By Paige Johnson
Surveys show that more than 60 percent of the US population consumes a diet that is high in saturated fats, added sugars, and sodium. Along with being high in calories, unhealthy diets are also missing essential vitamins and nutrients. One of the studies found that if you eat poorly, don’t exercise, smoke, and drink, you are three times more likely to die from a cardiovascular disease.
A little exercise can go a long way, but superfoods are foods that are rich in nutrients and are extremely beneficial for your overall health and well-being. There are rumors that eating superfoods can help you tide over several medical conditions. Try not to have unrealistic expectations from them. These may be healthy superfoods, but they are not miracle pills. You will need to include them in your daily diet, if you want to see how effective they really are.
Some of these healthy superfoods are:
No other North American fruit has the amount of antioxidants that are present in blueberries. There have been studies that have shown that greater intakes of strawberries and blueberries are linked to slower rates of cognitive degeneration. The vitamin A and C along with the fiber present in the blueberries is known to improve your overall cardiovascular health. You can include blueberries in your diet in so many different ways – eat it as a fruit, drink a smoothie, or make pancakes.
Spinach is a superfood that is bursting with vitamin K. The nutrient lutein present in spinach is renowned for its ability to promote healthy eyesight. The iron content in spinach is two times that of any other green leafy vegetables. Now do you know why Popeye needed his can of spinach? Include a few spinach leaves in your salad, and you are good to go.
Wheatgrass is a superfood from the cotyledons of the common wheat plant Triticum aestivum. It comes in either liquid form (as a juice) or in solid form (as a powder concentrate). Just like most plants, it is packed with numerous nutrients that one needs to get the optimum daily greens intake. It is a potent source of more than 100 nutrients, making it one of the the go-to ingredients for supplementary drinks.
Do you want a no-nonsense way of incorporating lots of vitamins and minerals in your daily diet? Just consume walnuts every day. Packed with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, walnuts help in reducing your bad cholesterol as well as maintain optimum levels of good cholesterol. The omega-3 fatty acids and protein content in walnuts make them one of the best superfoods on the market. You can either sprinkle them on your salads, incorporate them into marinades, or add them to your favorite baked goods. Of course, you can also munch on them when you are craving a snack.
You can use tomatoes to make delicious salsas, place sliced tomatoes on bruschetta, or make mouthwatering tomato sauce for your pasta. The best thing is that tomatoes contain all the four major carotenoids – lycopene, lutein, alpha-carotene, and beta-carotene. These carotenoids are nothing but antioxidants that help your body fight off diseases. The lycopene in tomatoes can actually reduce your chances of skin cancer, stomach cancer, bladder cancer, and lung cancer.
A rich source of soluble fiber, beans help in soaking up and eliminating the cholesterol before it sticks to your arteries. Beans are also high in iron, and therefore aids in the transporting oxygen to the different cells of your bodies. A few beans such as kidney, black, pinto, and red beans have high levels of antioxidants that fight diseases, thereby contributing to your overall health. How would you use beans in your daily diet? You can add them to your salads and use them as ingredients while cooking casseroles and chili.
Since all of these superfoods are available in canned as well as fresh forms, there is no reason why you cannot include them in your diet throughout the year.