Want to improve your health and prevent disease? Incorporate these nutrition-packed foods into your diet.
When it comes to being healthy, we tend to think about the foods we shouldn’t be eating. Maybe it’s time to think more about the healthy foods we should be eating.
With the help of a certified chef and nutrition educator, has compiled a list of 12 “superfoods” packed with nutrients and potent disease-fighting compounds. They’re also rich in fiber, healthy fat, and protein, which will help keep you full so you’re less tempted to splurge on the unhealthy stuff.
Foods that are high in cholesterol tend to break down slowly. Digestion at a slow rate is not good if you’re looking to drop or maintain weight. That’s why dragon fruit is the ultimate treat. Not only is it tasty, but it is broken down quickly. There aren’t many foods that can combine an excellent taste with good nutritional value. Dragon fruit is an excellent choice for people looking to slim down, but still, love sweets. With it, you can combine both and be happy, as you watch the belly fat disappear.
Rambutans are filled with vitamin C, which prevents body cells from being damaged by free radicals. It also helps in the absorption ofiron in the body. The fruit contains copper — important for the creation of white and red blood cells — and manganese, which is required to produce and activate enzymes.
Longan fruit contains rich amount of Vitamin C that is equal to 80% of daily requirement. It also contains minerals like iron, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium. It is also rich in Vitamin A and essential in anti-oxidants.
The fruit Malta is also said to boost the immune system and to be effective for treating pneumonia, blood pressure, stomach and intestinal problems and diseases related to vitamin C deficiency.
- Date Palm
Five reasons to eat more dates:
- Dates are a source of antioxidants.All dates, fresh or dried, contain different types of antioxidants. Fresh dates contain anthocyanidins and carotenoids, while dried dates contain polyphenols – just like green tea. Experiments in food chemistry show that Khalas (aka Madina) dates are highest in antioxidants when compared to other date varieties.
- Dates can be good for blood sugar balance.Diabetes researchers have shown that dates have a low glycemic impact. This means that eating dates alone, or with a meal, may help people with type-2 diabetes manage their blood sugar and blood fat levels. Six to eight Tamer dates can be eaten in one sitting without dramatic shifts in blood sugar.
- Dates can help reduce blood pressure. A standard serving of five or six dates provides about 80 milligrams of magnesium, an essential mineral that helps dilate blood vessels. Research shows that supplementing with 370 milligrams of magnesium can reduce blood pressure. However, taking such a large dose all at once often causes diarrhea. Dates are a delicious way to increase your magnesium intake more gently.
- Dates contain a brain booster. Each little date contains over two milligrams of choline, a B vitamin that’s a component in acetylcholine, the memory neurotransmitter. Higher choline intake is associated with better memory and learning, making it a key nutrient for children and older adults at risk for Alzheimer’s.
- Dates help maintain bone mass.Research shows that bone loss in post-menopausal women with osteopenia can be reduced by increasing intake of potassium. One dried date provides nearly 140 milligrams of this valuable nutrient. Scientists believe that high potassium intake protects bone mass by reducing the amount of calcium excreted through the kidneys.
“The biggest thing that stands out about salmon is that it’s really high in omega-3 fatty acids,” says Dr. Hauser, who is a clinical fellow in medicine at Harvard Medical School. This healthy fat helps lower triglycerides, slows the formation of artery-clogging plaques, and slightly reduces blood pressure, but that’s not all it can do. “Omega-3s are a natural blood thinner, and there has been evidence that they help prevent blood clots and lower triglycerides,” she adds. They also have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help relieve arthritis. The American Heart Association recommends eating salmon or other fatty fish (herring, lake trout, sardines) at least twice a week.
The same pigments that give blueberries their brilliant bluish-purple color are also powerful antioxidants—substances that scavenge the body for harmful molecules that can damage DNA and contribute to cancer development. We single out blueberries, but including a mixture of colorful berries (raspberries, blackberries, acai berries) in your bowl is actually best. “Mixing them gives you the benefits of slightly different blends of nutrients and phytochemicals,” Dr. Hauser says.
We feature broccoli on this list of superfoods, but really any cruciferous vegetable—Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, or kale—is a worthy dietary addition. What makes these vegetables such potent disease fighters are natural compounds such as sulforaphane and isothiocyanates, which are believed to have cancer-fighting capabilities. Broccoli is also high in vitamin C, fiber, calcium, and folate. To maximize flavor, boil broccoli for two to three minutes, then dunk it in an ice-water bath, Dr. Hauser suggests. Serve it with dip, stir-fried, or sautéed in a little olive oil (which also makes our superfoods list).
Eggs have gotten a bad reputation in recent years, primarily because their yolks are packed with more than 200 milligrams of artery-clogging cholesterol. Yet this much-maligned breakfast staple is also high in nutrition. Although you don’t want to splurge on a daily three-egg omelet, one egg a day can be part of a healthy diet. Each egg contains 6 grams of protein, as well as lutein (which is good for vision) and choline (which helps preserve memory). If you want to splurge and eat two eggs, make the second white only. “There’s no downside to eating the egg whites, because there’s hardly any cholesterol. It’s almost all protein,” Dr. Hauser says. One exception: if you have diabetes, it may not be a good idea to have an egg a day, although eating eggs occasionally is fine.
11 Greek yogurt
We need calcium and vitamin D to keep our bones strong, especially after menopause. Yogurt is one of the best ways to get both of those nutrients. It’s low in fat, and a single 8-ounce serving delivers about a third of the calcium we need each day. Greek yogurt is best, because it packs in about twice the protein of regular yogurt. Just avoid the highly sweetened brands. A healthier option is to top plain Greek yogurt with fresh or frozen berries.
Beans are one of nature’s perfect foods. These low-fat legumes are incredibly versatile—you can throw them into just about any recipe and use them as a substitute for high-fat protein sources such as red meat. Plus, beans are an excellent source of folate, potassium, magnesium, iron, protein, and fiber. If beans tend to give you gastrointestinal distress, soak them before cooking and then dump out the water. This may reduce the sugars that feed gas-producing bacteria. You can also take an over-the-counter product containing an enzyme called alpha-galactosidase (such as Beano, Bean Relief, or Bean-zyme).
Although you may have heard that nuts are loaded with fat, they do have nutritional advantages. “Nuts used to have a bad rap because they’re high in calories and fat, but it’s healthy fat,” Dr. Hauser says. While too much saturated fat and trans fat in the diet is unhealthy, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are essential for good health. Fat helps our bodies absorb fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) and prevents us from overeating, she adds. “Fat is the only nutrient that directly interacts with the chemical signals (hormones) in our body that tell our brain we’re full.” A 2011 study named walnuts the healthiest of all nuts for their high antioxidant content. Walnuts also get high marks for their omega-3 fatty acids and anti-inflammatory properties. So if you need a snack to tide you over between meals, a small handful (about 2 tablespoons) of walnuts is an excellent option.