The food we eat can impact our bodies in many different ways. Superfoods are those unique foods that benefit our health in more ways than one. They contain a myriad of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and more. See why the foods below are a great addition to your diet.
1. Chia Seeds- These tiny black seeds are loaded with antioxidants which inhibit free radical production. In addition, chia seeds are 40% fiber. Eating more fiber can help you feel more full and aid in digestion. Chia seeds also contain a high level of protein from a vegetable source. Fiber and protein combined can help to aid in weight loss, adding to the list of benefits from this superfood. A study where patients were given chia seed showed lowered blood pressure and improvements with type 2 diabetes.
2. Açai– This superfood is one of the many berries that made this list. It has been said to improve skin and have anti-aging affects. Just like chia seeds, it is full of antioxidants that can prevent the production of cancer causing free radicals. Research has shown compounds extracted from açai reduced the proliferation of cancer cells by up to 86%.
3. Apples– We’ve all heard the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” and there might be a reason behind it. They contain the antioxident quercetin that might reduce lung cancer. It’s also great for exercising because quercetin helps supply the lungs with more oxygen. In a long-term, study apples were found to lower risk of death from heart disease and cardiovascular disease.
4. Asparagus– This vegetable is rich in vitamin K, which build strong bones and prevents blood clotting. Asparagus can also detoxify the liver, and some say this might help cure the common hangover.
5. Avocados– As a healthy source of fat, avocados can improve your cholesterol by increasing HDL and decreasing triglycerides. They’re also packed with nutrients and cancer preventing glutathione. Studies have shown that avocados inhibit prostate cancer and not only kill oral cancer cells, but also prevent pre-cancerous cells from developing. Avocados are also loaded with potassium which has been shown to prevent strokes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
6. Bananas– Another potassium rich fruit is the banana. They are an excellent pre-bedtime food due to their high levels of tryptophan, which boosts the body’s serotonin for a better night’s sleep.
7. Barley– This grain is an excellent source of fiber and has anti-cancer effects. It can also have added benefits for your skin and help with acne.
8. Black Beans– These little beans are packed with antioxidants, protein, and fiber. This leads to balanced blood pressure, a healthy heart, and lower risk of cancer.
9. Blackberries– This dark berry is great for improving memory and can even have anti-aging benefits. They are high in vitamin C, which is good for your immune system and your skin.
10. Black Garlic– This form of garlic has been shown to inhibit cholesterol biosynthesis. Black garlic can benefit your your heart and fight cancer with the sulfuric compounds.
11. Blueberries– Another dark berry on our list is the blueberry. They are antioxidant rich like most superfoods. These berries also contain phytonutrients, which help your own body’s cells better communicate to one another. The benefit of this is it prevent the growth of cancer cells.
12. Bok Choy– A lot of leafy greens made this superfoods list. Bok Choy is one that is high in vitamin A, C, K, and multiple B vitamins. These vitamins are important for vision, the immune system, calcium absorption, and other important brain and body functions.
13. Brazil Nuts– The antioxidant selenium is found in brazil nuts and it benefits the thyroid, metabolism, the immune system, and cholesterol levels. Selenium also helps boost testosterone levels in men and prevent against breast cancer in women.
14. Broccoli Sprouts– One of the phytochemicals found in broccoli sprouts is sulforaphane. It’s making headlines for preventing cancer and treating autism.
15. Brown Rice– With 88% of the daily value of manganese, brown rich is helps to fight free radicals. Research shows swapping white rice for brown may lower the risk of diabetes. It also contain beneficial selenium, like the brazil nuts we mentioned above.
16. Brussels Sprouts– It may not be the most popular vegetable, but it does still count as a superfood. It has more than the recommended daily amount (RDA) of vitamin K1 and C. A study found that consuming brussels sprouts on a regular basis is likely to reduce cancer risk.
17. Cauliflower– This cruciferous vegetable contains glucosinolates, which may lower the risk of certain cancers. This brain-looking food may actually protect your brain from a stroke as well.
18. Cocoa Powder– We all love hearing chocolate is good for us. Cocoa powder, in it’s less processed form certainly is. It can improve blood flow to the
19. Collard Greens– Dark leafy greens are excellent superfoods to add to your diet. Collard greens lowered cholesterol levels 13% better than a prescription designed to treat high cholesterol. This was when the greens were steamed, to retain most of the nutrients.
