Natural and unprocessed food offers the highest benefit when you consider getting into superfoods. Research has shown that processed foods lose their nutrients and can have harmful health effects due to their chemical content.
Heavily processed foods usually contain harmful levels of added sugar, sodium and fat. These components make the food we eat taste better. However, chemicals in some processed food can lead to serious health issues like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of some of the most sought-after superfoods.
Kale is a green, leafy vegetable with high amounts of vitamins A, C, and K, together with antioxidants, manganese, calcium and iron. Kale contains meager amounts of calories and is high in omega-3 fatty acids that help combat inflammatory ailments such as arthritis, asthma and some autoimmune disorders.
Other leafy greens similar to kale are Swiss chard, collard greens, mustard greens, spinach, cabbage and broccoli. They are rich in vitamins that support vision, prevent blood clots, support bone health, boost metabolism and prevent certain cancers.
For more information about kale, read my other detailed article entitled Kale: After the Trend.
Kefir is a cultured beverage made from kefir grain and raw milk. Cultured foods are fermented by causing microorganisms like bacteria or yeast to interact with food to improve nutrition, taste and shelf life. Kefir is one of the most probiotic-rich superfoods. It is a yogurt-like drink high in protein, B vitamins, potassium and calcium. However, its most powerful health benefit is its probiotic properties.
The benefits of probiotics include enhancing the healthful bacteria ratio in the gastrointestinal tract, treating and controlling diarrhea, treating irritable bowel syndrome and reducing gastrointestinal infections.
Like yogurt, kefir is made from milk that ferments and contains many bacteria that assist with lactose digestion. Kefir yogurt usually does not have the typical symptoms of lactose intolerance because the yogurt’s bacteria help break down and digest lactose. Kefir also possesses more nutrients when compared to yogurt. Its texture is thicker when compared to milk.
Acai berries are grown in the Amazon palm tree from Central and South America. They are high in nutrients like antioxidants, healthy fats, fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. Based on this, they are considered to be superfoods. In addition, research has shown that these berries can help subdue and correct oxidative stress. This stress occurs when excess free radicals exist in the body’s cells.
Other berry types, like blueberries, strawberries and cranberries, are also rich in vitamins, soluble fiber and phytochemicals. In addition, certain antioxidants and plant compounds found in berries can restrict the development of cancerous cells and help protect memory and mental function.
For more informative reading about other berries, check out my other article entitled The Superiority of Berries.
Avocados are known to assist with everything from easing arthritis and relieving the undesirable effects of chemotherapy to decreasing cholesterol. They are high in monounsaturated fats that can improve healthy cholesterol levels.
They are loaded with vitamins E and B6 that aid in forming red blood cells, help to protect body tissues from free radicals, produce glycogen – a source of energy, and promote good skin health.
Avocados can also assist your body in absorbing carotenoids – plant pigments responsible for bright red, yellow and orange shades found in fruits and vegetables. Carotenoids are good because they contain high vitamin A levels that reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease and eye deterioration.
I have written another articled with more information on avocados. It is called Health Banefits of Avocados.
Salmon is a fish that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help lower one’s risk of heart disease and stroke. In addition, introducing salmon into your diet can reduce your blood pressure, decrease inflammation and even boost one’s mood. This fish also contains lots of vitamin D and selenium that prevents cell damage and benefit your bones, hair, nails and skin.
It is recommended that consuming at least two servings of salmon per week can help you meet your omega-3 fatty acid needs.
For more information on salmon, see my other article entitled Four Reasons to Eat More Salmon.
Ginger, which is generally used as a spice, is also a superfood. It can help to fight against infections, guard the body against cancer and strengthen the immune system. It has also been used for decades to treat digestive problems, treat different forms of nausea, improve weight loss, reduce blood sugars and lower the risk of heart disease.
Ginger can be used as an ingredient in different recipes. These include noodle soups, pork lettuce cups, cashew chicken salad, gingered spaghetti salad, Asian vegetable-beef soup, ginger salmon with cucumber lime sauce, spicy coconut shrimp with quinoa, ginger halibut with brussels sprouts, and many others.
I have compiled a more detailed article about ginger that you might find interesting. It is entitled Health Benefits of Ginger.
Quinoa is a seed classified as a pseudograin. However, nutritionally, it is considered to be whole grain and is also gluten-free. It is a super grain that is high in fiber and protein. Studies have shown that it contains more proteins than any other grain. Besides increased protein levels, quinoa is also a source of iron and potassium.
Quinoa is naturally gluten-free and is usually used as a rice substitute. Besides its other benefits, quinoa is also an excellent source of many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Sweet potatoes are an outstanding source of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, iron, magnesium and potassium. These nutrients can help avert a heart attack, keep you looking more youthful, boost immune system health, enhance eyesight and maintain healthy teeth, bones and skin. In addition, since sweet potatoes are inherently sweet. Therefore, they don’t require the extra butter, cream or salt that is usually added to potatoes to improve their taste.
As mentioned at the beginning, the superfoods listed above are a sample of superfoods that make a nutrient-packed complement to a well-balanced diet and regular exercise routine.
For more information, see my other blogs about superfoods by clicking here.
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I will be adding more research information on this topic. Please come back again to check it out.