We all need to eat to stay alive. But, aside from simple survival, what you eat has a lot to do with your quality of life, too.
True, you can live on some pretty nutritionally vacuous stuff, at least for a while, but will your body really be operating at full potential? Not likely. So, why not supercharge your diet with superfoods?
What’s a Superfood?
A superfood is a food that is a cut above the rest, nutritionally speaking. These dietary powerhouses are packed with amazing amounts of the nutrients your body needs to function at its best. Superfoods are also commonly thought of a foods that are powerful antioxidants.
Let’s take a look at some of these health dynamos, and what makes each one so fantastic, shall we?
Hooray for Berries!
Berries, such as blueberries and cranberries are chock full of phytonutrients, antioxidants, water, and fiber. They satiate those with a sweet tooth, and give active folks long-lasting energy.
Berries are great because they’re easy to work into your diet. After all, who can turn down a bowl of fresh blueberries (which have extraordinary antioxidant qualities)? Add them to your cereal, mix them in with yogurt, or take a bag of dried berries on a hike. They’re a quick, easy snack that you can feel good about.
What the KALE?
This leafy green is rich in calcium, lutein, iron, beta-carotene, and Vitamins A, C, and K. Kale also has a multitude of phytochemicals, which aid in protecting this body from diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and hypertension (all the leading causes of death in the U.S.). Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities are a result of the 45+ unique flavonoids found in kale.
Not so hot on the flavor, or the amount of time it takes to munch on this hearty veggie? Try juicing it with other tasty fruits and vegetables and enjoy the benefits.
Quinoa has been gaining popularity by leaps and bounds lately, and it’s easy to see why. This Peruvian staple is shockingly protein-dense for a grain, and contains healthy doses of magnesium, calcium, iron, and dietary fiber, as well.
Buff Up With Beans
Some folks might not know it, but nutritionally, beans make an excellent stand-in for meat. They’re packed with protein, and they help lower cholesterol levels, due to their fiber content. There is a wide variety of beans, from edamame to lentils, so they’re easy to work into many different types of recipes. Beans are a great way to feed your muscles if you’re not so into animal proteins.
Running With the Salmon
This determined fish swims upriver every year, and eating it can help you keep going, too. It’s lean, rich in protein, and full of omega-3 fatty acids. Research has shown that omega-3s help lower triglyceride levels, reducing cardiovascular risks. They also may encourage the body to metabolize fat more quickly, so take note if you’re looking to slim down.
[Photo Credit: health.usnews]