Superfoods are foods that offer maximum nutritional benefits for minimal calories. These foods are usually packed with vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, and antioxidants. Over the years, research has clearly shown that healthy diets can reduce the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and many other diseases. This makes it important to know some of the superfoods, their health benefits, and why you should eat them. Here are the top 10 superfoods to add to your diet.
Blueberries are always at the top when talking about superfoods. Blueberries are rich in fiber, antioxidants, and are low in calories. According to a study, they can help fight against cancer-causing free radicals. Blueberries also have a high number of anthocyanin pigments, which not only gives them their rich color but also acts as effective antioxidants. These antioxidants lower the risk of diabetes, heart disease and degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease.
Broccoli is one of nature's most nutrient-filled foods. Raw broccoli contains almost 90 percent water, 7 percent carbs, 3 percent protein, and almost no fat at all. Broccoli is very low in calories and provides only 31 calories per cap. Eating broccoli can help reduce snacking due to its hunger-curbing fiber and polyphenol antioxidants. This superfood's fiber and antioxidants can help detoxify damaging chemicals in your body.
Salmon is one of the most heart-healthy foods. According to research, eating salmon can help lower the risk of heart disease. Salmon usually contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are known for decreasing inflammation and slowing the rate of plaque buildup in the arteries. Mostly, plaque buildup in the arteries leads to high blood pressure and eventual heart disease. Omega-3s are a good source of lean protein.
4. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds usually supply significant amounts of plant protein and can help regulate weight. For instance, almonds are good for the heart, cashews are good for cognition, Brazil nuts are good for preventing cancer. According to a recent study (conducted in 2018), nuts and seeds usually lower the risk of weight gain and obesity. Moreover, walnuts provide added benefits because they are rich in antioxidant power that helps to prevent diseases like cancers.
All these nuts are also a good source of fat, fiber, and protein. Seeds, such as flaxseeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds are easy to incorporate in your daily diet and are packed with vitamins and minerals.
5. Legumes and Tomatoes
Legumes include black, red, garbanzo beans, as well as soybeans and peas. Legumes are a great source of fiber, folate, and plant-based proteins. Research shows that they can help reduce the risk of heart disease. You can add them to salads, soups, and casseroles. You can also make a chili or a bean-based spread like hummus.
On the other hand, tomatoes are rich in vitamin C and lycopene, which are known for reducing the risk of prostate cancer. You can try tomatoes in a salad or tomato sauce. You may also put them in stews, soups, or chili.
Avocado is a fruit that is rich in flavor and texture. This fruit has a large amount of fiber, minerals, vitamins, and healthy fats that are needed in the body. Avocado also contains monounsaturated fats that are important for reducing inflammation.
Besides reducing inflammation, avocado can also help to reduce the risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and certain cancers. This fruit contains magnesium, which helps to regulate blood pressure and blood sugar. You can add this fruit to burgers, eggs, sandwiches, or make an avocado toast.
7. Green Leafy Vegetables
Leafy greens are a must have for every superfood list. Vegetables, such as spinach, kale, chard, arugula, and collard greens are usually high in fiber, carotenoids, and phytochemicals. These constituents of vegetables can help decrease the number of free radicals in the body. According to the American Institute of Cancer Research, reducing the amount of free radicals in the body can help prevent colorectal cancer. Vegetables also contain vitamin A and C and help to reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
You can eat vegetables raw or cooked. You can also make them into a salad, add them to soups, or even blend them into smoothies.
Garlic is a well-known culinary ingredient due to its distinct flavor. Garlic is a good source of manganese, vitamin C, vitamin B6, selenium, and fiber. Garlic is also effective in reducing cholesterol, blood pressure, and supports immune function of the body. Additionally, sulfur-containing compounds in garlic may even play a role in the prevention of certain types of cancer. You can add some garlic to your meal for flavor, but always remember that it carries great benefits for your body.
Although eggs have high cholesterol content, their significance in the body cannot be ruled out. Whole eggs are usually rich in nutrients such as B vitamins, choline, selenium, vitamin A, iron, and phosphorus. Eggs also contain proteins, potent antioxidants, zeaxanthin and lutein, which are known for protecting vision and eye health. Eating eggs can also increase the level of good cholesterol in the body for some people, which leads to a favorable reduction of heart disease risk.
10. Edible Bird's Nest
Bird's nest is very nutritious when prepared in its most popular form, bird's nest soup. It contains a series of hormones, two of which are very familiar to humans: testosterone and estradiol, whose benefits include virility, better skin, stronger pregnancies, and healthier babies.
After research by nutrition specialists, it was also found that bird’s nests have more benefits, such as boosting the human body's immune system. For instance, when cancer patients undergo chemotherapy, both good and bad cells are usually killed in the body. B cells are some of the good cells that are killed by chemotherapy. Research shows that the Edible bird's nest contains a protein that accelerates the formation of B cells, which in return boosts your immune system.
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