“Super” Foods


By: Nikki Nies

Original Image by nick mote via Flickr
Original Image by nick mote via Flickr

Any time the word “super” is placed in front of a word, it makes the following concept that much grander.  The Super Bowl, superlatives and supermarket, etc.  All of those nouns indicate a sense of grandeur above the regular bowl, laxatives and markets.  Foods that have been deemed “super” fit within the esteemed category as well.

While the concept of superfoods have been thrown around a lot, it’s not a concept that’s always quickly understood.  What’s a “superfood” you ask?  Besides holding up claims of being able to stave off chronic diseases (i.e. heart disease, diabetes, cancer and/or cholesterol), super foods can provide more variety and color in one’s diet. While our society has evolved into heavily leaning on supplements and prescription and OTC to treat ailments, an introduction to superfoods may be the solution to many of your struggles.

Super Foods Benefits Recommended Serving
Bananas
  • Contains resistant starch
  • Provides satiety
 4-6 a week
Barley
  • Top source of beta glucan, which is a fiber that lowers cholesterol and helps control blood sugar
Beans
  • Great source of fiber and protein
Blueberries
  • Antioxidant and phytoflavinoid rich
  • High in potassium and vitamin C
  • Can help lower risk of heart disease and cancer
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Boosts brain’s communication amongst cells
  • “The more color, the more antioxidants”
  • Improves memory
  • ½ cup daily
Dark Chocolate
  • Anti oxidant rich
  • Can help lower blood pressure
  • If content is 60%+ cocoa content
Fish—i.e. salmon, sardines, mackeral, herring
  • Contains omega 3’s—heart healthy, helps with arthritis and may help with memory loss
  • May help reduce depression
  • 2-3 servings per week of 3 oz.
Lentils
  • Meat free protein
  • ½ cup provides ½ day’s needs of folate, which can prevent neural tube defects in pregnancies
  • ½ cup daily
Oranges
  • one orange supplies more than 100% of vitamin C needed daily
  • Good source of calcium and folate
Peanut Butter
  • Protein packed
  • Contains arginine, an amino acid that helps maintain healthy blood vessels
Pumpkin
  • Contain alpha and beta carotene—which inhibit cancer
Soy
  • In combination with other super foods, has been found to help lower cholesterol
  • Great source of vegetable protein
  • Can be found in edamame, tofu and/or soy milk
  • Contains tons of fiber and folate
  • Contains cholesterol lowering phytosterols
  • 1 cup daily
Spinach and dark leafy greens (i.e. broccoli, kale, collard greens, swiss chard)
  • Potassium rich, which can help with blood clotting and building strong bones
  • Contain zeaxanthin, vitamin A and lutein, which can keep eyes healthy
  • ½ cup daily
Tea—black or green
  • Anti oxidant rich
  • Prevents hardening of arteries
  • Can help lower cholesterol levels
  • May inhibit growth of cancer cells due to ECGC found in green tea
  • If used as a replacement for soda, win-win
  • 1-2 cups daily at least
Walnuts
  • Contains alpha linoleic acid, an omega 3 found to improve memory and concentration
  • 14 walnut halves daily
Yogurt
  • Protein packed

An added plus, there aren’t any side effects to eating superfoods and one doesn’t have to worry about consuming processed products! Even if you’re not struggling with a particular food, superfoods can provide preventative benefits as well as all around great nutrients.   You can’t get much better than that!

Sources: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/health/2012/10/10/top-5-super-foods-for-your-grocery-list-right-now/

http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/superfoods-everyone-needs

http://www.beveganmakepeace.com/healthy-living/the-top-10-superfoods/

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20475957,00.html

http://www.womansday.com/health-fitness/nutrition/eat-healthy-america-52-superfoods-25519

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