Besides tasting fantastic, superfoods provide more energy and protection against disease than other foods. Discover the delicious difference when you enjoy powerful foods that are packed with nutrients to fight off disease, boost your energy and keep you healthy. Here are two dozen of our favorites.
Each crisp, juicy apple provides five grams of fiber and an abundance of antioxidants, which may support cardiovascular health. Enjoy baked with cinnamon and granola or sliced into wedges.
Deliciously tangy and sweet, blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries contain antioxidant compounds called anthocyanin that reduce free-radicals in the body, which may help to slow the aging process.
A USDA study shows that consuming a half teaspoon of cinnamon per day may significantly lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes, as well as reduce triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol levels.
Citrus fruits, such as oranges, grapefruits and tangerines, contain flavonoids that are unique to the citrus family. The naringin produced in grapefruits and hesperidin found in oranges are both powerful antioxidants. Sweet, juicy and versatile, citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, folic acid and potassium.
Broccoli, kale, cabbage and Brussels sprouts are cruciferous vegetables that not only taste great steamed and sautéed, but they are also a good source of dietary fiber and complex carbohydrates. Some studies show that low-fat diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of some types of cancer.
Simply folded into an omelet or whipped into a grand soufflé, eggs (especially egg whites) provide an inexpensive source of high-quality protein. Eggs are not only low in carbohydrates and sodium, but they also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that support eye health.
Wheat grass, spirulina, chlorella and barley grass are concentrated, powerful supplements rich in protein and are bursting with carotenoids, chlorophyll, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids.
Green Leafy Vegetables:
Spinach, kale, Swiss chard and romaine lettuce each contain beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin that work together to support overall health. As good sources of vitamin B and minerals—adding a wide variety of these leafy greens to your plate, every day, ensures that you will reap their health benefits.
Herbs and Spices:
Studies show that common herbs and spices, such as sage and rosemary, are rich in antioxidants and may support a healthy digestive and nervous system. About a teaspoon per day added to your favorite recipes is all it takes!
The buzz about honey is true! Full of B-complex vitamins, amino acids and enzymes, raw honey is tasty and a great substitute for refined sugars. Enjoy swirled into tea or drizzled over oatmeal.
One petite kiwifruit packs as much vitamin C as an orange. It is important to replenish Vitamin C each day because we are unable to create this essential vitamin in our bodies. Enjoy kiwifruit in smoothies and fruit salads.
Beans and lentils, members of the legume family, are an excellent source of hearty, low-fat plant protein. Simmered in soups or blended into spreads, legumes are a versatile and delicious introduction to superfoods. Soluble fiber from beans and lentils, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease. A serving of legumes provides at least four grams of soluble fiber.
Nuts & Seeds:
Roasted, toasted or raw, nuts and seeds are a delicious source of protein and fiber. They pack a nutritious punch with heart-healthy monosaturated oils, vitamins and minerals. The lignans in seeds have been demonstrated to reduce cholesterol levels. Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that eating one and a half ounces per day of most nuts, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Stick-to-your-ribs nutrition! Simmered into hot cereal, oats provide a good source of complex carbohydrates. Soluble fiber from foods, such as oats, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease. A half-cup serving of oats supplies about nine grams of fiber.
Olives & Olive Oil:
Rich and fruity, olive oil stands out as a culinary staple in Mediterranean cultures. A good source of monounsaturated fat, adding two tablespoons of olive oil per day to your diet may support cardiovascular health.
Coldwater fish such as wild salmon, tuna and trout contain beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. Supportive, but not conclusive research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. While amounts may vary by species, origin and season, one serving of omega fish provides at least 0.5 grams of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids.
Vibrant orange vegetables, such as pumpkins, butternut squash, sweet potatoes and carrots contain high levels of beta-carotene. A beneficial nutrient found in fruits and vegetables, beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A, giving the body an antioxidant boost. Cooking vegetables also makes the nutrients easier to absorb. Enjoy roasted acorn squash or lightly steamed carrots.
Rich in powerful, free-radical fighting antioxidants called polyphenols, an eight-ounce serving of pomegranate juice enjoyed daily may support normal levels of cholesterol and healthy coronary artery function.
Soy’s superstar status stems from its culinary adaptability and health properties. According to the FDA, adding 25 grams of soy protein each day, to a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease. Versatile and delicious, enjoy soy in its many forms including tofu, tempeh, miso, edamame and soymilk.
Sip your way to good health with a calming cup of tea. True teas, whether they are green, white, black or oolong, originate from the Camellia sinenis plant. Processing techniques differentiate each type of tea. With beneficial levels of flavonoids and only two calories per cup, drinking tea is a great way to support overall health.
Naturally delicious and full of nutrients, tomatoes contain an abundance of lycopene, a health-promoting plant pigment. Lycopene not only gives tomatoes their ruby red color, but it also helps support immune function and prostate health. Cooked tomatoes found in pasta sauce, salsa and tomato paste enhance the absorption of lycopene into your system.
A lean, mean energy machine! Versatile and low-fat, turkey breast is an excellent protein choice. Juicy, delicious and rich in zinc, turkey is best enjoyed in soups, salads and sandwiches.
Rich in complex carbohydrates, whole grains add beneficial phytonutrients, fiber, vitamins and minerals to your diet. Packed with nutrition, the germ or “heart” of the kernel adds essential B-vitamins, iron and zinc to your plate. Diets rich in whole-grain, plant-based foods may reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers.
Yogurt and Kefir:
Creamy and cool, cultured dairy products, such as yogurt, kefir and buttermilk, contain probiotics. Also known as “friendly bacteria,” probiotics support the intestinal tract and the immune system. Maintain the overall health of your immune system by enjoying a cup of fruit yogurt, savoring a tangy raspberry kefir or stirring buttermilk into roasted garlic mashed potatoes.