In deciding on this list of super foods, I turned to sources such as Dr. Nicholas Perricone who has written several books on weight loss and aging and the role nutrition and super foods play in maintaining excellent health. I also referred to articles in the Environmental Nutrition Newsletter, the Center for Science in the Public Interest Nutrition Action Newsletter and online sources.
The 10 foods I have chosen are from those lists but also based on some of my favorites and on the totality of their beneficial vitamins and nutrients and in their disease-fighting qualities. I chose foods that are rich in antioxidants, possess multiple disease-fighting qualities, contain fiber or essential fatty acids, regulate blood sugar and cholesterol, help prevent obesity, slow the aging process and boost mood.
Use this list as a guideline and regularly seek out other nutrient-rich foods.
Acai berries are indigenous and imported from South and Central America. These berries are only available frozen or processed in drinks. They are loaded with age- and disease-fighting antioxidants and contain 10 times more antioxidants than red grapes. Acai berries are also loaded with fiber that aids in digestion and cardiovascular health.
Alliums lower cholesterol and high blood pressure, helping to prevent atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease, and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. They also contain multiple cancer-fighting flavanoids, support gastrointestinal health and increase bone density.
BEANS AND LEGUMES
Loaded with protein and potassium, beans are a good substitute for vegetarians and are low in fat. Beans help reduce the risk of stroke and high blood pressure and heart disease and are filling, assisting in weight control. Choose dried or fresh beans over canned to avoid the excess sodium.
From obesity to diabetes and beyond, chilies are a super food because they provide numerous health benefits. Chilies are a natural decongestant and are a powerful cancer-fighting compound. Aside from being tasty flavor enhancers, chili consumption increases circulation, provides pain relief and aids in digestion.
There are many health benefits to eggs. One egg contains six grams of high-quality protein and all nine essential amino acids. Eggs also help prevent blood clots, stroke and heart attack and stimulate brain function. Eggs are beneficial to the eyes, and the only food that contains naturally occurring vitamin D and may help prevent breast cancer.
Go green whenever possible. Green vegetables are the most nutritious of all vegetables. Greens are loaded with disease fighting nutrients that help with cholesterol, blood pressure and cancer prevention. Greens are high in fiber, low fat and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
The health benefits of green tea are vast and have been studied extensively. Green tea has been purported to stave off heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and obesity. Green tea is also known to lower cholesterol, blood pressure and dementia and is packed with antioxidants.
Nuts pack a powerful nutritional punch high in fiber and protein and include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Nuts lower bad cholesterol and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and type II diabetes.
Salmon is high in essential omega-3 fatty acids. Consuming salmon regularly helps lower the risk of heart disease and helps lower triglycerides, which are linked to cardiac diseases while boosting HDL cholesterol, the good cholesterol. Eating omega-3 rich foods such as salmon also helps to prevent high blood pressure, aids in the prevention of strokes and increases cognitive brain function.
The combination of regular yogurt and Greek yogurt is the best case scenario. Each type of yogurt contains the healthy “probiotic” bacteria, beneficial to digestion. Greek yogurt contains twice the amount of protein of regular yogurt and fewer carbohydrates. By contrast, regular yogurt has fewer calories and more vitamin C, generally because of the fruit content. Both forms of yogurt are great sources of calcium and help with bone density.
Incorporate these foods into your eating plan along with regular exercise, and enough sleep and you will look, feel and perform better than ever. Eat well and be well!