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SuperFoods

I’m all about making nutrition as simple as possible and one easy way to boost your nutrition is to simply add more of the good stuff! I’m sharing 4 of my favorite common superfoods that are probably already in your kitchen. You can easily incorporate into your favorite meals, snacks, or smoothies to boost the nutrition content.

Four Superfoods that are worthy of the esteemed superfood title.

                                                            No.1

Kale

Kale is an excellent source of folate, zinc, calcium, iron, magnesium, fiber, vitamin K, carotenoids, and anti-oxidants. Kale is a superfood because of its potential to lower the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Kale as well loaded with compounds that are believed to have protective effects against cancer. One of these is sulforaphane, a substance that has been shown to help fight the formation of cancer at the molecular level.

            

                                                     No.2

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Berries

Berries are a nutritional powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. Berries have a strong antioxidant capacity, that may help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and other inflammatory conditions. Berries are an excellent source of fiber, including soluble fiber. Studies have shown that consuming soluble fiber slows down the movement of food through your digestive tract, leading to reduced hunger and increased feelings of fullness.

Some of the most common berries include:

·        Raspberries

·        Strawberries

·        Blueberries

·        Blackberries

Whether you enjoy them as part of your breakfast, as a dessert, on a salad or in a smoothie, the health benefits of berries are as versatile as their culinary applications.

                                                              No. 3

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Eggs

Eggs remain one of the healthiest foods. Eggs are a very good source of inexpensive, high quality protein. Eggs are regarded a ”complete” source of protein as they contain all nine essential amino acids; the ones we cannot synthesize in our bodies and must obtain from our diet Eggs are rich sources of selenium, vitamin D, B6, B12 and minerals such as zinc, iron and copper. Egg yolks are a source of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and lecithin. Eggs also contain two potent antioxidants, zeaxanthin and lutein, which are known to protect vision and eye health.

                                                             No. 4

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Legumes

Legumes, or pulses, are a class of plant foods made up of beans, lentils, and peas. They earn the superfood label because they’re loaded with nutrients and play a role in preventing and managing various diseases. Legumes are a rich source of B vitamins, various minerals, and protein. Legumes are high in dietary fiber which helps to keep our bowels healthy. They are also a good source of soluble fiber which can help lower blood cholesterol levels. Legumes are a source of carbohydrate and have a low glycemic index (GI), which means they are broken down slowly, so you feel fuller for longer. This makes them a particularly good food for preventing and managing diabetes.

Examples of legumes include:

  • Split peas

  • Canalini beans

  • Kidney beans

  • Baked beans (navy beans)

  • Soybeans

  • Chickpeas

  • Four bean mix

  • Red, green or brown lentils

You can buy lentils in the grocery store either dry (which need to be soaked before cooking) or canned, just remember to drain and rinse before use.

Add It Up

Just small additions of health-boosting foods can make a big difference in how you feel and how your body is prepared to fuel you. Do you have any other favorite superfoods or extras you like to add in? Share ’em in the comments, I’d love to know!

By: Carol Aguirre MS, RD/LDN

Sources:

1.    Blekkenhorst LC, Sim M, Bondonno C. (2018). Cardiovascular Health Benefits of Specific Vegetable Types: A Narrative Review.

2.    Delcourt C, Carrière I, Delage M. (2006). Plasma lutein and zeaxanthin and other carotenoids as modifiable risk factors for age-related maculopathy and cataract: the POLA Study.

3.    Mudryj AN, Yu N, Aukema HM. (2014). Nutritional and health benefits of pulses.

4.    Rani Polak, Edward M. Phillips, and Amy Campbell. (2015). Legumes: Health Benefits and Culinary Approaches to Increase Intake

5.    Xavier AA, Pérez-Gálvez A. (2016). Carotenoids as a Source of Antioxidants in the Diet.