A big part of staying healthy is sticking to a diet that is rich in nutrients and low in calories. Some foods go beyond these basic requirements, and boast amazing health benefits that will help you stay fit and feel amazing. The next time you find yourself at the farmer’s market, or at your neighborhood grocer, look for these seventeen amazing superfoods to incorporate into your cooking recipes.
1) Chia Seeds
This is the favored superfood of ultra-marathoners the world over. Inspired by Mexico’s Tarahumara people (a tribe of super-runners), athletes prize chia seeds for their ability to enhance endurance. The secret is their amazing absorbency, which helps athletes stay hydrated longer. Mix these seeds with water before a run, and you will be amazed how far you can go.
Eggs are a long misunderstood superfood. Some people avoid them because they are high in cholesterol, but it has been proven that they do not negatively effect your cholesterol levels. They provide an unbelievable assortment of proteins, minerals, and healthy fats that your body needs. They also contain choline, a nutrient that improves the health of your brain. Eggs are a delicious and smart way to stay healthy.
This fruit is one of the tastiest entries on this list. Unlike typical nutty sources of vitamin E, Kiwi is low in calories, so you can eat your fill without feeling guilty. They also boast about as much vitamin C as an orange, which helps your immune system fight off illnesses.
This amazing fruit contains more potassium than Bananas, is crammed with fiber, and is known to lower cholesterol. If that isn’t enough to convince you of its merit, consider that people who eat avocado are statistically healthier than people who don’t. Eat them with a little salt and pepper, or smash them into your favorite guacamole. They are as delicious as they are healthy!
This is a versatile superfood to kickstart your day. You can mix it with a variety of nutritious fruits for a different flavor every morning. Oatmeal is high in fiber, which means that a smaller serving of oats will keep you feeling full for the whole morning. It stores well, has a long shelf-life, and can be baked into healthier alternatives to fattening cookies and snack bars.
This ancient seed has been a staple crop in the Andes for more than 5,000 years, so its recent popularity as a superfood is well earned. Typically, it is prepared similarly to grains such as barley or rice, and has an earthy flavor that pairs with many sweet or savory recipes. Quinoa is rich with minerals, and provides an energy boost without packing on a lot of calories.
Watermelon is a favorite treat for those hot summer days, but you probably didn’t realize that it is a superfood. Its juice is known to ease muscle aches, and it is packed with the super antioxidant lycopene, which protects your cells, and might help fight heart disease and even some types of cancer. It is also one of the tastiest ways to stay hydrated.
8) Green Tea
Green tea is calorie free, and it is a delicious way to provide your body with valuable antioxidants called catechins. Some studies have shown that these antioxidants can make cancerous tumors smaller, and stop them from spreading. Green tea can also give you an energy boost, and help you burn more calories.
9) Black Beans
If you are looking for an inexpensive superfood to take your diet to the next level, look no further than black beans. They are full of fiber, and packed with muscle building lean protein that your body needs. Black beans are also crammed with folate and magnesium, which makes them a delicious way to promote cardiovascular health.
10) Greek Yogurt
It is thicker, creamier, and tangier than traditional yogurt, so it is no surprise that the popularity of Greek Yogurt has exploded in the past decade. This is in no small part due to its numerous health benefits. It has nearly twice the protein as other yogurts, and helps to promote digestive health thanks to probiotoc cultures. Look for low-fat yogurt or nonfat variations in delicious flavors at your local market.
Kale is everywhere these days. From teeshirts, to bumper-stickers, to your grocer’s produce department, the cult of kale wants you to know all about this leafy, antioxidant-rich superfood. Whether you chop into in a salad, or bake it into delicious chips, kale promotes cardiovascular and urinary health, and is even believed to help fight cancer.
This is one of the most distinct flavors on our list of superfoods. Ginger is at home in cuisines from across the world, and also mixes nicely into beverages and cocktails. Ginger has a seemingly miraculous ability to soothe stomach ailments. In addition to fighting nausea and indigestion, ginger is believed to be an effective anti-inflammatory agent, soothing sore and achy muscles.
Chances are, you probably aren’t eating enough beets. They are great in a salad, delicious in juices or smoothies, and have health benefits that will keep you coming back for more. They work to lower blood pressure, because they are full of nitrates. They also contain betaine, which is an amino acid that helps to promote natural anti-depressants in your brain chemistry. Beets aren’t only good for you, they improve your mood too!
The old saying goes that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Sometimes folk wisdom is the best advice we can hope for. Apples are high in fiber and low in calories. At around 100 calories per apple, this is a healthy snack with plenty of benefits. The skin is particularly high in anti-oxidants, so be sure not to peel this delicious superfood before you bite into it.
Whether or not garlic really keeps vampires at bay, or works as an aphrodisiac, there are numerous health benefits to cooking with this delicious superfood. Garlic is a natural antibacterial agent, which means it can help you get better when you’re feeling sick. It also helps to lower your blood pressure if it is a regular part of your diet.
This often-overlooked superfood is absolutely full of vitamins, but recent scientific studies suggest that cauliflower may be even more amazing than we already knew it to be. Encouraging data suggests that this delicious veggie may be able to protect your cells from genetic damage.
When you think of pumpkins, you probably think of jack-o-lanterns, or overly sugary seasonal lattes from a giant coffee chain. Nonetheless, pumpkins are an amazing superfood with the ability to promote eye health thanks to high levels of beta carotene. Pumpkin is also high in fiber and low in calories, so this seasonal superfood should be on the menu all year.
There you have it. Along with plenty exercise, these seventeen remarkable superfoods will go along way toward making you your fittest, healthiest self. Happy cooking!