There are more than 10 amazing foods, however this particular list below provides foods that may help to prevent disease such as diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis. Healthy weight loss or weight maintenance can be achieved by eating these foods. Super foods are jam-packed with health promoting nutrients!
1. Dark Green Vegetables such as Spinach, Broccoli and Kale
These foods are packed full of nutrition. Green vegetables contain phytochemicals, which are suggested to assist in the prevention of cancer and boost your immune system. Green veggies are packed with vitamins A, C, and K, folate, potassium, magnesium and iron. Eat these vegetables raw, steamed, stir-fried, roasted or grilled.
2. Legumes and Lentils
Beans are low in fat (except for soybeans), calories, and sodium, but high in complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber, and they offer modest amounts of essential fatty acids—mostly Omega-6s. They are also an excellent source of protein. Legumes and lentils offer ample fiber (one cup of cooked beans can provide as much as 15 grams of dietary fiber, more than half the recommended “daily value” of 25 grams and are released into the bloodstream slowly, providing energy and fullness for a sustained period. Beans can be added to salads, pureed and served as a dip or added to soup and chili.
3. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts have gotten a bad rap because of their high fat content. But their protein, heart-healthy Omega-3 fats, high fiber, and antioxidant content earn them a place on the top 10 list. The key to enjoying nuts is portion control. A closed fist handful is approximately 100 calories. Nuts add texture and flavor to salads, side dishes, baked goods, cereals, and entrees. They also make a delicious snack on their own.
Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries: You name it, they’ve got it. These colorful fruits are loaded with antioxidants, phytonutrients, low in calories, and high in water and fiber to help control blood sugar and keep you full longer. Blueberries lead the pack because they are among the best source of antioxidants. Most of these berries are available fresh, frozen or dried and can add flavor and nutrition to salads, cereals, baked goods and yogurt.
5. Wild Salmon
Salmon and other cold-water fish (e.g. tuna, mackerel and halibut) contain oils that are rich in Omega-3. This “good fat” will protect your arteries against plaque buildup and is effective in lowering the “bad” cholesterol. Omega 3’s have also been suggested to assist with brain function and reduced inflammation in people with arthritis.
6. Sweet Potatoes or Yams
A healthier alternative to the white potato, yams are filled with carotenes that may help with the prevention of some cancers and reduce the risk of heart disease. They’re also loaded with vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Sweet potatoes make a great side dish or fully loaded with the works. Baked, boiled, mashed or roasted, they’re all nutritious and delicious.
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) provides a wide range of vitamins and minerals. This super grain seed contains more protein than most cereal grains and is considered a complete protein because it contains all eight of the essential amino acids we need for tissue development. Quinoa is higher in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese, and zinc, and lower in sodium compared with wheat, barley and corn. This gluten-free grain also receives recognition for being low in saturated fat. Quinoa is as easy to prepare and can be eaten alone or mixed with vegetables, nuts, or lean protein for a whole-grain medley.
Studies are investigating its role in lowering blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes, most likely due to the insulin-like effects of its polyphenols (natural substances found in plants). It’s still too early to know if cinnamon can help curb blood sugars, but with studies suggesting its effects can be seen with a daily dose of just half a teaspoon it’s worth keeping this spice in mind when reaching into the spice cabinet. Sprinkle cinnamon on toast, add to oatmeal or use in desserts.
9. Canola and Olive Oil
Cooking with heart healthy oils is the way to go. Olive oil is an excellent source of monounsaturated fats and canola oil high in Omega-3 fats – both suggested to assist in the prevention of heart disease. A small amount goes a long way in keeping you healthy. Make your own salad dressing with canola or olive oil. Add balsamic, rice wine or other vinegars. Flavor with lemon juice, dry or Dijon mustard, garlic and herbs.
Research shows that soy contains plant substances called isoflavones that help to protect against heart disease, cancer and osteoporosis. This bean is an excellent source of protein and contains little to no cholesterol or saturated fat. It’s a great meatless option to add to your meals. Add tofu cubes to soups and casseroles. Enjoy a handful of roasted soy nuts. Sip a smoothie made with vanilla soy beverage.