“Superfoods” are foods that are loaded with vitamins and minerals that optimize bodily functions. Essentially, they are nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables and consistent intake over time will lead to you feeling great and offset illness and disease. In this post I’m sharing a list of certain superfoods that are on my weekly grocery list. I’ll also discuss how and why I incorporate them in my diet.
Immunity boosting, skin enhancing, vision protecting and lots of calcium, vitamin K, and iron which supports bone health and improve muscle efficiency. These are amongst the many reasons to load up on spinach. My favorite ways to consume spinach is either in a salad or I put a handful in a smoothie. In fact, once I learned how good spinach is for optimal health, I rarely have a salad with lettuce. Occasionally, I’ll also simply steam the spinach with virgin olive oil or mix them in with scrambled egg whites. There really is no shortage of ways that you can include this perennially available vegetable in your diet!
Studies show that kale has more iron per ounce than beef. Kale is also understood to assist with processes that help fight cardiovascular disease, arthritis, asthma and lots of other diseases including cancer, by eliminating potential carcinogens from the body. Perhaps most importantly, kale has a very high Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) rating. ORAC is a rating that measures the efficiency of a food to eliminate free radicals from the body. Free radicals are unstable molecules that cause cellular damage to your body and leads to several diseases. So, there are lots of critical reasons to get regular doses of kale in your diet. I’ll be the first to agree that it is not a great tasting vegetable, but the most tolerable way for me to consume kale is to blend it with mango or some berries so that it becomes completely undetectable.
Speaking of berries, blueberry is king when it comes to fruits with extremely high antioxidant levels. Antioxidants are very important in protecting our bodies from free radicals as discussed above. Studies show that blueberries have anti-diabetic effects by improving insulin sensitivity, delays cognitive aging, helps lower blood pressure and reduces bad cholesterol levels. My favorite way to enjoy blueberries is in an oatmeal parfait, but they are also delicious in any smoothie.
There are so many good reasons to love sweet potato and so many ways to enjoy it. Sweet potato has much of the same anti-cancer, disease-preventing, immunity-boosting, and even anti-inflammatory properties already covered. The anti-inflammatory properties in sweet potato makes it an essential food for persons with arthritis. One misconception that should be clarified is that sweet potato is not actually bad for maintaining an optimal blood sugar level. In fact, it is a nice option for diabetic persons because of how relatively low it ranks on the glycemic index. I’ll discuss more about the glycemic index in a future post, but essentially, this index ranks the effect of various foods on blood sugar levels. The easiest way to prepare sweet potato is to simply bake it whole. However, if you have a little more time, dice it up, drizzle some black pepper, salt, and virgin olive oil all over, then pop it in the oven.
Spirulina is a natural algae that is an extremely dense and potent nutrient source. It has very high levels of protein, iron, calcium (several times more than milk) and vitamin B-1. The list of other nutrients in spirulina is extensive- several B vitamins, vitamins, C, D, A, and E, potassium, chromium, iron, magnesium, copper, and zinc, to name a few. Spirulina gets even better! It helps to lower blood sugar levels and is thought of in some studies to be as effective as diabetes medication. It also has excellent and unique antioxidant properties, and is a potent anti-inflammatory. The ORAC level in spirulina is thousands times more than that in even kale and blueberries discussed above. Being extremely high in chlorophyll, spirulina supports the body’s immune system by helping to remove toxins from the blood. I consume spirulina in my smoothies in powder form. Besides having a very bright rich green color it is undetectable in taste in this form.
Good healthy fat. That is basically how I think about avocado, because in this case, all fats are not created equal. Specifically, I am talking about the monounsaturated fat content in avocados. Studies show that avocado is good for reducing inflammation, lowering cholesterol, and that they have very high levels of potassium- even more than bananas. The good news about avocado does not end there. Avocados are rich in fiber, great for eyes, skin and hair health, and also helps to lower bad cholesterol levels. The fat content in avocado helps your body to abosorb other super nutrients, so pairing up some avocado with any meal is a good idea. I prefer to consume avocado as a spread on toast, or mixed in with a salad.