If you don’t have time and patience to think about every bite you are putting into your mouth then at least just commit this list to memory – the healthiest team around – the Super Foods your body and mind need for optimum performance and health.
Like Superman himself, these foods are classic and always heroes, no matter what trendy new berry or hard to pronounce herb comes around. Let’s get into it:
According to SuperFoods Rx: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life, by Steven Pratt and Kathy Matthews there are fourteen foods that are the powerhouses in their groups. While a few more have been added to the list and there is plenty of information on superfoodsrx.com, we’ll focus on the originals:
Beans, Blueberries, Broccoli, Oats, Oranges, Pumpkin, Salmon, Soy, Spinach, Tea, Tomatoes, Turkey, Walnuts and Yogurt.
In a three part series we will detail the amazing health benefits of these Super Heroes of the market, with a surprise new addition to the Super Food team in the last installment. Let’s get started with the first five.
Beans – The Cleaner
These little legumes are best known for their catchy little song “Beans, beans, they’re good for the heart, the more you eat, the more…” (ok, that’s enough), and for being a universal side dish, however, they are good enough to take on the spotlight.
Chock full of folic acid, vitamin B, magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron, fiber and more, these multi-talented tough guys help to combat heart disease, digestive tract cancer, constipation, obesity and high cholesterol. Beans are great at getting rid of harmful waste that may lead to health issues and diseases.
The poor bean has not always won the award for most popular, partially because it is not as revered as the meat protein sources, however, beans are non-perishable and not only will stand the test of time, but can be a meat and poultry substitution for their high protein, low-fat, no cholesterol bragging rights. Try a spicy black bean burger tonight.
Blueberries: The Ageless Agent
Blueberries are about to burst from the neuron-protecting, cell-guarding, cancer-preventing phytonutrients and antioxidants that make it a thinking berry – helping to slow and reverse some brain diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. Also, their phytonutrients help cells communicate with each other – enhancing coordination and productivity, and slowing down the signs of mental aging.
Not to mention these North American natives are bursting with Ellagic Acid – the phytonutrient responsible for being a major cancer fighter.
These guys can be pricey so stock up during season and splurge whenever you can. Keep a few bags of frozen blueberries in the freezer at all times and go for fresh blueberries on waffles, ice cream and other sweet treats when eating out in order to reach your recommended quota of 1 to 2 cups daily consumption.
Broccoli – The Tumor-nator
It’s no wonder broccoli resembles strong, healthy trees. Broccoli has a lot to sprout about, especially the anticancer, antidiabetic, and antimicrobial compound known as sulforaphane which can prevent many cancers and tumor development up to 60 percent.
The SuperFoods website, superfoodsrx.com, explains that broccoli is number one on the National Cancer Institute’s list of nutrition powerhouses and that “One study showed that eating about two servings a day of crucifers may result in as much as a 50 percent reduction in the risk for certain types of cancers.”
Opt for dark green broccoli and dense florets, stay away from yellow, and the smaller the head, the more flavor. Steam some, throw it in stir fry or soup, pack to go in kids’ lunches and of course, serve on your next party veggie platter. Just try to include broccoli as often as possible.
Oats: The Cholesterol Blaster
We have all seen the Quaker Man smiling from his cylinder of oats encouraging us to prevent heart disease and lower cholesterol one bowl at a time, and now with the ever-recognizable brand’s new motto, “Go, humans, go,” it is easy to believe that oats really are fuel for our health and life longevity.
Economical and versatile, oats and their sidekicks of Flaxseeds and other whole grains can easily be a part of an everyday diet.
What makes oats a staple in the SuperFood gang is their synergy of nutrients and their cholesterol-lowering fiber, beta glucan.
Heart disease is the number one killer in America but oats are armed to fight the battle one bowl of oatmeal at a time in order to lower cholesterol 8-23 percent (according to the SuperFoods website). Start each day with oats and you may end up starting more days in the long run.
Oranges: The Orang-inal Super Hero
What came first, the color or the fruit? Who cares!? This perfect little sphere of healthful pulp and juice has been thought of as one of the most common cures to the common cold due to its high levels of vitamin C, the water-soluble antioxidant that our bodies cannot produce but needs oh-so-badly.
Aside from its more popular health benefits, oranges also contain hesperidin – its own unique flavonoid that helps prevent cells from mutating. The SuperFoods website states that cancer is prevented by oranges because this flavonoid has the ability to “absorb ultraviolet light, protect DNA, and interact with carcinogens. Citrus flavonoids have been shown to inhibit cancer cell growth, strengthen capillaries, act as anti-inflammatory, and they are antiallergenic and antimicrobial.”
Oranges are usually easy to find, come many to a bag and their uses are endless. Just peel and eat. Nature did the hard part, so just enjoy!