most important, they must be foods that you enjoy eating.
What foods are on your super food list?
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