Top 10 Superfoods to Improve Your Health
There is an old adage that states â€˜you are what you eatâ€™, and it remains as true today as it did hundreds of years ago. In a world where obesity is becoming a serious problem and cholesterol related heart disease is the number one killer in the USA, you donâ€™t have to go too far to find the problem. The food that we eat is, generally, extremely unhealthy. There is a rising trend where individuals are preferring to eat trans-fat laden fast food and other extremely unhealthy produce; leading in a rise to dietary related illnesses. With that in mind here is our list of the 10 healthiest foods in the world.
Throughout the centuries mothers have often told their children to eat fish claiming that it would â€œmake them smartâ€, and for centuries children have refused to eat the smelly thing on their plate or swallow the spoonful of cod liver oil that was thrust in their direction. According to science however, your mother was right. Not 100% right, but correct enough to know that eating fish is extremely good for you.
Salmon, and other cold-water fish like tuna, mackerel and halibut, are all rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids can decrease blood pressure, lower the risk of stroke, reduce the levels of triglyceride, and reduce the accumulation of plaque in arteries; essentially making it the superhero of the food world. In addition to this, Salmon is also a great source of protein and is low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
So as your mom said, â€œeat it, its good for youâ€.
- Whole Grains
Weâ€™re talking about three things when we say â€˜whole grainsâ€™, and those are bran, germ and endosperm; and if that went way over your head stick with us. Whole grains are the cornerstone to any healthy diet. Rich in vitamins B and E, magnesium, zinc and selenium, these foods are known to help steady blood sugar and insulin levels, and may help reduce the risk of heart disease. Basically whole grains help you regulate your circulatory system and keep you a stable, happy and healthy person.
It is important to note however, that not every food labeled â€œ100% wheat,â€ â€œseven-grain,â€ â€œorganic,â€ â€œbranâ€ and â€œmulti-grainâ€ will contain whole grains, and you may have to check the box to ensure that all three grain elements are listed on the ingredients of the food product. Foods like oatmeal, barley, whole wheat flour, and brown rice are all whole grain foods.
No, not those nuts get your mind out of the gutter; we mean Almonds, Walnuts and Peanuts. Nuts are one of the best sources of protein from plants and are also great for your heart. Even though nuts contain a large amount of fat and calories, they can help weight loss. Some nuts contain helpful amounts of selenium, a powerful antioxidant. Nuts also help the bodyâ€™s intake of key nutrients and help lower the intake of cholesterol, trans fats, sugars, and excessive sodium. A serving of half an ounce of nuts per day is a heart-friendly snack.
This isnâ€™t a recommendation for you to sit down on the couch and go at it with the peanut butter jar but nuts, like almonds and walnuts, are full of fiber, iron, riboflavin, calcium and magnesium. Almonds are high in calcium and one serving of almonds provides half of your daily allowance of vitamin E. The fat in almonds, a monounsaturated fat, may also help reduce the level of blood cholesterol.
Beans, lentils, and peas all fall under the Legume classification, essentially these are all the vegetables that, when you were a child, you saw and went â€˜eeeewwwâ€™. However, the legume family can provide a remarkable amount of energy that can last for hours. A single serving of cooked beans (about one-third of a cup) contains little fat, no cholesterol, only 80 calories, and ample complex carbohydrates.
Apart from the quick energy fix that legumes provide they also contain nutrients like fiber, protein, vitamin B6, folate, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, thiamine, calcium, zinc, manganese, iron and copper; the essential minerals and vitamins that you need to survive. Say what you like about the Legume family, those little beans sure do pack a punch.
Spinach is probably the only food on this list ever to have a successful marketing campaign. We all remember Popeye from our youth, and who could ever forget the image of that jolly sailor popping open a can of spinach and guzzling it down. In reality spinach is one of the single healthiest foods you can include in your diet. Spinach is rich in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. As spinach has nearly zero calories, you can eat as much of it as you like. Spinach is high in vitamins A, C, E, and B6, iron, folate, riboflavin, magnesium, and calcium. Spinach has nearly half of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.
