If you want to get the most nutritional bang for your buck, the best deals are “superfoods.”
These nutritional superstars are far more plentiful in nutrients than they are in calories and that research has shown deliver health benefits.
The truth is, no one food can single-handedly improve a poor diet or stave off chronic illness. Physicians and nutrition experts agree that eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables is key to good health. It’s also important to limit sodium, saturated fat, and refined sugar.
But certain foods do provide greater health benefits than most. We refer to them as “superfoods.” Add these nutrient-packed nibbles to your diet to make the most of your menu.
You’re probably already eating a lot of everyday superfoods—like bananas, eggs and broccoli—and maybe even some exotic ones (acai, anyone?).
But what about the power-packed foods filled with good-for-you vitamins, minerals and disease-fighting phytochemicals you aren’t eating? Here are 7 of the healthiest foods that you should be eating but probably aren’t (or at least aren’t getting enough of).
On top of delivering a raft of cancer-fighting antioxidants, kale is one of the vegetable world’s top sources of vitamin A, which promotes eye and skin health and may help strengthen the immune system. It’s a good source of heart-healthy fiber and a 1-cup serving has almost as much vitamin C as an orange. What’s not to love?
Sardines are one of the best sources of heart-healthy, mood-boosting omega-3 fats, and they’re packed with vitamin D. And because sardines are small and low on the food chain, they don’t harbor lots of toxins as bigger fish can.
3. Raw nuts
When eaten in moderation, raw nuts are a great addition to your diet. Raw almonds, walnuts, cashews, and other nuts provide a hearty dose of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. They’re also loaded with vitamins and minerals, such as iron, magnesium, and calcium. Nuts may help lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes, especially when you use them as a protein substitute for red meat. Choose unsalted nuts to avoid eating too much sodium.
Oatmeal has 4 grams of fiber per cup and research suggests that increasing your intake of soluble fiber (a type found in oatmeal) by 5 to 10 grams each day could result in a 5 percent drop in “bad” LDL cholesterol. Also, according to a study in the Journal of Nutrition, eating a breakfast made with “slow-release” carbohydrates, such as oatmeal, three hours before you exercise may help you burn more fat. Here’s why: in the study, eating “slow-release” carbohydrates didn’t spike blood sugar as high as eating refined carbohydrates, such as white toast. In turn, insulin levels didn’t spike as high, and because insulin plays a role in signaling your body to store fat, having lower levels may help you burn fat.
Quinoa is a delicately flavoured whole grain packed with fiber and protein and, to top it off, it only takes 15 to 20 minutes to cook. That combination of fiber and protein has an extra value too: research shows that the two together can help you feel full for longer.
Fresh, leafy green vegetables are usually more flavorful and vitamin-rich than canned or frozen varieties. Broccoli is also among the healthiest. It contains vitamins A and C, and folic acid. Like other cruciferous veggies, it also contains a cancer-fighting agent called sulforaphane.A study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention highlights the potential cancer-fighting benefits of broccoli. People with bladder cancer who ate more broccoli were more likely to survive the eight-year follow-up period than people who ate less.
Lentils are a versatile, budget-friendly and healthy addition to many dinner recipes. A half-cup of cooked lentils contains over 9 grams of protein and a jaw-dropping 8 grams of dietary fiber. Lentils are also a good source of iron and an excellent source of folate.