5 Super Foods for Better Health
Posted on August 15, 2012
Start consuming these 5 super foods on a regular basis to give your body more of what it needs so you can be more healthy and energetic! This is by no means an exhaustive list and I will have other articles about additional healthy superfoods in the future. This is to get you started with items that are pretty easy for most people to find. I also detail how I incorporate ALL of these in my diet on a consistent basis.
1) Raw Seeds. This won’t be an exhaustive list of seeds and their benefits, but let’s start with 3 essentials, flax, sesame, and hemp. Both flax oil and flax seeds are a great source of fiber, which is very important to help regulate blood sugar, support the intestinal system and has tremendous cardiovascular benefits. Flax is also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Flax also has the highest known concentration of lignans. According to Eating for Energy, an ebook I highly recommend:
“They are phytoestrogens, or naturally occurring plant estrogens, that can have a balancing effect on hormones. Lignans also exhibit strong antioxidant activities. They have been studied extensively and research has shown lignans to be beneficial for the health of the bones, the prostate, the breasts, and the heart, while reducing symptoms of menopause and minimizing hair loss, acne, and inflammation.”
Sesame seeds are an excellent source of calcium and minerals, such as copper and magnesium. While hemp seeds are an excellent source of protein and amino acids.
My favorite way to add flax to my diet is by adding a couple of spoonfuls of ground flax seeds on top of my salads. I also sprinkle whole raw sesame, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds on my salads as well as ground hemp seeds.
2) Coconuts – coconuts contain lauric acid and other saturated medium-chain fatty acids. These are excellent for cardiovascular health and improving blood cholesterol. Coconut oil is also fantastic for improving skin health. Just place the container in warm water and wait for it to turn into liquid form and apply to desired areas on the skin.
My favorite way to incorporate the benefits of coconut into my diet is through the use of coconut oil (cold-pressed, extra virgin). Coconut oil is best stored in the refrigerator, where it remains in solid form. I take a spoon and scrape out fine shavings and sprinkle them generously on a fruit salad. Very delicious! I also like to add coconut oil shavings as a topping on my salads. It really perks up the flavor of a salad.
Another option is to pick up some fresh young coconuts from an asian market. Cut them in a container large enough to preserve any coconut water that runs out. Then enjoy the water as an energy drink, full of electrolytes and vitamins, and scoop the meat out and enjoy it by itself or throw it in a fruit salad.
3) Parsley – parsley is a great source of vitamins, including A, C and folic acid and is especially a great source of iron. Not only is it a healthy superfood, it is also so easy to just mix into a salad for its added benefits.
Parsley is easy to grow in a garden in many climates. Or, make sure to pick up some organic parsley if you are getting it from the store.
4) Avocados – Made up of mostly healthy fats, including omega-9 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats. According to the American Heart Association, Monounsaturated fats can be beneficial for your health by helping to lower bad cholesterol levels in the blood and lower your risk of heart disease or stroke. Monounsaturated fats are also high in vitamin E, which most Americans don’t get enough of. In addition to vitamin E, Avocados also contain vitamin A, numerous B vitamins, and vitamin C. They also contain minerals, including iron and magnesium.
An avocado has around 300 calories on average. So eating one a day helps fill you up with healthy oils, fats, vitamins and minerals.
5) Olives – like Avocados, olives and olive oil are also high in monounsaturated fats. Which as previously mentioned, help lower bad cholesterol levels. Olives are also great non-dairy sources of calcium and also full of minerals, amino acids, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Try sun-ripened, organic olives. Or, if you’re like me and don’t particularly care for the taste of olives, try tossing a salad with olive oil and hummus.
If you would like more detailed information on the role of superfoods for better health, I highly recommend Eating for Energy.