Superfoods are natural, unprocessed foods with high nutrient content that provide amazing health benefits. There is a lot of buzz going around at the moment about superfoods and how making sure that they are incorporated into your daily diet can help you live a healthier life.
There are a lot of foods that promise weight loss or claim to be health foods, but after taking a closer look at the ingredients you will find that they’re actually more harmful to your health than anything else.
A lot of diet, low fat or fat free foods are just packed with chemicals and processed to death. While they might technically be low fat or fat free, they usually contain other ingredients that will be detrimental to your health and your waistline.
The best thing you can do when it comes to your diet is eat as many natural and fresh foods as you can and steer clear of processed foods that claim to be good for you. Here is a list of amazing superfoods that you should be adding to your meal plan STAT!
Apples contain lots of antioxidants and fiber. They make great snacks and eating an apple before devouring a high carb pasta dish has shown to decrease the amount of calories you will end up consuming.
2. Olive Oil
This is a fantastic superfood! We all use oil in cooking and it’s great to have a healthy option. Olive oil has a high content of monosaturated fats, which has been proven to improve heart health.
It is also a key ingredient in the newest health craze, the Mediterranean diet. It can be used in cooking, drizzled over a yummy salad and in many more creative ways. Olive oil also works as an anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-microbial.
[ Read: 8 Foods to Keep You Young and Healthy ]
Tomatoes (via www.naturalfoodpantry.ca)
Tomatoes are a yummy and common superfood that is high in antioxidants and can reduce your risk of heart disease and osteoporosis, as well as minimize UV damage. Be sure to always include them in your salads.
Also try halving a big beefsteak tomato and roasting it with some oregano sprinkled on top for a delicious and healthy side dish.
Bananas are a low calorie food (110/serving) and they’re packed with potassium and vitamin B-6. They make a great snack and taste great over natural yogurt and granola.
Remember how mom always told you to eat your carrots because they would help your eyesight? Well, it turns out she was right! Carrots are packed with beta-carotene which DOES improve eyesight and it also slows down aging cell growth. Thanks, mom!
6. Dark Chocolate
YUM! Finally there is a delicious, sweet treat that is actually good for you! But don’t get ahead of yourself, if you want to reap the health benefits of chocolate, you need to be sure you are eating DARK chocolate, not the stuff that’s found in most candy.
Still, snacking on some dark chocolate can satisfy your cravings for the sweeter things in life. Plus it’s filled with compound flavanols, a type of antioxidant that decreases inflammation, lowers blood sugar, and improves positive and negative cholesterol levels.
Especially for you vegetarians out there, beans are a great and super important food to incorporate into your diet. They provide a lot of protein and fiber and they’re naturally low in fat.
Mangos, while delicious, are also a SUPER superfood that is packed with over 20 different antioxidants, vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, C, E, fiber, potassium and iron! They help to improve your eyesight, skin, memory, and most importantly your SEX DRIVE!
Pomegranates have important folate and disease-fighting antioxidants and they’re low in calories and high in fiber. They’re also packed with vitamins C and B, potassium, folic acid and iron. I like to sprinkle pomegranate seeds into my salad or add some to my favorite smoothie.
Pomegranates are said to play a role in preventing cancer and heart disease. They also come in juice form that is fantastic for cooking.
Avocados are probably one of my favorite superfoods. Like olive oil, avocados are one of those foods that have the “good fat” in them. They help to boost the good kind of cholesterol and they contain over 25 different essential nutrients, including vitamins A, B, C, E, and K. Plus they are a great source of fiber and protein (good for vegetarians!). Eat them in slices with a squeeze of lime or as an addition to a number of different dishes.
Salmon is a well known superfood that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids as well as protein, selenium, and vitamin D. It’s great for heart health and it boosts your metabolism. Many salmon advocates prefer wild-caught salmon to farmed raised because of the risk of PCBs in some farmed populations.
As a kid you may not have liked to eat your spinach, but as an adult it’s something you need to have in your diet. It’s so packed with vitamins A and K that you only need one cup to reach your recommended daily dose of these vitamins!
Spinach may have been the original superfood, and it’s clear why, since it has fiber, protein, and folic acid (just to name a few) and it benefits your health in a huge number of different ways. Try mixing spinach greens into your salad mix, adding it to a pasta dish, and sneaking it into a number of other yummy plates.
Blueberries may be small, but they have the highest number of antioxidants of any fruit. They’re also high in potassium, vitamin C, and fiber. It is said that they can lower your risk of heart disease, cancer, and inflammation.
Sardines might not be a popular snack for everyone, but they are worth reconsidering for their powerful health benefits alone. They can help prevent cancer, improve bone health, and act as an anti-inflammatory. Like salmon, they are high in omega-3s and low in mercury.
If you’re not a fan, try soaking them in milk for an hour. It should get rid of the fishiness. Also, next time you’re in the mood for a tuna salad sandwich, try substituting the tuna with sardines!
Oranges are another yummy fruit that is delicious on its own, juiced or mixed with other foods. It helps arthritis, prevents kidney stones, and contains a lot of calcium, which contributes to healthy bones and teeth.
16. Plain Yogurt
Some say that plain yogurt is the perfect food. It contains high protein, the healthy kind fat and loads of calcium. It is said to help prevent cancer and it also helps to prevent vaginal infections and stomach ulcers.
Plain greek yogurt contains even more protein than other kinds. Yogurt is a great, healthy substitute for mayonnaise and sour cream. It can be combined with a number of superfood fruits for a delicious and healthy breakfast and snack.
Go ahead and add some oats to that yogurt and fruit parfait! They are high in insoluble fiber and a good source of low-glycemic complex carbohydrates.
Aside from being a fabulous color that MAY stain your hands and countertops (be careful!), beets are also a delicious root veggie that is loaded with fiber, potassium, and folate. Beet salads with spinach greens and a bit of goat cheese is one of my personal favs and provides two of the fabulous superfoods on this list.
19. Parmesan Cheese
Thank god there is at least one cheese on this list! Again, forget about the disgusting “low-fat” cheeses in the market. They are terrible for you. If you love cheese and you want a healthy option, try parmesan sprinkled lightly over your favorite dish.
Artichokes are low in calories and high in fiber, vitamins C and K, folate, magnesium and potassium. I love them steamed with a yummy yogurt sauce to dip in. Remember that it’s important to eat the leaves and not just the heart.
This list of awesome superfoods will get you started on the path to living a healthier life. The key to getting a healthier diet is adding these foods in and eliminating as many processed food as possible.
There are lot of other great superfoods as well. If you’re ever in doubt of a food’s value, do a quick Google search with the name of the food + superfood and you will have all the information you need.
Cover photo: www.livinghealthywithchocolate.com/