The top superfoods provide a way to increase your intake of vitamins and minerals without supplements. Each one contains a high percentage of naturally occurring nutrients with scientifically proven benefits. Integrating these nutritional powerhouses into your diet is one way to work toward better health.
Although nuts have been bad-mouthed in past years for their fat content, they frequently make it onto lists of top superfoods. The fats in nuts are primarily composed of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. According to Mayo Clinic, research shows that these heart-healthy fats may help reduce blood pressure and lower the chances of coronary artery disease. Nuts are high in calories, however, so portion control is important. If you're limiting caloric intake, try adding a small amount of sliced almonds or chopped pecans to salads.
When it comes to the top superfoods, quinoa is one of the most trendy items on the market. This small round grain, which originates in South America, is one of the only complete proteins in the plant world. Quinoa is sold dry, either in bulk or pre-measured packages. It can be cooked like rice and used in place of almost any other whole grain. Because quinoa has a neutral, slightly nutty taste, it works well in both savory and sweet recipes.
The humble bean is one of the most inexpensive and accessible of the top superfoods. Beans come in a staggering variety, from standard kidney beans to the more exotic green flageolet. Most options contain a high level of protein and antioxidants. The soluble fiber in beans helps lower cholesterol by preventing absorption into the body. Because they are available dried, fresh, canned and frozen, beans are easy to integrate into almost any healthy diet. As an added bonus, these tiny nutritional wonders are gluten-free and vegan-friendly.
Dark Leafy Greens
Dark leafy vegetables, including kale and spinach, are among the most versatile of the top superfoods. They can be eaten raw in salads, sauteed as a side dish, dropped into soups and even pureed into baked goods. These leafy greens are packed with iron and vitamin C, which help prevent anemia, according to Mayo Clinic. They contain antioxidants that help prevent cancer, vitamin K to strengthen the bones and folate for heart health. In addition, greens can boost immunity to help keep you from getting sick. The American Diabetes Association notes that the low carbohydrate content of greens makes them an ideal option for diabetics. Because dark leafy greens have very few calories, they can be an important dietary option for people who are looking to lose weight.
While the top superfoods are not the answer to every health concern, they can be a valuable part of an overall health regime. With their high nutritional content and proven benefits, they make an ideal addition to a healthy diet.
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