One of the best ways to take charge of your health is by making smart choices every day — no matter how small. That includes what you buy, cook, order and fill your plate with. Researchers are constantly finding new connections between the foods we consume and their effects on the development of diseases.
Research strongly suggests that including superfoods in your diet can help safeguard against developing heart disease, cancer, obesity and other common chronic conditions. It’s never too late to change your eating habits to include foods that can benefit your overall health.
What are Superfoods?
The term “superfoods” gives you a clue to what these foods can do for your body. These foods help your body by reducing inflammation and protecting cells from that damage that can happen as you age.
Including superfoods in your diet is easy. In fact, you may find you’re already eating a few of them.
Superfoods contain specific vitamins or nutrients that have been studied for their protective nature. Here’s what to focus on for overall health:
Enjoy pomegranate juice or seeds, or eat fresh berries like blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries. Colorful vegetables such as red peppers and carrots also contain high levels of antioxidants.
Green tea contains polyphenols, which protect cells from damage. There are many ways to enjoy green tea. These include drinking it hot or iced —or adding green tea powder to smoothies or other foods.
You can find this in any tomato product (sauce, juice, paste, even ketchup). Other items that are high in lycopene are watermelon, apricots, guava and pink grapefruit.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
To get this important healthy fat, focus on fish such as wild salmon, sardines, lake trout, herring, sardines, anchovies and tuna.
Great sources of this superfood are nuts, including hazelnuts, almonds and walnuts; vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, spinach and shiitake mushrooms; and lima, black and pinto beans.
This key vitamin is found in dark, leafy greens such as spinach, beet greens and collard greens, pumpkin, red peppers, asparagus, mango and avocado.
Get Your Daily Dose of Superfoods
These ideas can help make sure you’re getting superfoods each day:
Create a Vegetable Side Dish
By roasting red peppers, broccoli, carrots and mushrooms with a drizzle of olive oil, you can create a tasty side dish that's loaded with vitamins, nutrients and fiber.
Drink Hot or Iced Green Tea
Green tea is loaded with powerful antioxidants and nutrients that can lower your risk for cancer (among many other health benefits). In addition to getting your recommended daily intake of water, making green tea your go-drink throughout the day is both refreshing and good for your overall health.
Find Ways to Replace Meat
Get creative with ways to replace meats in your diet. Ideas that are still packed full of protein include eating a bean and vegetable soup, black beans with brown rice, or tomato-based chili with beans.
Including fish, such as grilled salmon or trout, to your diet just twice a week can help improve your heart and brain health.
Keep Healthy Snacks on Hand
Having healthy snacks like nuts and dried apricots within reach can help you combat your cravings or hunger between meals.
Make a Delicious Salad
Using dark leafy greens, sliced vegetables, tomatoes and nuts to create a superfood salad for lunch is both smart and delicious.
Start Your Day With Superfoods
Breakfast is the perfect time to add superfoods to your day. Try a fruit smoothie with berries, mango and green tea, fresh avocado over whole grain toast or a glass of tomato juice.
Take Care of Your Whole Health
Eating a healthy diet that includes superfoods is an important way to keep your entire body healthy through every stage of your life. If you have questions about adding superfoods to your diet or are concerned about your heart health, ask your AdventHealth provider about steps you can take.