Super Foods - Self Contained Powerhouses of Nutritional Content

If you've heard the term "super food", are you thinking of vitamin drinks or the latest greatest diet and muscle concoction? The generally accepted criteria for a super food is a food unusually rich at least one or more essential nutrient. Most contain multiple nutrients and benefits at levels well above the norm. Well, you may be surprised to learn that the world's most nutritionally beneficial foods are right under your nose, readily available most anywhere. Let's take a quick look.

Let's start with nuts, walnuts, peanuts, macadamias, my favorite, and others. Just by eating a handful of nuts, five times a week, you can improve your cholesterol and lower your risk of cardiovascular disease by 15% to 50%. Just try and find a pill that will even touch those numbers, at least naturally and safely. Nuts, especially walnuts, are an excellent source of plant based Omega 3 fatty acids. For vegans, this is good news indeed, for much of the foods rich in fatty acids are found in animal products, such as fish and eggs. One generous handful of nuts, say a dozen walnut halves, contain about 150 calories which should not wreck your diet.

Another super food group are foods that are deep blue, purple, red, green, or orange. For instance, take the blueberry, in a class all by itself. They are not hugely nutritious in any one area as much as they have such a broad spectrum. They have folic acid, C., carotenes, bioflavanoids and literally hundreds of other compounds, all beneficial to health. Strawberries, raspberries and most other berries are also similar in nutritional value. Tomatoes are packed with vitamin C and vitamin A, and you also get some fiber, but especially Lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, is abundant in tomatoes and tomato products. Studies found that lycopene may help reduce some cancer and heart disease. Sweet potatoes are one of the best vegetables you can eat. They're loaded with carotenoids, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.

Whole grains are definitely in this class. Whole grains are thought to have even more phytochemicals and antioxidants than even the best fruits and vegetables. You've probably heard the adage that Bread is the Staff of Life. It's not hard to see why. Most of the antioxidants are found in the germ and the bran of a grain. Whole grains are an excellent source of B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, iron and fiber as well as other valuable antioxidants not found in some fruits and vegetables. Whole wheat, wild rice, brown rice, oatmeal and popcorn are all good examples.

What about pomegranates? There are other super fruits but pomegranates are probably not as well known as they should be. Pomegranate fruits contain polyphenols, tannins and anthocyanins - all are beneficial antioxidants. Interestingly, pomegranate juice contains high levels of antioxidants - higher than most other fruit juices, red wine or green tea. Studies have shown that the juice of the pom is effective in lowering high blood pressure as well as LDL, the bad cholesterol. Plus, it is absolutely delicious. Don't miss this one.

Seafood, especially wild salmon, sardines and tuna, are an undeniable super food group. These foods are extremely rich in the good fatty acids, especially Omega 3 acids. It has been shown, beyond any doubt, that Omega 3 is crucial for optimal brain functioning. The brain is about 60% fat, it needs a fat based nutrient to keep it well lubed, so to speak. Omega-3 fatty acids, in particular docosahexaenoic acid or DHA. Not only will it feed and lubricate a developing brain, DHA also seems to help stave off dementia,
a very real problem in the elderly population.

Legumes or beans are super in every sense of the word. Each bean may have its own unique nutritional characteristics, but they all provide a tremendous nutritional boost to our diets. Beans are an excellent source of low fat protein and fiber, and they are loaded with B vitamins, folate, magnesium, iron and potassium, just to name a few. Beans are also loaded with hundreds of phytonutrients, which play an essential role in overall cellular health, and numerous other benefits.

The foods listed above are on my short list of super foods. I chose these foods for two reasons. Number one is that they are, for the most part, readily available worldwide. Number two is that these foods are synergistic, meaning any combination of two or more of these foods used in our diets could keep us in glowing good health, satisfying our nutritional needs for a lifetime. Bon appetit', thanks for reading.

Article Source: