All foods (even chocolate bars) have some nutritional value, but some foods push the health benefits to new heights. The latest buzzword in the world of health and fitness is “superfood,” and these prized items are seen as the holy grail of wellness. These health boosters build bones, prevent chronic diseases, and improve eyesight and memory, with new evidence even suggesting they aid weight loss, too. Here are ten superfoods that could make you super healthy!
These fruits are packed full of antioxidants and contain lots of vitamin C to keep your skin and gums healthy. Apples are also low glycaemic index (GI) and contain a form of soluble fibre called pectin that helps lower blood cholesterol levels and keeps the digestive system healthy. Eating tip: Cut an apple up and add it to your salad or breakfast.
2. Hot Peppers
Peppers contain compounds called capsaicin from where they derive their extraordinary anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-cancer, and heart-healthy effects. They are also high in antioxidants and contain about twice the amount of vitamin C found in citrus fruits. Eating tip: Almost any dish (from homemade soups, to stir-fries, salads, and salsas) can benefit from small amounts of hot peppers.
Oats are rich in fibre, so a serving in the morning can help you feel full throughout the day, and the healthy carbs packed inside can boost metabolism and burn fat. Eating tip: Sprinkle oats into your yoghurt for a yummy snack, or mix your morning oats with fruits and honey for a sweet treat.
There’s no reason to be afraid of eating fats, and avocados contain healthy monounsaturated fats that can trigger your body to quiet hunger. This creamy fruit is also packed with fibre and protein.
Avocadoes are one of the most versatile foods around – turn it into guacamole, add it in slices to your sandwich or burger, or cube it and toss in a salad.
Salmon is a lean protein choice and helps to quash hunger, while the fish’s omega-3 fatty acids help fight flab more effectively. Salmon is low in calories and saturated fat, but loaded with iron. Eating tip: Grill the salmon with a squeeze of lime and prepare a tomato salsa (with onion, coriander leaves, and lime) to garnish it.
Loaded with antioxidants, phytonutrients, water, and fibre (to help control blood sugar), these little health boosters pack an incredible amount of nutritional goodness into a small package, and are low in calories too! Blueberries lead the pack, offering a great source of antioxidants, while cranberries and açai berries are healthy whether fresh, frozen, or dried. Eating tip: Take a box of berries to work to nibble on, or blitz them up with some milk for a delicious smoothie.
Whether served cooked or raw, this cruciferous veggie is well-known for its cancer-preventing powers and packing in lots of fibre in less than 30 calories a serving. Broccoli’s healthy reputation is well deserved – it is loaded with vitamin C, low in calories, and has one of the highest antioxidant ratings around. Broccoli also boasts calcium, iron, potassium, and vitamins B, E, and K for protection against cancer, heart disease, stroke, and vision problems. Eating tip: Toss with garlic, salt, and pepper for a stir-fry that packs a punch.
Even if you change nothing else in your diet, eating half a grapefruit before each meal may help you lose weight, as a compound in the tangy fruit can lower insulin, potentially leading to weight loss. Grapefruit is also a good source of protein and, as they are at least 90% water, they are great for hydration too. Eating tip: Chop a grapefruit up and add it to some low-fat yogurt for a power breakfast, or throw it into a salad for a healthy tang.
Beans are loaded with insoluble and soluble fibre which helps lower cholesterol and rid the body of waste. Beans are also a good, low-fat source of protein, carbohydrates, magnesium, and potassium. Red beans offer protein and fibre, kidney beans are rich in resistant starch, while black beans pack a whopper portion of protein with hardly any saturated fat. Eating tip: Mix beans with some chilli, olive oil, lemon, and parsley for a tasty salad.
Now readily available in many supermarkets, quinoa is one of the best whole grains to eat – high in protein and fibre and a naturally good source of iron, quinoa also has plenty of zinc, vitamin E, and selenium to help control weight and lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Eating tip: Quinoa is easy to prepare and can be eaten alone or mixed with vegetables, nuts, or lean protein for a whole-grain medley.
Source: The Expat May 2013
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