8 Superfoods to Live a Healthier Life
It is no secret that fruits and vegetables are vital staples of the human diet. Filled with loads of natural vitamins and packed with essential antioxidants, superfoods are a key to feeling lively and energetic. Here’s the scoop on the best natural greens (and reds, blues and oranges) that will have you on your way to a life full of longevity!
Broccoli is an excellent source of soluble fiber, which in turn helps to lower cholesterol by reducing its absorption into the intestines. This delicious green also contains enzymes that reduce the risk of developing cancer. In general, broccoli is a go-to vegetable that will detoxify your system while providing vital nutrients, including potassium, calcium, and protein.
Packed with protein and potassium, spinach is a great nutrient for individuals who have adopted vegetarian and vegan diets. In one bunch (340 grams), there is a whopping 10 grams of protein. Its leafy nature causes it to wilt as it is cooked, making it easy to consume large amounts of nutrients without even trying!
The vibrant red color of tomatoes can be attributed to the antioxidant compound found within called lycopene. This wonder nutrient is credited for lowering risks of specific cancers (especially that of the prostate and stomach) and serves as a natural barrier against harmful UV rays. So load up on tomatoes before summer in order to naturally protect your skin from the sun and to prevent skin from aging.
Though small in size, blueberries are full of dietary fiber and a superior source of manganese, which helps to convert proteins, carbs and fats into useful energy. At 80 calories per cup, blueberries make a great pre-workout snack that will sustain you throughout your workout while keeping your heart healthy.
Like all citrus fruits, tangerines are an excellent source of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that serves anti-viral, anti-cancer, wound healing, and collagen stimulating purposes within the body. Further, tangerines make a delicious sweet snack that simultaneously fight off disease!
Does an apple a day truly keep the doctor away? Well this is not for certain, apples surely measure up on the list of beneficial fruits. Apples, like other fruits and vegetables discussed, are high in soluble fiber, which is great for your body for multiple reasons. Fiber is known to reduce cholesterol and keep you full for longer, helpful when trying to control your weight. Chewing apples also stimulates saliva production, which prevents tooth decay!
Like tomatoes, strawberries contain antioxidants that promote healthy eyes by decreasing the amount of free radicals (which cause macular degeneration and degeneration of the optic nerves). Strawberries are also filled with natural anti-inflammatories, that help reduce arthritis and gout! Helpful tip: When purchasing strawberries, always try to buy an organic variety. Their permeable skin easily soaks up non-organic pesticides that contain harmful chemicals. No good.
Avocados are without a doubt a delicious (and nutritious) addition to essentially any dish. Whether in the form of guacamole, popped inside an omelet, atop enchiladas, or just on its own, avocados provide essential nutrients and satisfy creamy cravings all at once! They are high in healthy fatty acids that a responsible for reducing blood pressure, much like the effects of olive oil. In addition, the creamy texture and taste of avocados promotes satiety, which keeps you satisfied and fuller for longer.
Sources: Cancer.org, American Cancer Society, Nutrition Journal, WHFoods.org