5 Superfoods No Person Should Go Without
It can be hard trying to maintain a healthy diet. There are just so many food options out there! Which ones are really best for your health, though? We’ve compiled a list of five superfoods that are good for just about everyone.
There’s no doubt you’ve heard the hype about blueberries. There’s good reason for all the hype because blueberries actually have many benefits. This is mainly due to their high levels of antioxidants. In fact, blueberries are said to contain the highest level of antioxidants of all commonly consumed fruits, along with pomegranates.
As you may know, antioxidants help to prevent cell damage due to free radicals. This means that blueberries help to prevent cancer and other chronic diseases by neutralizing free radicals.
Blueberries also contain vitamins and minerals (such as calcium, iron, and vitamin K) which maintain healthy bones. Recent research has also found that the antioxidants (especially polyphenols and flavonoids) contained in blueberries may also help to prevent bone loss which leads to osteoporosis.
On top of all this, blueberries are good for the heart, since they contain fiber and vitamin B6, but no cholesterol.
You’ve probably taken ginger when you were feeling nauseous—but that’s only one of its many benefits! Ginger contains compounds called gingerols, which have powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This is why people with arthritis feel much better when they regularly consume this root. Although inflammation is necessary for warding off foreign invaders (such as viruses), chronic inflammation is a risk for many diseases. So, consuming ginger may help to prevent such diseases, including cancer, asthma, acid reflux and atherosclerosis.
Ginger may also help to reduce symptoms of diabetes by lowering blood glucose. Unfortunately, diabetes is becoming more and more common in North America. So, it’s good to know there are natural ways to reduce its symptoms and even prevent it from occurring in the first place.
Many people find the taste of ginger to be too strong to consume, but there are ways around that. You can add a piece of fresh ginger to a smoothie and the fruits will mask the taste.
Beans, in general, are great for your health. But, kidney beans are definitely special. Since kidney beans are filled with fiber (which lowers LDL cholesterol, without affecting HDL cholesterol), they’re great for your heart health. Beans have also been shown to reduce C-reactive protein levels (associated with inflammation). These anti-inflammatory properties additionally contribute to a healthy heart.
Due to their high fiber content and antioxidant activity, kidney beans may also help to control glucose levels. In fact, their low glycemic index makes them a healthy food option for diabetics.
That’s not all, though. Kidney beans are also high in protein (one cup of cooked kidney beans contains 15 grams of protein). Of course, protein is important for repairing tissue, building muscles and more. The list really can go on and on when it comes to kidney beans. They contain molybdenum (which jump starts our enzymes), iron, vitamin C and vitamin A.
You’ve likely heard about “good fats” and “bad fats,” but do you know where to find them? Well, “bad fats” include trans fat and saturated fats. These increase your LDL cholesterol level and therefore, your risk of cardiovascular disease. “Good fats” on the other hand, include unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids. These have been shown to have various beneficial health effects.
Nuts are an excellent source of good fats. Almonds and hazelnuts, for example, reduce LDL cholesterol, while increasing HDL cholesterol.
Nuts also contain vitamins and other compounds which play a part in maintaining a healthy brain, Walnuts, for example, contain vitamin E and melatonin, both of which play an antioxidant role, protecting the brain’s membranes from damage.
Like beans, nuts are high in fiber, too. This equates to a reduced risk of heart disease and a feeling of satiety (which helps to control your weight).
Instead of reaching for chips or candy, snack on nuts instead; you won’t regret it.
When you think about dairy products, kefir is not usually one of the first things to come to mind. But, maybe that should change. Kefir is a cultured dairy product and one of the most probiotic-rich foods in the world. By now, you should have heard all about the benefits of probiotics—they boost immunity, combat obesity and reduce intestinal issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome and lactose intolerance.
Kefir also helps to build bone density by increasing the absorption of calcium and magnesium. This leads to a reduced risk of osteoporosis, a disease which is on the rise.
By Helen Sanders