Ever found yourself wondering – why all the fuss about super foods? Well, for starters, they are full of antioxidants, vitamins and other nutrients that fight diseases. What’s more, you can have them without piling on too many calories. And if you are still unimpressed, allow us to dispel the notion that they are exotic and difficult to find. Yes, some of them like sardines, goji berries, maca, raw cacao, etc. do sound like stuff you may not enjoy eating but that’s not true of all super foods. In fact, many of them are easily available and delicious enough for even your kids to try and like. Here goes:
Nuts are full of fiber, healthy monounsaturated fats, proteins, antioxidants and other nutrients. Though seen by many as fatty, high calorie food, many nuts like walnuts, almonds, pecan nuts, pistachios are great for reducing cholesterol. Include them in your diet to reduce the risk of heart diseases, just make sure you take them in moderate quantities.
Eggs are one of the most inexpensive super foods. They are high on protein content, are nutritious and can be cooked or used as ingredients in many ways. They contain a number of vitamins and also help enhance HDL (good cholesterol) levels. See more: http://www.parenting.com/gallery/toddler-superfoods
The humble beans, believe it or not, make the grade as super food for their rich fiber, carbohydrates, magnesium and potassium content. Whole soya beans contain Omega-3 fatty acids that are great for heart health. The US dietary Guidelines recommend including three cups of soya bean every week in your diet. Soya beans are easy alternatives to meat and poultry and every vegetarian should include this super food in his/her diet, whether as a breakfast dish or as an ingredient.
Low calorie or fat-free yogurt should definitely be a part of your daily diet. It is not only rich in calcium and other nutrients; it is also possible to have enriched versions like probiotic yogurt which is excellent for keeping healthy guts and digestion. Yogurt can be a great substitute to milk for those who are sensitive to lactose. Yogurt is a complete food. As per Dr. Robert Heaney, MD, “dairy foods contain practically every nutrient you need – and just in the right balance”.
Broccoli, ever the favorite for its taste and availability, is also a super vegetable. It’s not only rich in fiber, but also contains vitamins A, vitamin C and vitamin K. Include it in your meals, whether as a salad or stir fried or roasted. You can also try adding broccoli to soups and egg dishes to make them even more nutritious!
Berries are great for digestion and the high fiber content helps in weight loss. What they lack in size, they make up with their benefits – phytonutrients, antioxidants, Vitamin C, low calories. Berries help in controlling blood sugar levels and, with their sweet taste, are a perfect alternative to desserts. Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries are all easily available and can be had fresh or dried.
All types of tea are rich in polyphenols and the flavonoid EGCG. Loaded with antioxidants, green tea is known to have cancer-fighting properties, anti-aging benefits and is good for heart health. It’s also good for fighting infections and lowering the risk of Type II diabetes. It makes for a soothing and healthy substitute to coffee and soft drinks.
Great for your bones, eyes and immune system, sweet potatoes are rich source of vitamin A apart from containing other nutrients like vitamin C, manganese, potassium and lutein. According the Center for Science in the Public Interest, it is one of the most nutritious vegetable available to us. Belonging to the family of dark orange vegetable, sweet potatoes can reduce the effects of sodium on blood pressure and slow down the process of bone loss. Other health-promoting vegetables from the same family include carrots, squash, orange bell peppers and pumpkin.
Its Omega-3 fatty acids make it a super food that helps fight heart-disease. American Heart Association recommends eating salmons at least twice a week. It also has other nutrients like iron and protein and has low calorie content (200 for 3 ounces). Other fish like tuna are also good alternatives to salmon.
One large kiwi can fulfill your daily vitamin C requirement. It is full of antioxidants, fiber and potassium. Other nutrients include vitamin A and E (rarely found in other fruits).