"Superfoods" are nutrient-rich foods considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being. These foods are often high in cancer-fighting antioxidants, healthy fat, fiber, vitamins, minerals and other healthful ingredients. Here's a list of 10 superfoods you should incorporate into your diet.
Beans provide a myriad of health benefits. They supply vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and are loaded with protein. Low in fat and high in soluble fiber, beans also improve digestive function, lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels to promote heart health, and reduce the risk of various cancers.
Beans can be a great substitute for meat or poultry, as they contain all the nutrients and protein without the saturated fat. U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend that adults consume 3 cups of beans per week.
2. Low-Fat or Fat-Free Plain Yogurt
Yogurt is a great source of protein, calcium, vitamin-B, potassium and magnesium but without the fat and calories of other types of dairy. Yogurt also contains probiotics, which improve digestive health and boost the body's immune system. This calcium-rich food also strengthens bones and prevents osteoporosis. An additional benefit is that lactose-sensitive people may be able to tolerate yogurt better than milk and other dairy products. Yogurt can be paired with other healthy foods to make a robust, nutrient-rich snack.
Nuts are very high in protein, heart-healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants and therefore qualify as a super food. They are higher in fat, so portion control is the key to getting all the health benefits of nuts without going overboard on the fats. In small doses, nuts can help lower cholesterol and aid weight loss as they can be quite filling.
Salmon is a prime source of omega-3 fatty acids, which promote heart health. It is high in protein and iron, and very low in saturated fat content. There are countless ways to prepare salmon so you can enjoy a variety of tastes while extracting all the nutrients this super-seafood.
Eggs provide a nutritious way to fill up on good protein. They are also versatile: you can try them hard-boiled, scrambled, or sunny-side up! Eggs contain 12 vitamins and minerals and research shows that people who eat eggs for breakfast tend to eat fewer calories throughout the day, promoting weight loss and low cholesterol.
An age-old nutritious favorite, broccoli is loaded with tons of vitamins and minerals, and packed with fiber to improve digestive health. Broccoli contributes to strong bones and lower risk of chronic diseases. Eat it raw, steamed, cooked, stir-fried, roasted, or grilled - any way you eat it, you'll get all the nutritional benefits!
Packed with more Vitamin C than an equal-sized orange, kiwi is a great tropical fruit to incorporate into your diet. It also contains phytonutrients believed to guard against cancer, and known to protect DNA from oxygen-related damage. Kiwi is also loaded with antioxidants which boost the immune system and reduce risk of various chronic diseases.
Hailed as one of the most popular superfoods, quinoa is a highly nutritious seed, prepared similarly to grain-based foods. Quinoa offers a whole host of nutrients, including protein, fiber, magnesium, iron, and potassium, and contains high levels of B Vitamins.This tasty superfood also contains bioactive substances shown to have highly beneficial effects on health.
Blueberries are not only an extremely popular fruit, they have one of the highest antioxidant capacities among all fruits, vegetables, spices, and seasonings. New studies suggest that blueberry consumption can help slow signs of aging, contribute to healthy blood sugar levels, and improve memory especially when the berries are grown organically.
10. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are loaded with beta-carotene and several essential vitamins and minerals that improve digestive health and help achieve a lower glycemic index. This sweet vegetable is packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients that promote bodily healing and successful blood clotting. These attributes also assist in the regulation of blood sugar levels.
Make a point to incorporate these Superfoods into your diet to maximize the plethora of health benefits they provide. For a few ideas, here are 15 High-Fiber Recipes for Better Digestive Health.