Eating healthy combined with regular exercise is the key to living long and staying strong. If eating a healthy balanced diet is new to you, you may be wondering wh ere to start? Next time you go shopping, include these 10 superfoods to your daily diet for the most bang for each bite.
1. Blueberries - we know berries are delicious, but blueberries are extra special. They contain extremely high levels of antioxidants which help your cells fight cancer-causing free radicals. Whether you toss blueberries into a smoothie or yogurt, you’ll be glad to know you’re doing your body good with every bite. Plus they’re so tasty, even your kids will gobble them up.
2. Kale - a coarser cousin to spinach that packs the highest levels of nutrients per leaf (as far as leafy greens go!). Kale contains cancer fighting and detoxifying nutritional benefits. Plus it only comes in at 33 calories per chopped cup so you can have loads of this daily and never skip a beat. Try it sauteed, steamed, baked like a chip, dressed as a salad or mixed into your next soup or lasagna. If eating raw, make sure you massage it thoroughly to soften the leaves. Here are some healthy kale recipes.
3. Coconut - recently variations of coconut have hit the supermarket shelves in full force. You’re likely to find coconut oil, coconut water, coconut milk, coconut butter, and even coconut flour in your local health food stores. What makes it a superfood? Its water is high in electrolytes, it’s a popular choice for cooking and baking instead of traditional butter and oil and is a great alternative for those with gluten or lactose intolerance.
4. Honey - with its anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral qualities, it’s the superhero or superfood! When it comes to honey, going au-naturel is best so look for “raw honey” on the label and use regularly instead of table sugar (do not give honey to children under 1 years of age unless otherwise instructed by your child’s pediatrician).
5. Salmon - seafood in general is a good choice for protein, but salmon in particular is the smartest. With high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, amino acids, protein, and various vitamins salmon is believed to help support joints, tissue, cells, and regulate hormones. Salmon also contains some of the lowest levels of mercury and other contaminants often found in seafood.
6. Seeds - although nuts are also a great healthy choice, seeds are considered a superfood because of their low fat qualities and high protein, fiber, and vitamin content. They are believed to help those with diabetes and play a role in preventing weight gain. There are several healthy seeds to choose from including pumpkin (aka pepitas), chia, sesame, flax, hemp, and sunflower.
7. Tomatoes - are also an antioxidant powerhouse that only pack 34 calories per cup! Their rich flavor is a perfect addition to many dishes and sauces, while their nutritional benefits include bone and heart health and cancer fighting agents. Some experts even believe tomatoes can lower the risk of alzheimer's and diabetes.
8. Squash - are probably one of the most under recognized superfoods on our list! And most people don’t know that in addition to zucchini and acorn squash, cucumbers and melons are also in the squash family! These colorful veggies (and fruit) contain high levels of alpha-carotene and beta-carotene both benefiting cellular development, specifically brain cells. Squash are also known to help lower insulin levels and are a great source of natural fiber.
9. Grapefruit - chosen as a superfood for its outstanding levels of vitamin C, plus pink and red grapefruit contains lycopene, an antioxidant that helps fight tumors. They also contain enzymes and phytonutrients that are beneficial for digestion as well as overall colon, heart, and kidney health.
10. Lentils - it should be no surprise that these beans have been a staple protein source for centuries. The nutritional contents of lentils help your cholesterol level, blood sugar, digestion, and pack on the iron, protein, fiber and other vitamins and minerals while being low in fat; and easy to digest. They are also a snap to cook with and take on flavors nicely. Why not try one of these lentil recipes today!