By Carole Reedy
There is no pill or medicine that can miraculously grant you good health and an ideal weight. But there are powerful foods to help you on your quest. These superfoods contain disease-fighting nutrients that bolster your immune system, thus preventing illness. They also lower cholesterol and reduce your risk for heart disease and cancer. At the same time, they provide all the building blocks you need to stay healthy, maintain a healthy weight, and put you in a better mood.
How can they accomplish all this? Here’s a list some superfoods and what they can do for you. All are readily available at your supermarket. No need to search for specialty shops or health-food stores.
Cacao: For Chocolate Lovers Only
Isn’t this great news? The darker the chocolate, the more beneficial to you health. Milk and white chocolate don’t count. Buy those great bars by Lindt that have more than 60% cacao. They also have less sugar than other chocolate bars. Cacao contributes to lowering blood pressure and increasing blood flow, which you need for a healthy heart. Don’t worry about caffeine content as it’s negligible. Everything in moderation is a good rule, so don’t go crazy. Remember, the calorie content is high.
Frozen or fresh, and the more color, the better, as with most berries. These tasty treats provide phytonutrients and fiber that help body cells communicate with each other more efficiently and prevent mutations at the cellular level and thus the proliferation of cancer cells.
Here’s a true miracle food that in just the past 25 years has been recognized for its benefits to the human body. It improves the immune system, protects against cancer and heart disease, reduces the risk of cataracts, and helps strengthen bones. Broccoli contains a component that reduces the growth of tumors, especially in cells sensitive to estrogens.
Quinoa: A Sacred Food of the Incas and Aztecs
Until recently, this phenomenal food was little-known and not widely available. Although quinoa appears to be a grain, it’s actually the seed of a plant of the family of green-leaf vegetables, such as Swiss chard. This ancient food has been popular in South America for years, and what it can do for your well-being is quite amazing. Benefits of quinoa include its complete protein status, rich fiber content, and good source of iron. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) also has plenty of zinc, vitamin E, and selenium to help control weight and lower your risk for heart disease and diabetes. In addition to all that, it’s delicious!
Almonds are a powerful superfood They’re filled with vitamins and minerals, protein, fiber, and the essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6. They also contain vitamin E, zinc, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium. Yes, they also contain fat, but it’s a healthful fat that’s good for your heart–monosaturated fat (also found in olive oil and salmon).
Be careful when buying salmon. The beneficial properties are found in wild-caught salmon, preferably from Chile or Alaska. It should have a good color with thin strips of white. It’s the omega-3 fatty acids that make salmon a superfood. Many of us lack these fatty acids, partly because of lack of knowledge on the part of the public and also because they’ve been processed out of our modern diet. Deficiency can have long-term consequences. William S. Harris, writes in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, “In terms of its potential impact on health in the Western world, the omega 3 story may someday be viewed as one of the most important in the history of modern nutritional science.” Dr. Evan Cameron, from the Linus Pauling Institute, has said: “Our epidemic of heart disease and cancer may be the result of a fish oil deficiency so enormous we fail to recognize it.” Add to that the fact that salmon is beneficial for your eyes, skin, brain, and heart.
These too are good for your heart. Beans are loaded with insoluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol, as well as soluble fiber, which fills you up and helps rid your body of waste. They’re especially useful for vegetarians as they’re a low-fat source of protein, carbohydrates, magnesium, and potassium.
Known as the food that cleans your blood., parsley contains many of the vitamins and minerals that your body needs, including vitamins C, A, and K, as well as iodine, iron, and chlorophyll. Parsley also helps the function of your kidneys and aids in preventing kidney stones.
Believe it or not, this is the second most consumed beverage in the world, the first being water. In India and China green tea has been used medicinally for hundreds of years.
Green tea can prevent cancer by fortifying the immune system. It’s also good for your blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, and provides antioxidants. It does, however, contain caffeine, unlike other herbal teas.
Apples: Trite But True
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” seems to be true. Eat the skin and be sure to choose from the variety of the many apples offered at your market. Each has a unique antioxidant property that may prove instrumental in preventing lung cancer, improved pulmonary function, and type 2 diabetes.
Other superfoods include chia, oatmeal, kale, garlic, flax, algae, and fermented foods such as miso, kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, and vinegar.
Here we’ve attempted to whet your appetite (pun intended!) for a way of eating that can lead to a happy and healthier life. Search the internet for explanations of the medical research about superfoods and other lifestyle choices that can make our short time on the planet a good life.