20. Tart Cherries– This stone fruit is an excellent superfood for runners and athletes due to the anthocyanins which aid in muscle recovery after exercise. In addition, the melatonin in cherries can help regulate sleep.
21. Edamame– This green soy beans are full of both fiber and protein mixed with beneficial antioxidants. These properties contribute to improved cholesterol and lower risk of heart disease.
22. Eggs– Eggs are nutrient dense and a source of protein as well as antioxidants. Perhaps the most beneficial nutrients from eggs are selenium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and choline. Vitamin D is something most Americans are deficient in. Vitamin D deficiency leads to numerous health problems. As little as two eggs a day provides nearly half of the daily requirement. Choline is an essential nutrient that play a key role in liver function.
23. Flaxseed– These first were deemed a superfood due to the omega-3 fatty acids they contain. Those are heart healthy good fats our bodies need. They also fight of cancer causing free radical with their antioxidants, as well as with phytonutrients called lignans.
24. Goji Berries– These berries popular in Asia contain amino acids and a significant amount of protein in just a tablespoon. One study on goji berry juice found participants reported higher energy levels and improved mood.
25. Greek Yogurt– A favorite of mine on the list, Greek yogurt boasts double the protein of traditional yogurt. It is generally lower in sugar content as well. It’s high in calcium and contains probiotics, which boost your immunity and can ease irritable bowel syndrome.
26. Kale– You knew kale would make it to this list. Perhaps touted as the most superior of superfoods (although that remains to be seen) kale is full of antioxidants that you’d expect in a dark leafy green. It has one of the highest ORAC ratings, which means it is excellent at eliminating free radicals. This cruciferous vegetable is dense in nutrients. It has an astonishing 900% of the RDA of vitamin K and 659% of vitamin A. It also has more iron per ounce than red meat. Kale can also help to prevent urinary tract infections with it’s high levels of beta-carotene.
27. Kefir– Like Greek yogurt, kefir’s probiotics helped to get it on this superfoods list. However, this fermented milk contains three times the amount of probiotics you’ll find in regular yogurt. It’s also got about 10 grams of protein per serving.
28. Kiwi– This tiny tart fruit has the antioxidants you’ll find in other superfoods, but it also has a bit more. The seeds in kiwi fruit contain both omega-3 fatty acids and alpha-linoleic acids that contribute to healthy joints and a healthy heart. You may also stand to gain more sleep from eating a kiwi a day, as one study found to be the case.
29. Lentils– These tiny legumes contain more protein than beef. In addition, they are high in iron, which makes them a great meat alternative. Lentils are low glycemic whole grains, and evidence suggests this may lead to weight loss. Lentils have also been shown to reduce inflammation, which could help reduce instances of heart disease and cancer.
30. Mangosteen– This fruit is lesser known than some of the other superfoods we’ve mentioned, but it’s still just as super. Mangosteen contains antioxidants called xanthones which research has shown inhibits tumor growth, acting as a natural chemopreventive. Mangosteen also has memory improving capabilities, helps rain function, and it fights acne.
31. Mustard Greens– Another leafy green that made the list, are also high in vitamin K. By eating these greens you can help give your bones more strength.
32. Nutritional Yeast– I’ve been a fan of nutritional yeast for a while, and it’s certainly not something to be afraid of. A whopping 24 grams of protein are found in just 1/4 cup of this golden yeast. It also contains a third of our RDA of fiber in that same amount. Nutritional yeast is also a good source of B vitamins, particularly B12, which can only be found otherwise in animal products. It’s a great addition to any vegan or vegetarian’s diet. It commonly comes in flake form, so it’s easy to sprinkle onto foods and gives a cheesy taste on nearly anything, as well as the benefits of it’s antioxidants.
33. Olives– Olives contain healthy fats which are good for your cholesterol. This monounsaturated fat can also contribute to weight loss. The fatty acids in olives are great for the skin and hair. You’ll also reap the benefits of olive’s antioxidants and vitamin E. These can help prevent cancer with the removal of free radicals. Olives also contribute to the iron and fiber needed in your diet.
35. Peanut Butter– Thanks to the omega-3 fatty acids, peanut butter (and other nut butters) make the superfoods list. Those fatty acids can fight heart disease. It’s a good source of protein and can provide need energy throughout the day when consumed in small portions.
