Super Food List - 25 Top Picks
Defining a Superfood
The term superfood is not used as a way to define food in the nutritional field. It is a term used by marketers to promote fresh whole foods that have possible health benefits vs. a junk food or fast food that has little or no nutritional value. While the term superfood may not be defined by nutritionists or those in the scientific food community, it still holds up since it is not so loosely defined that it has no benefit when it comes to your health and diet.
While marketers have termed the phrase superfood and you will see it touted on some prepackaged products, most super foods do not come prepared or prepackaged. Super foods are raw, whole foods that have a lot of nutritional value. Most super foods are fruits and vegetables but fish like salmon and some whole grains could be labeled as super foods.
It is often believed that superfoods may help prevent diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Eating only one super food from the list regularly will not promote health. Super foods work better in combination with each other because you will get a broad range of healthy compounds.These super foods definitely play a role in overall nutritional health and would be an essential part of a diet where your goal is to stay fit or lose weight.
Super foods will have a combination or all of the following traits: super foods are high in vitamins and minerals, low in calories, filled with fiber, contain omega-3 fatty acids, and be high in phytochemicals. It will be real food not one that is highly processed. There are literally hundreds of foods that may be called super foods. I have created a list of 25 top super food picks.
A List of 25 Super Foods
- Chia Seeds
- Coconut Oil
- Red Wine
- Sweet Potato
- Tea (green or black)
The Super Fruits
Blueberries, grapefruit, oranges and lingonberries made it on the super foods list. All four of these fruits are loaded with vitamins and antioxidants which will be discussed momentarily. Aim for 5 to 10 servings of fresh fruit and vegetables on a daily basis and go organic if possible. Fruits and vegetables grown organically tend to have higher amounts of beneficial antioxidants verses commercially grown fruit and vegetables.
Blueberries are loaded with anthocyanin antioxidants. Anthocyanin gives blueberries their deep purple or blue color and is beneficial for improved memory function. Research shows that freezing blueberries does not reduce the effectiveness of this antioxidant. This is good news for people who pick their own fruits and would like to freeze their efforts. The blueberry has the highest antioxidant level compared to other fruits and contains essential vitamins like vitamin C and vitamin E along with copper, slenium, zinc and iron. Blueberries help regulate blood sugar and protect blood vessels of diabetics.
Besides being loaded with vitamin C, grapefruits contain potassium and lycopene. Potassium is critical for a healthy heart. Grapefruit contains a lot of fiber and bioflavonoids. Bioflavonoids protect against tumor formation, cancer and heart disease.
Oranges, like their cousin the grapefruit, are loaded with vitamin C. The body cannot produce its own vitamin C and it is necessary to get adequate amounts daily to protect your health. Oranges are rich in limonoids, and antioxidant that helps to fight a variety of cancers. The flavonoid, hesperidian, helps to regulate high blood pressure while the magnesium found in an orange can maintain blood pressure. Beta carotene is also found in oranges. Beta carotene helps the skin fight signs of aging.
Lingonberries have higher levels of polyphenols compared to other berries and is related to the cranberry and blueberry. The lingonberry can help fight inflammation and is a fantastic antioxidant. Like the blueberry, a lingonberry has the capacity to help fight the damage that AGE's do to the blood vessels of a diabetic. The AGE is what contributes to kidney, eye and circulatory damage in a diabetic. Lingonberry is harder to find in the US than it is in Scandinavian countries. Look for it in juice at health food stores or in frozen or powdered form.
Cooking with Superfoods
Super Food Quiz
The Super Veggies
Beans, broccoli, kale, spinach, sweet potato, garlic, and tomato are on the super food's list and should be incorporate along with fruits into your diet daily. Again, try to use organic vegetable when possible. Organic vegetables are grown in soil that has a higher concentration of nutrients than most commercial soils and these nutrients get passed on the the food grown in that soil. Plus, the organic vegetable won't be grown with the addition of chemicals. These chemicals cannot be washed off the surface of a plant source and you ingest them when you eat commercially grown food. This is why organic foods are more beneficial to your body.
High in fiber, antioxidants, Vitamin B, iron, magnesium and potassium. They are great for optimizing heart health and keeping you feeling full longer when on a diet to lose weight and/or increase your health.
Kale has more iron per serving than beef. Iron helps form hemoglobin, and plays a role in proper cell growth. Kale is also recognized as a super food since it has vitamin K which helps bone health, it is an anti-inflammatory food, has a lot of Vitamin A which is good for your skin and eyes and is also loaded with Vitamin C and calcium.
Broccoli, like kale is loaded with Vitamin C and calcium which is great for bone health. John Hopkins University produced a study showing that eating broccoli can reduce the size of a tumor by 75%. Broccoli contains glucoraphanin, which the body processes into the anti-cancer compound sulforaphane. This compound rids the body of H. pylori, a bacterium found to highly increase the risk of gastric cancer. Broccoli helps fight inflammation and it contains a number of compounds that help your body to detoxify itself. It is a high fiber food that helps aid digestion and reduce constipation.
There is a reason that Popeye ate his spinach; it is the superfood that packs iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, protein, Vitamin A and folate into one serving. Magnesium is great for maintaining metabolism and healthy heart functions. Chlorophyll in spinach helps to block out carcinogens to protect from cancer formation in the body.
The sweet potato contains Vitamin D. This is the vitamin that many people have low levels of since it is produced in the body with the help of sunlight. Vitamin D helps to build healthy skins bones and teeth while helping to regulate mood. It contains iron, Vitamin B6, magnesium and Vitamin C.
Garlic is the heart healthy vegetable which is actually the bulb of the plant. Garlic contains Allicin which is a sulphur compound. It helps to improve iron absorption, so eat it with your spinach and kale. It is a good source of selenium and it helps to regulate fat cell formation in our body. Read more about garlic benefits through this hub: How to Use Garlic to Ward Off High Blood Pressure.
Tomatoes are high in Vitamin C, low calorie and contain no fat. They have Vitamins A and K, magnesium, potassium, copper and folate. The Beta-carotene found in tomatoes helps fight sun damage and wrinkles. Lycopene which gives the tomato its color helps to protect bone mass making it essential in protecting from osteoporosis. Lycopene also helps to reduce the risk of many cancers.
- Virgin Coconut Oil for Skin
Virgin coconut oil has amazing properties for skin, hair and body. It is inexpensive and easy to use. Learn how.
- Chocolate and Yoga
Many foods have antioxidant properties or compounds that naturally improve well being. Proper diet along with exercise keeps a body strong and healthy. Let's examine natural health, healing and organic remedies to keep you hearty and healthy.
The Others; Nuts, Protein and Grains
Almonds, walnuts, yogurt, chia seeds, coconut oil, cocoa, red wine and turmeric all pack a super food punch.
Coconut oil is not only a great super food but it can be used as an all purpose cosmetic and cleanser. It is great for hair skin and teeth when applied topically. Read more about it here; Virgin Coconut Oil for Skin and Health.
Almonds and Walnuts
Nuts like walnuts are heart health since they contain Alpha-linolenic acid. Almonds contain Vitamin E, B and magnesium which can help regulate metabolism. Nuts also contain fiber which can fill you up and help you lose weight when eaten in moderation.
Chia seeds contain omega-3 fats and fiber. They fill you up and can be added to smoothies or puddings easily. They help to lower cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar. Like other super foods they contain calcium, maganese and phosphorus. Try sprinkling them on a salad.
Cocoa and Red Wine
Cocoa and red wine can help decrease blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and improve blood vessel health. This is due to the flavonoids found in these two super foods.
Turmeric is the spice that gives curried foods its color. It contains curcumin which is a powerful anti-inflammatory. It may help prevent heart disease and cancer. It is suggested to take a turmeric supplement in order to get the correct dosage for turmeric to be beneficial to your body.
Yogurt contains calcium, Vitamins B12 and B2, potassium and magnesium. Yogurt along with its sister, kefir, also can probiotics which optimize gut health. Eat plain yogurt with fresh fruit instead of yogurts full of sugar or artificial sweeteners.
© 2014 Corey
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