The Well

Tag: Nutrition

Food for Thought

by Andrew Shaw on Oct.11, 2009, under Archives

Over the last several years, certain foods have been increasingly recognized as being extremely beneficial for health and well-being.  Some foods are so packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, essential fatty acids and other beneficial substances that they’ve been deemed “superfoods”.  Superfoods have incredible health benefits; they are nutritionally rich foods that can help protect against cancer, heart disease and other illnesses, lower cholesterol, improve digestive health, uphold the immune system and increase energy.  They can even enhance mental health and reduce depression.  

The following is a partial list of superfoods that can really give you a boost, including fruits, vegetables, dairy, legumes, grains and fish. Of course it’s good to remember that the most important thing is a well-balanced diet.  These aren’t the only foods you should be eating.  But they can definitely augment your normal daily routine.  For more information, or if you have certain dietary restrictions because of health issues, you may want to consult with a Registered Dietitian.

Apples – The apple is high in Vitamin C and high in pectin, a soluble fiber which keeps the digestive system in good working order and helps to lower cholesterol.

Nuts – Nuts, like walnuts and almonds, are a good source of protein, heart-healthy fats, high fiber, and antioxidants.  Some contain selenium which help to protect the body against certain cancers, Alzheimer’s disease and depression.  Nuts help to reduce the risk of heart disease and can help to control our appetites. 

Whole Oats and Grains – The fiber in whole oats and grains keep the digestive system healthy and can lower cholesterol.  Whole grains provide iron, zinc, Vitamin E, and selenium to help control your weight and lower your risk for heart disease and diabetes. 

Beans – Beans are loaded with insoluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol, as well as soluble fiber, which fills you up and helps rid your body of waste. They’re also a good, low-fat source of protein, carbohydrates, magnesium, iron and potassium. Edamame (soybeans) also contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Tomatoes -  Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant which protects the body from prostate cancer and heart disease.

Tea – Both black tea and green tea are rich in antioxidants. An antioxidant in tea, catechin, helps to keep our arteries healthy and stops blood clots from forming.

Bananas – Bananas are high in potassium which is essential for healthy hair and skin and also helps to lower blood pressure.  Bananas are also high in antioxidants and are a great source of energy.

Yogurt – Yogurt contains active cultures known as “friendly bacteria” that restore healthy balance in the digestive system. Among the most well-known cultures is Lactobacillus Acidophilus, which helps the body fight off infection. Additionally, just one cup of yogurt contains 50% more calcium than the same size serving of milk.

Salmon -  Salmon is a super food because of its omega-3 fatty acid content. Studies show that omega-3 fatty acids help protect heart health. That’s why the American Heart Association recommends eating fatty fish like salmon twice weekly. Salmon is relatively low in calories, has lots of protein, is a good source of iron, and is very low in saturated fat.  Eating omega-3 oils regularly may also help to prevent dementia and depression.

Broccoli – This vegetable is high in folic acid, which is thought to lower the risk of heart disease, and phytochemicals, which help to prevent cancer. Broccoli also contains the antioxidants Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and lutein and can protect your cells from the damage of free radicals, enhance immune system function and improve reproductive health.

Blueberries – Packed with antioxidants, these berries are also high in potassium and Vitamin C. Not only can they lower your risk of heart disease and cancer, they are also anti-inflammatory.

Stay tuned… more superfood lists to come throughout the year!

Be Well

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