Eat Better By Adding These Culinary Heroes To Your Plate
After years of superhero movies, you might be tired of the genre. But today, in the real world, we need some real heroes with nutritional superpowers in our daily fight to eat healthy meals. Enter superfoods. And, in a time when our bodies are under assault, because of viruses and quarantine-induced inactivity, we need these heroes to help us more than ever.
What Are Superfoods?
Oxford defines superfood as “a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.” While there is no official or universally accepted list of superfoods, they generally are plant-based foods with a very high nutritional density—but few calories. Superfoods typically include a high volume of minerals, vitamins, and/or antioxidants.
Sometimes a main ingredient and sometimes an add-on or spice, all superfoods play an important role in protecting your health.
Here are a few of the top superfoods to add (or add more of) to your diet:
- Beets – Beets can help reduce hypertension and anemia, and improve circulation and cognitive function.
- Berries – Blueberries, raspberries, and other berries can fight heart disease and hypertension, cancer, diabetes, high cholesterol, inflammation, and more.
- Butternut Squash – This cooler-weather favorite has been linked to a reduced risk of certain cancers, the preservation of cognitive function in the elderly, and a reduced risk of heart disease.
- Cauliflower – The glucosinolates in cauliflower may prevent cancer because they protect cells from damage and have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial effects.
- Chia Seeds – High in omega-3 fatty acids, chia seeds promote cardiovascular health by lowering cholesterol, regulating heart rhythms and blood pressure, preventing blood clots, and decreasing inflammation.
- Kimchi – The gut-healthy bacteria in this fermented South Korean staple lowers cholesterol, improves mental health, and is good for your skin.
- Leafy Greens – This group—which includes mustard greens, kale, and Swiss chard—is packed with nutrients (including antioxidants) to defend against immune deficiency, cancer, respiratory disease, heart disease, arthritis, and more.
- Grapes/Wine – The naturally occurring resveratrol in the skins of red grapes (and in red wine) that has been linked to improved heart health, protection against diabetic neuropathy and retinopathy, and aiding in treating for Alzheimer’s disease.
- Sorghum – This (gluten free) grain is rich in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and protein—so it promotes digestive health, fights cardiovascular disease, and aids in blood sugar control.
- Walnuts – Rich in rich in omega-3 fatty acids, alpha-linoleic acid, fiber, and antioxidants, these nuts promote gut health, support weight loss, decrease inflammation, and may reduce the risk of hypertension and some cancers.
Want even more? A few other superfoods for your consideration include sardines and salmon (both loaded with omega-3 fatty acids), brewed tea (not from a can or bottle, and know that different types of teas have different superfood strengths), and dark chocolate (or cacao nibs to avoid the extra sugar), which studies indicate may help reduce heart disease and diabetes risk, boost immune health, and much more.
Looking to spice things up with superfoods? Try these superfood spices:
- Garlic has anti-bacterial properties, improves immunity and heart health, lowers cholesterol, and may prevent certain cancers. To maximize these benefits, use it in its raw form whenever possible.
- Ginger has an impressive long list of benefits, from soothing your stomach to lowering your cancer risk. It might even fight the common cold.
- Long used as a medicinal herb in India, turmeric dramatically increases the body’s antioxidant capacity, is an anti-inflammatory and lowers your heart disease risk, and is linked to brain health and cancer fighting.
Superfood Super Combos
If you really want the benefits of a superfood-enhanced diet, don’t focus on just one or two of the above—add as many superfoods as you can for a well-rounded and healthy diet. And for even more of a boost, look for recipes that combine multiple superfood ingredients. That way, you’ll be eating well and feeling like a superhero.
The Pickled Beet incorporates various superfoods into many recipes for our Miami clients who want healthy and flavorful dishes. We work with individuals, couples, and families to provide meals that best fuel the body—no matter what nutritional requirements might be part of the equation. Contact us for a free consultation.