Super foods are often referred to as foods that naturally contain very high levels of 2 or more nutrients that are not found in majority of foods (packaged/processed goods). Their ratio of nutrients versus caloric count is unusually high. These foods are typically staples of the Mediterranean and Japanese diets, and lead to longevity and good health! Although food is not considered medicine in today’s society, science can now point to a list of everyday foods with extraordinary abilities to slow down the aging process and ward off disease!
Below is a list of my top 10 pick of super foods (in no particular order) that you can find at your local grocery store and gradually add them to your diet:
1) Berries: Blueberries, Raspberries, Blackberries etc… are a rich source of antioxidants and phytonutrients which have been proven to protect our body’s cells from free-radical damage that can lead to cancer as well as other diseases. They are also a great source of fiber, loaded with vitamin C and are low in calories.
2) Fish: Salmon, sardines, trout, mackerel, herring, tuna etc… are all rich in omega-3 fatty acids which help protect against depression, heart attacks and inflammation just to name a few. By consuming these foods at least 2 times a week, you can help boost your immune system and safeguard the heart against disease as well as reduce joint aches/soreness.
3) Cocoa: Typically used to make chocolate, this super food helps reduce blood pressure, fight bad cholesterol and also helps fight muscle fatigue and reduce inflammation. Dark chocolate is good for the heart, helps improve circulation and is a great source of fiber and iron. As long as you consume “70%-100% cocoa” dark chocolate, or simply use the cocoa powder to enhance the flavour of foods, there is no need to worry about weight gain or excess calories, in fact this can help get rid of chocolate cravings and improve your mood!
4) Tomatoes: Loaded with lycopene, a powerful antioxidant responsible for the red color of the tomato has been shown to decrease the risk of breast & prostate cancer as well as lung and stomach cancers! Lycopene is great at fighting disease, and the yellow jelly like substance surrounding the seeds inside tomatoes has been shown to stop blood cells from clumping, which helps to prevent strokes!
5) Beans/Legumes: Kidney beans, chickpeas, lima beans, fava beans, lentils etc… Also known as ‘seeds’ contain the genetic code and all the chemicals and nutrients necessary to produce a plant! They are loaded with amino acids (the building blocks of protein), folate, potassium, magnesium, B vitamins, fiber, an abundance of phytonutrients and many other trace minerals. They are also very low calorie, considering the amount of health benefits they provide. Beans/Legumes are a great protein source, especially for vegans/vegetarians; they also contain omega fatty acids and a full range of antioxidants!
6) Cruciferous Vegetables: Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli sprouts etc… Are loaded with antioxidants and properties that help fight cancer, especially breast cancer. They reduce excess levels of estrogen and also help boost the immune system. Broccoli sprouts contain a special extract that helps the body get rid of ‘synthetic estrogens’ (by products from different pollutants such as residue from plastic water bottles and toxins produced by medications etc..)
7) Pomegranate: Both pomegranate fruit and the juice are loaded with antioxidants. Concentrated pomegranate juice has been shown to combat free radical damage, helping in the prevention of heart disease, hypertension, stroke, cancers, Alzheimer’s, premature aging as well as many other diseases.
8) Green tea: Herbal teas in general are good for your health, but green tea definitely tops the list of healthy teas, as its antioxidants have been proven by research time and time again to inhibit the growth of cancer. Many studies have also shown that people that consume green tea on a daily basis were able to lose more body-fat than people that consumed regular tea. This may be because green tea contains phytochemicals that trigger weight loss by stimulating the body to mobilize stubborn fat stores, burn more calories thus decreasing body-fat mildly. Also, along with its ability to inhibit growth of cancer, green tea’s antioxidants harbour an amazing ability to lower cholesterol.
9) Avocados: This super food is a great source of “oleic acid,” a monounsaturated “good” fat which helps prevent cancer and lower cholesterol. Avocados are high in fiber, loaded with folate, vitamin E, potassium and magnesium; helping regulate blood pressure and protecting against strokes and other diseases. In ancient days the Aztecs referred to avocados as the fruit of the gods. They taste great and can be consumed in smoothies, salads, guacamole just to name a few.
10) Nuts & Seeds: Adding nuts and seeds to your diet can help reduce the risk of heart disease, increase serotonin levels, helping balance your moods and boost your brain power. Nuts and seeds are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids (anti-inflammatories), calcium and antioxidants. They are rich in fiber and minerals and help ward off hunger as they are very satiating.
There are, of course many other super foods that are not listed on here such as olive oil, seaweed, yams/sweet potatoes, chile peppers, spinach, eggs, citrus fruits, plain yogurt, dry red wine, oatmeal etc… The main thing here is that these are all whole foods, unprocessed and should be consumed in their pure natural form to experience their full benefits! These foods are staples of any “clean” diet regimen and can help you live a longer, healthier life :)