This article ran in the July 4 Wynne Progress. Great job Cecelia! -Keeli
Superfoods, Super You.
By: Cecelia Killough
You see it everywhere; Eat this, drink that, take this supplement and you will lose weight, run faster, live longer or your arthritis will be cured. Some of the foods or supplements you are supposed to eat you can’t even pronounce. Superfoods are a marketing term used to describe food with supposed health benefits. They are said to be rich in nutrients and beneficial for well-being. Some Superfoods are “new” while some have been commonly used for a long time. There is controversy on what the most beneficial Superfoods are. This article isn’t promoting one over the other but a gathering of information on what Superfoods might be of interest to you and to what claims they make on enhancing your well being.
1. Near and dear to my heart are BLUEBERRIES. I eat them just because I like them!! Much of the power of blueberries lies in their deep blue color. This color is a by- product of flavonoids which is a natural compound that protects the brain’s memory carrying cells from the damaging effect of oxidation and inflammation. Flavonoids are said to preserve memory function. Blueberries, as are other berries, are high in water content which makes them hydrating for both your skin and other cells in your body.
2. SPINACH is filled with antioxidants, including vitamin C and beta-carotene as well as lutein and zeaxanthin which together acts like a sunscreen for your eyes and guards against macular degeneration. Just 1 cup of fresh spinach provides almost double the daily requirement for vitamin K, which is important in cardiovascular and bone health. It is also a good source of iron which keeps hair and nails strong and healthy.
3. DARK CHOCOLATE is a healthy treat rich in flavonoids, antioxidants that are supposed to help lower blood pressure, improve blood flow and boost overall heart health. Choose chocolate that is at least 70% cacao or cocoa to optimize health benefits. Dark chocolate may also help boost your mood. There is no scientific explanation so maybe it’s the rich taste and sensuous mouth feel of a decadent piece of chocolate that may be the reason. Just keep your portions in check because 1 ounce of dark chocolate has about 150 calories.
4. RED BELL PEPPERS have twice as much vitamin C as an orange. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps clear your body of free radicals and keeps your skin and blood vessels healthy and strong. Vitamin C may also help prevent arthritis or slow the progression of the disease. Red bell peppers deliver beta-carotene and lycopene that are associated with decreased risk of eye diseases like cataracts. Because of their high water content bell peppers are a high-volume, low-cal food that’s very figure-friendly.
5. AVACODOS aren’t just used for guacamole but are one of the most nutrient dense foods you can buy. They are packed with fiber and top the charts among fruit for folate, potassium, vitamin E and magnesium. They are high in monounsaturated fat, which may also help prevent wrinkles. They are believed to facilitate weight loss, lower your chances of prostrate cancer, have high fiber and may help lower cholesterol.
6. CINNAMON not only taste good it is one of the most powerful spices and contains calcium, fiber and manganese. The health benefits attributed to Cinnamon are that it is anti-inflammatory, helps Diabetes II patients, improves cognition, lowers cholesterol, may cut your risk of heart disease and can regulate glucose level.
7. BEANS have long been considered the “poor man’s meal” but in reality they fuel your body with all sorts of vitamins and minerals. The combination of protein and fiber help you stay full and satisfied. The protein and fiber helps regulate the rise in blood sugar that occurs after a meal, which can help stabilize your mood. Fiber in beans keep you regular, they are low in fat and a good source of magnesium and potassium, nutrients that together lower blood pressure and keep heart and blood vessels healthy. As an added bonus they are inexpensive and easy to cook. Just make sure you aren’t getting a lot of salt in your canned beans.
8. OATS are a no brainer for food and nutrition. Whole grains are one of the best sources of soluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol, and keep blood sugar level under control. Get out the oatmeal and top it with berries and chopped nuts for extra nutrition.
9. You’ve heard for years how NUTS can help lower cholesterol. They are a nutritious package of protein, fiber and heart-healthy unsaturated fat. Pistachios are especially rich in phytosterols and soluble fiber that have been shown to lower total LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels. Almonds and walnuts have been touted in the media as the nuts to buy but I’m a pistachio fan. Thirty pistachios cost you about 100 calories, which per nut, is the least caloric of all and if you buy them in the shell eating them will slow you down.
10. TOMATOES are almost ripe and there is nothing tastier than a vine ripened tomato. Tomatoes are probably the only fruit/veggie that the Supreme Court ever ruled on to say they were actually a vegetable. Tomatoes are packed with Lycopene, Lutein/Zeaxanthin, fiber and Alpha and Beta Carotene. They are believed to help prevent cancer, support healthy skin and heart health, lower blood pressure and glucose levels.
Whatever help you are looking for there is some SUPERFOOD than can aid you in your search for a more healthy you. The WEB is full of information to help you find all the information you need. You don’t need SUPERFOODS to eat well. Eat as fresh and as unprocessed as you can while eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish and meats.