The plant compounds found in spinach can help the immune system as well. These compounds are also thought to keep skin and hair healthy as well. A Harvard Medical School study showed that eating spinach may also help your memory as you age. So while this extremely green and leafy vegetable may not appeal to many people, you should definitely start eating the Popeye diet.
The humble apple is often forgotten on many lists in favour of alternate citrus fruits. However, the old saying, â€œan apple a day keeps the doctor awayâ€ is not far from the truth. Apples are rich in fiber and vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects the bodyâ€™s cells from damage. Vitamin C also helps keep capillaries and blood vessels healthy by forming the connective tissue collagen. Iron and folate are absorbed more quickly into the blood when vitamin C is present. One apple provides 25% of your daily requirement of vitamin C. Apples also contain other antioxidants, like flavonoids and other polyphenols.
Apples are also high in pectin, which is a type of fiber that lowers glucose and blood cholesterol levels. Pectin is most concentrated in the apple peel, or skin. Apples may help those with blood sugar issues like diabetes, and may also help maintain weight control. Apples are a type of carbohydrate that has a low glycaemic index, or GI. Foods with a low GI are digested slowly. As the food is digested, it is released into the bloodstream as glucose. This causes a gradual rise in the level of blood sugar. Apples are not just a tasty snack but also provide a range of health benefits.
Broccoli has the ability to strike fear into the hearts of grown mean at the mere mention of its name, never mind its appearance on the dinner plate. However, this crucifer-cousin spinach, has long been heralded for its health benefits as it contains nutrients like vitamins A, B, C, and K, fiber, calcium, potassium, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus. Broccoli is also a great source of a range of healthful antioxidants.
Broccoli also contains phytonutrients that help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. Phytonutrients, or phytochemicals, are plant compounds that are thought to slow or even stop the growth of tumors. These phytonutrients also provide a boost to the immune system. So even if you tremble at the thought of this oddly shaped vegetable, give it a chance and you may just live longer.
Berries including pomegranates, blueberries, strawberries, and cranberries are considered
to be highly nutritious. These fruits offer a number of health benefits ranging from
reducing the risk of cancer to inhibiting diseases like Alzheimerâ€™s and Parkinsonâ€™s.
Berries contain vitamins B, C, K, and E, fiber, folic acid, and numerous other
Blueberries are also among the healthiest of the berry family. They are a low calorie source of vitamin C and fiber. Eating blueberries is thought to help those suffering from diabetes, Parkinsonâ€™s, Alzheimerâ€™s, and heart disease. Blueberries are another excellent source of phytonutrients. Research has shown that eating blueberries fights cancer better than most other fruits. Blueberries are also beneficial to the elderly as they promote memory and slow the aging process. Berries really are a tasty way to improve oneâ€™s health.
Citrus include such fruits as oranges, limes, lemons, and grapefruits. Citrus is the best known source for vitamin C. A single orange has an entire dayâ€™s worth of vitamin C. Oranges have been epitomized as the â€˜complete package of natural anti-cancer nutrientsâ€™. Rich in antioxidants, citrus contains a variety of nutrients known to reduce the risk of cancer as well as heart and eye disease.
Tomatoes are high in vitamins A and C, and the strong antioxidant lycopene. Tomatoes are thought to benefit the heart and lower the risk of cancer. Grape tomatoes in particular are high in vitamins A and C, fiber, and some phytochemicals, which are known to reduce the risk of cancer. Tomatoes contain 40% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, and 15% of vitamin A.
The red pigment in the flesh of tomatoes comes from lycopene. Tomatoes provide the single richest source of lycopene. This type of antioxidant can repair damage to DNA that causes wrinkled skin. Recent research also suggests lycopene may lower the risk of prostate, pancreatic, breast, and cervical cancer. Lycopene may also maintain mental and physical functions in older people. An Italian study found that 7 servings of raw tomatoes lower the risk of stomach and rectal colon cancers by 60%. Tomatoes really are an easy way to improve your health.
There you have it, the 10 healthiest foods in the world. Itâ€™s not surprising that fruits and vegetables make up a goodly proportion of this list, but it just so happens that they are the healthiest foods available.