Ask five nutrition experts to provide a list of their favorite “superfoods,” and the results will vary—but they’ll also overlap. The reason is each food provides something different and of great importance to body functioning.
One food on the list might be a rich source of protein or fiber, but wind up lacking in vitamins and minerals. Another superfood could be loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants, but be largely absent of protein. That’s why experts claim that eating a wide variety of power foods is the best way to ensure optimum health. Try and eat the following foods every day, and you’ll check just about every nutritional box.
Take blueberries, for instance. In a study of common fruits and vegetables, blueberries contained more antioxidants than over 40 of their competitors. This places the unassuming berry at the top of the list for guarding against cancer, heart disease, dementia, and macular degeneration. Blueberries also defend against urinary tract infections, thanks to the antioxidant epicatechins. Epicatechins prevent bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall. Blueberries are also high in water, providing hydration to the skin and cells of the body. Eating half a cup of blueberries satisfies one fruit and vegetable serving per day.
Oats are high in soluble fiber and linked to lowering blood pressure and overall cholesterol levels. Oats are a good carbohydrate, and they’re rich in beta-glucan. Beta-glucan is a powerful soluble fiber that helps to slow the digestion of sugar and keep blood sugar levels under control.
Oats are also a great source of quality plant protein helping with muscle growth and repair. Each half cup serving provides a whopping 10 grams, and many studies have shown eating oatmeal reduces the risk of heart disease.
Power up your day and your body with a bowl of oats—and breakfast aside, it’s an excellent pre- or post-workout meal.
Research might actually confirm that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Apples are a food that’s loaded with antioxidants quercetin and catechin. Quercetin and catechin protect our cells and help reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. Note: You can get more fiber and nutrients by eating the skin.
The apple and skin are higher in fiber than a lot of other fruits, which can help with weight loss by improving satiety. Apples taste fabulous, are filling, and provide energy in addition to the overwhelming antioxidant health benefits.
The apple has become the new “fast-food” for health.
Green tea contains a powerhouse of antioxidants. Its antioxidant values are shown to be higher than those measured in fruits and vegetables.
Green tea contains high doses of catechin, an antioxidant shown to help prevent cell damage in the body. Catechin is indicated to reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation is said to contribute to disease and illness. This powerful antioxidant is shown to reduce high blood pressure and decrease the risk of heart disease.
Green tea has also been proven to help block the formation of plaques linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Other health benefits include increased metabolism for weight loss.
Enjoying high tea just became sweeter—just remember to keep it green.
Flaxseeds are not only a good source of fiber but also loaded with alpha-linolenic acid. Alpha-linolenic acid is an essential fatty acid shown to reduce inflammation in the body. Flaxseeds also contain lignans. Lignans are a type of plant compound known as polyphenols. These precursors contribute to reduced rates of certain hormone-related cancers.
Other anti-inflammatory properties of flax seeds have been helpful for acne and asthma conditions. Ground flax is an excellent source of fiber and helps to alleviate digestive problems. Flaxseed is nutrient dense and rich source of healthy fat.
Flax is a remarkable superfood full of minerals, incredible fatty acids, and usable protein. Health benefits are attained when the whole flax seed is ground otherwise it comes out the same as it went in.
Yogurt is known for its probiotic or live beneficial bacteria. Yogurt is shown to reduce the growth of harmful bacteria in the digestive tract. It also helps maintain stable ph levels in the body.
Eating yogurt is indicated to boost our immune system and provide protection against diseases like cancer. Probiotics can help with vaginal yeast infections, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcers, and urinary tract infections.
Yogurt is also a great source of bone-building calcium and protein. Not all yogurts are created equal. Look for labeling “live and active cultures” to ensure it contains probiotics. It is also recommended to consume plain over sugared varieties.
Broccoli, a cruciferous carbohydrate is one of the most powerful antioxidants in our dietary tool box. Broccoli protects our body against cancer and ranks at the top of the superfood list.
Broccoli offers high nutritional value with low caloric cost. It is the most nutrient-dense of the vegetable superfoods. Research has labeled broccoli the king of cancer prevention. Research has shown sulfur compounds in broccoli signal our genes to boost production of detoxifying enzymes. These enzymes potentially attack cancer-causing compounds.
In addition, broccoli also boosts the immune system, supports cardiovascular health, builds bones, and fights birth defects.
Olive oil is considered a healthy dietary fat shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. The primary fat found in olive oil is monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). MUFAs have been shown to lower total cholesterol and help stabilize blood clotting.
Olive oil has been linked to lowered insulin levels, blood sugar control. Research has shown a great benefit to those suffering from type 2 diabetes.
Olive oil is also bursting with antioxidants called phenols linked to prevention of cholesterol buildup in the artery walls. Look for “virgin,” “extra-virgin,” or “cold-pressed” olive oils for best nutritional values.
The recommended dose is one tablespoon daily to reap heart-healthy benefits.
Beans are an excellent source of soluble fiber and good carbohydrate to eat daily. Soluble fiber helps the heart by soaking up cholesterol before having a chance to stick to the artery wall. The cholesterol is then eliminated through normal body functions. Studies show eating high soluble fiber can reduce total cholesterol by 10 to 15 percent and is linked to reduced heart disease.
Black beans contain anthocyanins, antioxidant compounds shown to improve brain function. They contain the highest plant protein rating but must be combined with a grain such as brown rice to create a “complete” protein.
Beans are much more than the “musical fruit,” and the health benefits just may outweigh the song.
Cinnamon has become one of the most powerful healing spices earning the ranks of a superfood. Studies have linked cinnamon to improved blood sugar in people suffering from diabetes.
Cinnamon is also indicated to have antibacterial, anti-parasitic, and anti-fungal properties.
Cinnamon is also high in manganese, iron, calcium, and fiber all beneficial to the body. The health benefits of this super spice continue to be revealed through ongoing studies but it has long been used in traditional medicine.
It’s exciting to discover cinnamon benefits have grown beyond apple pie and spiced cider to a superfood good for your health.
Alzheimer’s.net Memory Boosting Superfoods That Fight Alzheimer’s. 2013.