Did you know that certain foods act as medicine in the body? True story! Incorporating certain super foods into your diet on a regular basis can improve such things as heart health, cholesterol levels, joint health and insulin sensitivity, just to name a few! There are many foods out there that earn the title “super foods,” but here are nine of my favorites:
Green tea – Green tea is the rock star of all teas. Studies have shown countless benefits from regular consumption of the stuff including fat loss, decreased risk for cancer and decreased risk for dementia. Just be sure to look for organic green tea grown in Japan (not China) and that the tea itself looks green rather than brown.
Salmon – This protein-rich fish gets two fins way up for its high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are important for joint, eye and heart health, and some studies show they may decrease risk for depression and certain types of cancer, such as leukemia, prostate and breast cancers. Wild Alaskan salmon is best due to lower mercury levels.
Avocado – Isn’t it wonderful that a fruit this delicious is also super good for you? This bad boy is high in fiber, monounsaturated fats (which reduce inflammation) and more than 20 vitamins and minerals. In fact, the avocado has more potassium than bananas! Studies show avocados also improve cholesterol levels by lowering dangerous LDL levels and increasing the oh-so-important HDL levels.
Cinnamon – This spice is placed on a pedestal of awesomeness thanks to its incredible ability to increase insulin sensitivity. But that’s not all! Ayurveda and Chinese medicine practitioners have long believed in cinnamon’s ability to treat such issues as cramps, bronchitis and colds, and to improve energy, circulation and motor function in those living with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. Be sure to opt for the Ceylon over the Cassis variety.
Walnuts – When it comes to omega-3 content in nuts, walnuts take the number one spot. In fact, they are the only nut containing measurable amounts of the stuff. High five, walnuts!
Broccoli – Hey Popeye, did you know spinach isn’t your only option? With three grams of protein per cup, these miniature trees rank as one of the highest when it comes to protein in vegetables! Broccoli is also high in fiber, which helps prevent overeating, constipation, and helps draw out cholesterol from the body. It also contains a good amount of vitamin C, calcium and iron.
Spinach – Of all leafy greens, it’s tough to beat the awesome benefits of spinach. It’s high in protein, fiber and several vitamins and minerals, iron being one of them. Iron is especially important for us, ladies, to keep our energy up for that certain time of the month.
Pomegranate seeds and juice – For a one-two punch when it comes to warding off chronic inflammation and increasing blood flow, add these pretty red juice-filled seeds to salads or roasted vegetable dishes and add a generous splash of pomegranate juice to your green shakes.
Dark chocolate – Oh joy, chocolate made the list! It’s all thanks to its super antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, which help rid the body of free radicals. We don’t like free radicals because they cause diseases and increase the signs of aging. Just be sure to opt for dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa.