We all know eating fruit and vegetables on a daily basis is good for our health, but did you know that certain foods are so jam-packed with essential nutrients that they are called ‘Superfoods’? These foods are so rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and essential fatty acids that it is highly recommended to incorporate them into your regular eating plan to help you maintain optimum health, vitality and feeling of wellbeing.
The term ‘Superfood’ originated in Japan in the early 1980s to describe nutrient-rich food. These foods are bursting with so much goodness they are deemed to have incredible health benefits that help to protect against cancer, heart disease, high cholesterol as well as assist in protecting organs from toxins and improving digestive.
So what is classed as a ‘Superfood’ and why are they good for you? If you want to know what you should be eating on a regular basis to supercharge your health then check these disease-fighting foods out:-
- Almonds –rich in monounsaturated fats, these super nuts help lower levels of bad LDL-cholesterol; boast good amounts of the antioxidant vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, potassium and fibre.
- Avocados – are rich in vitamin E which keeps the red cells in your blood healthy and a great source of essential fatty acids.
- Berries – particularly blueberries and raspberries are high in antioxidants which help combat the ageing process and protect against damage from free radicals.
- Broccoli – this superfood is extremely high in vitamin C, beta carotene as well as being full of folate, iron and calcium. Another broccoli bonus is that it’s low in carbohydrates.
- Chillies – have a strong concentration of vitamin C, around two to three times greater than citrus fruit, are high in fibre, potassium, B vitamins and an excellent metabolism booster.
- Cinnamon – This is great for adding flavour without extra sugar or fat, controlling blood sugar levels and satisfying sweet cravings.
- Flaxseeds – These are the richest plant source of the good fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and help lower blood pressure.
- Garlic – has excellent anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties.
- Herbs – especially basil and rosemary as these are high in antioxidants, adding flavour and colour to any dish.
- Oats – these are superstars of the wholegrain family as they are rich in soluble fibre and are low GI. They can help lower cholesterol, control blood sugar levels and provide satiety (feelings of fullness).
- Oranges – these contain a healthy dose of vitamin C that assists in supporting the immune system and provides all-around antioxidant protection.
- Sardines, Salmon & Mackerel – these are heart friendly high protein options, low in saturated fat and rich in omega 3’s and zinc.
- Soybeans – an excellent source of high-quality protein, containing twice as much protein as any other legume. The active ingredients are the soy protein and plant phyto-oestrogens which have positive benefits for heart disease, diabetes control and protection against cancer.
- Spinach – This dark green, leafy vegetable contains a synergy of phyto-nutrients and antioxidants including vitamin K, coenzyme Q10, folate and iron.
- Tea – green and regular black tea is rich in antioxidants known as catechin which studies have shown can assist with lowering the risk of heart disease.
- Tomatoes – These vibrant red fruits are packed with the antioxidant lycopene that offers a host of health benefits including heart health and may reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
- Wheatgerm – will give you a boost of almost all the B vitamins, vitamin E, as well as a healthy dose of antioxidants and many minerals.
- Yoghurt – packed with calcium, protein and B vitamins, Pick low fat natural yoghurt with added probiotics to support digestive function.
Remember variety is the spice of life, so don’t be afraid to try a new food – if you are unsure of how to cook or eat it, do some research online, there is a wealth of information out there for you. The more colourful your food, the more packed with power it is as fruit and vegetable get their colour from the nutrient it contains. If you eat a rainbow of food you can be confident that you are on the right to achieving optimal health.
Author CJ’s Fitbumps – CJ is a pre and postnatal holistic health coach, group exercise instructor, personal trainer, nutrition expert and author of The Winning Physique. She provides specialist pre and postnatal fitness classes and coaching at Riverside Ice and Leisure as well as offers one to one personalised health coaching programs lifestyle consultations and personal training. Find me at www.cjsfitbumps.com, email me via firstname.lastname@example.org or call me 07557683770.