It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s a list of nutrient-rich superfoods that can help you keep feeling your best.
Certain foods or certain categories of food hold the title “superfood” because they contain important nutrients that can power-pack meals, or some can even be eaten by themselves as a snack. While there are numerous superfoods, in this article we are going to highlight seven categories noted by the Harvard Medical School:
- Berries – High in fiber, antioxidants, and disease-fighting nutrients. It is easy to incorporate berries into yogurt (which plain, no added sugar yogurt is also considered a superfood), cereal, smoothies, or eat on their own. When berries are not in season, it is just as healthy to buy them frozen. Blueberries in particular stand out in this category, but blackberries, raspberries, cranberries, and strawberries are also nutrient rich.
- Fish – Good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids that help prevent heart disease. Fresh, frozen, or canned fish are all healthy. The fish that stands out in this category is salmon, followed by tuna. Other notable fish are mackerel, herring, trout, anchovies, and sardines.
- Dark, leafy greens – Good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and fiber. These greens can be added into salads, sautéed, or added to soups. Notable names in this category are spinach, kale, swiss chard, and mustard greens.
- Nuts – Excellent source of plant protein and monounsaturated fat which may reduce the risk of heart disease. While nuts are calorically dense, a small handful can be added to oatmeal, yogurts, salads, or eaten by themselves as a snack. Try adding hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, or pecans to your shopping list.
- Whole Grains – Containing soluble and insoluble fiber, several B vitamins, and minerals, whole grains can help lower cholesterol and protect against heart disease and diabetes. When buying bread, look to make sure the first ingredient is “100% whole wheat flour”. Oatmeal is another great source of whole grains.
- Cruciferous vegetables – As a good source of fiber, vitamins, and phytochemicals which could aid in preventing some types of cancer, these vegetables can be steamed, stir-fried, or added to soups, casseroles, and pasta dishes. Vegetables in this category include broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, radishes, turnips, cabbage, and kale.
- Legumes – Wonderful source of fiber, folate, and plant-based protein and can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Legumes can easily be added to soups, salads, or casseroles. If you’re feeling more adventurous, chili or a bean-based dip/spread, like hummus is also a good way to incorporate legumes into your diet. This is a broad category that includes kidney, black, red, garbanzo, and soybeans, as well as peas.
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