36. Prunes– I’ve always liked prunes, although I was never a fan of plums, their juicier parent. Prunes are known for their laxative properties, and this is due to their high fiber content. The potassium in prunes will also do go for your body by potentially lowering blood pressure and fighting free radicals. Even more impressive is a study found prunes could revere osteoporosis.
37. Pumpkin– Pumpkin makes it way into dishes mostly in the fall, but this superfood should get more credit than just a pie. Their characteristically orange color is due to their beta-carotene content, which can prevent pre-cancerous lesions in the mouth and help sunburn. Dig further into the orange flesh and you’ll find the true superstar of this superfood, the seeds. Loaded with magnesium, potassium, protein, and zinc, pumpkin seeds can prevent enlargement of the prostate, bladder stones, and depression. They may also lower cholesterol and prevent cancer.
38. Red Grapes– This color of grape contains the highest level of antioxidants. Dark colored grapes also contain certain phytochemicals that are beneficial to the immune system. You’ll also find resveratrol, which has been shown to decrease tumor growth, prevent high blood pressure, protect against heart disease, and may be helpful in preventing alzheimer’s.
39. Seaweed– A member of the algae family, seaweed is a great source of iodine, which just isn’t found in most foods. It’s crucial to a healthy thyroid, which affects your body’s hormones. Seaweeds are high in antioxidants which are excellent at eliminating free radials. Seaweed also contains an even balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which is the recommended ratio of the World Health Organization to prevent cardiovascular disease.
40. Salmon– As a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, wild salmon is an excellent superfood to include in your diet. The DHA found in salmon has been shown to boost brain power. Salmon is also an easily digestible protein with no carcinogenic concerns, like red meat.
41. Sardines– Although tiny, these small fish are an excellent source of calcium, due to their edible bones. Just like with salmon, you’ll find omega-3’s in sardines. Those fatty acids are good for your brain, heart health, combat depression, and more.
42. Shiitake Mushrooms– Mushrooms are a very versatile food that deserves it’s spot in the top 50 superfoods. These fungi provide protein and fiber to your diet. You’ll also receive 35 IU of vitamin D in one serving of shiitakes. Sufficient levels of vitamin D can greatly reduce the risk of certain cancers, heart attacks, and other diseases. Shiitake mushrooms contain eritadenine, a compound know to lower cholesterol. Shiitakes themselves have been show to lower cholesterol levels. The have also be found to be beneficial in treating cancer.
43. Spinach– The last of the dark leafy greens on this list is spinach. Eating spinach has been proven to be beneficial to eye health, due to it’s high level of vitamin A. Don’t underestimate these leaves just, they contain 12% of the RDA of calcium. Eating spinach, and other green vegetables, has been found to maintain healthy bones. Studies also suggest that spinach can prevent the development of tumors.
44. Steel Cut Oats– You may have seen the label on a package of oats stating they are good for heart health. This is because of a soluble fiber oats contain, beta glucan, shown to lower cholesterol, thus decreasing the risk of heart disease. Many of the antioxidants in steel cut oats will also add to the heart benefits.
45. Strawberries– Berries are no stranger to the superfoods list, and of course that includes strawberries. This red berry has more vitamin C than an orange, which has anti-inflammatory properties. Eating strawberries has also be linked to lower cholesterol levels.
46. Sweet Potatoes– Like other orange foods, you’ll find a significant amount of beta-carotene in this root vegetable. Sweet potatoes are also high in vitamin A, which is great for the eyes. One study also linked sweet potatoes to decreased risk of kidney disease.
47. Tea– The only beverage on the list, tea can lower blood pressure, prevent cancer, and promote strong bones. Green tea in particular is likely to help control body weight and protect from the sun’s UV rays.
48. Tomatoes– High in lycopene, tomatoes are a cancer fighting food. It seems their lycopene combined with other compounds in this fruit makes it so. Processed tomatoes are actually likely to have far more lycopene than in their natural state.
49. Walnuts– This nut contains omega-3’s, which are great for your brain’s health and may slow the onset of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Walnuts also contain vitamin E and have been shown to reduce the risk of heart attack by as much as 51%.
50. Wheat Germ– This superfood is high in fiber, which is great for digestion. It’s also full of essential nutrients. Wheat germ also contains octacosanol, which improves oxygen levels. It is an excellent source of iron, manganese, and zinc, as well as protein. Vitamin B in wheat germs promotes weight loss and boosts energy.
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