10 Superfoods are simply foods considered especially nutritious, generally packed full of vitamins and minerals, with high levels of antioxidants that help the body fight cell damage from free radicals or otherwise beneficial to health and well-being.
Some people think there’s some magic in superfoods and they can get away with a bad diet if they just eat one of these top 10 superfoods. Please keep in mind that it is all about getting the balance right, along with other lifestyle factors.
1. Spinach, on top of the 10 superfoods list, provides more nutrients than any other food. 13 different flavonoid compounds in spinach that function as antioxidants and as anti-cancer agents. One cup of boiled spinach provides 1000% of the daily value of Vitamin K is important for maintaining bone health. The vitamin C and beta-carotene in spinach help to protect the colon cells from the damaging effects of free radicals. Spinach may help protect the brain from oxidative stress and may reduce the effects of age-related declines in brain function.
2. Garlic, as one of the most valuable and versatile foods on the planet, is a native to Central Asia and has been used throughout history for culinary and medicinal purposes. It has long been considered a herbal “wonder drug”, with a reputation in folklore for preventing everything from the common cold and flu to the plague!
3. Yogurt, as a great nutritious food, has health benefits that are beyond those of milk. Calcium and protein available in yogurt can promote weight and fat loss, especially the excess fat around the stomach area. Probiotics in yogurt can make your skin softer and smoother. Calcium and lactoferrin- an iron-binding protein available in yogurt helps boost the growth and activity of cells that build bones.
5. Walnuts have significantly higher amounts of omega 3 fatty acids as compared to other nuts. They help improve artery function after a high fat meal and may be even more important in a Mediterranean-type diet than olive oil in promoting heart health. They have a mild laxative effect- beneficial in cases of constipation. They contain ellagic acid, an antioxidant compound that helps support the immune system and contains several anticancer properties.
6. Oily Fish: Omega-3 fatty acids puts oil-rich fish in 10 superfoods list. The unique combination of protein, omega-3 fats and antioxidants makes them a great wrinkle buster- it helps you look younger. Omega-3s make blood less sticky- prevents blood clots from forming. They also help keep the heart beating regularly, protect the small arteries that carry blood to the heart from damage.
7. Blueberries are bursting with nutrients and flavor, yet very low in calories. They are rich in anti-cancer properties, fibre, antioxidants, vitamins A, C and E and folic acid; as well as the minerals potassium and magnesium. They help protect the brain from oxidative stress and may reduce the effects of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Reserachers found that diets rich in blueberries significantly improved both the learning capacity and motor skills of aging animals.
8. Acai Berries: 100-gram serving of acai contains only 90 calories, just two grams of fat and no cholesterol. Plus, it delivers 3.5 grams of dietary fiber, something we could all use more of in our diets. The acai puree provides more anthocyanins than red wine and acai has antioxidant concentrations that well outweigh blueberries. Weight loss, increased energy, enhanced mental health, better digestion, improved sleep, stronger immune system and healthier skin are some of the claimed benefits of acai berry.
9. Honey is a great natural source of carbohydrates which provide strength and energy to our bodies, honey is known for its effectiveness in instantly boosting the performance, endurance and reduce muscle fatigue of athletes. Honey’s antioxidant and anti-bacterial properties can help improve digestive system and help you stay healthy and fight disease. It was the most used medicine in ancient Egypt while in the First World War, honey mixed with cod liver oil were used to treat soldier’s wound.
10. Soy and most soy-based products, are nutritional powerhouses. Soybeans are the only plant food that has all of the essential amino acids your body requires, making it a complete protein. Soy foods do not have any cholesterol, and most are high in fiber. They also have many vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that work together to create numerous health benefits. They can help reduce the risk of breast cancer, osteoporosis and heart disease as well as minimize “hot flushes”.
Ensminger AH, Esminger M. K. J. e. al. Food for Health: A Nutrition Encyclopedia. Clovis, California: Pegus Press; 1986 1986. PMID:15210.
Wood, Rebecca. The Whole Foods Encyclopedia. New York, NY: Prentice-Hall Press; 1988 1988. PMID:15220.
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