Full of nutritious value, disease fighting properties, and healthy qualities – superfoods have many potential benefits when we incorporate them into our diets. Optimize your health by incorporating them into your daily routine:
Flax Seeds: One of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids, flax is also a fantastic source of calcium and magnesium. Regular consumption of flax improves cognitive function, soothes mental/ emotional imbalances and nourishes the skin, hair and nails to make them healthy and strong. Flax is also one of the richest sources of lignans, which are phytochemicals that have cancer-protecting qualities.
*Ingest 2-3 tablespoons of GROUND flax seed per day is what you need to to reap the most benefits. The most cost effective way to keep it in your home is to buy it in bulk; grind enough for a week’s use, and keepstore it in the fridge to keep it fresh.
Oats: Eating oatmeal for breakfast can greatly reduce your cholesterol levels and balance out your blood sugar levels (extremely beneficial for anyone with heart disease or diabetes). Due to it’s selenium and antioxidant content, oats are helpful in fighting cancer.
Pumpkin Seeds: Your daily dose of iron can be found in just a quarter cup of these seeds, which will help you sustain energy throughout the day. Even though they’re just small in size, pumpkin seeds hold high levels of memory preserving vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, and tryptophan (known to ease depressive feelings).
Red Bell Peppers: Did you know that a medium red bell pepper has more than twice the amount of vitamin C than one orange? Not only do they pack in the immune-boosting vitamin C, but they are a rich source of beta-carotene (protection for the heart and eyes).
Raspberries: Full-blown with powerful antioxidants, raspberries chomp through free radicals in your body to protect against cancer and premature aging. Just one cup delivers one third of your daily fiber for the day!
Lentils: These legumes are virtually fat-free and they rank high on the protein scale, making them a key player in weigh loss/management. They’re a big help to building healthy bones, and are an integral part of a healthy eating regime – packing 30% more folate than spinach and double the fibre content of an apple!
Olive Oil: It’s considered a heart-healthy fat that lowers “bad” cholesterol. Along with vitamin E and iron, olive oil contains a phytochemical with natural anti-inflammatory actions, that is helpful in reducing the pain of arthritis, aching joints and muscles. Some research even suggests that it may protect against developing arthritis, Alzheimers and certain cancers.
*It’s most beneficial to use it uncooked: drizzle it on salads, vegetables, or grains.
Cabbage: This vegetable is a favourite for healthy weight loss/maintenance programs because of it’s low caloric intake (20-25 calories/cup), immunity boosting and cancer fighting properties, and the fact that it contains more vitamin C than a tangerine!
Dried Apricots: Grab a handful of dried apricots, and you’ll get a heavy hit of potassium, fibre, and 20% of your daily recommendation of iron. Dried apricots contain high levels of beta-carotene – an antioxidant that protects our DNA and prevents subtle mutations that lead to disease. An extra bonus is that there are only 77 calories in 9 pieces, and you’ll get a hit of fast energy when consumed.
Cinnamon: Cinnamon has been shown to lower blood sugar levels, both preventing and managing diabetes. By sprinkling a half teaspoon on yogurt, apples, toast or oatmeal, cinnamon helps with appetite control and prevents against weight gain. It also revs up your metabolism, making it even easier to torch stored fat.
Eggs: Calorie for calorie, eggs contain more protein than any other food (even beef!). The yolk is full of essential vitamin D (challenging to find in our daily diet) and choline, which boosts brain functioning.
Encourage yourself to be inventive and have fun as you incorporate these foods into your diet for enhanced overall health and vitality! Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Nature’s Super-Foods series to see what other foods we include into the mix!