“Superfoods” get their name from the powerful abundance of nutrients they pack, positioning them as some of the healthiest dietary choices one can make. Rich in the key vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients your body needs to perform its best, these foods offer outstanding nutritional value, allowing you to truly make your calories count. Here are a few to incorporate into your diet.
Carotenoids, compounds linked to reduced risk and severity of inflammatory conditions, are found in many yellow, orange, and red vegetables. Yet, carrots have the lowest caloric density of all. Plus, they’re a cinch to prepare, whether you enjoy them in soups, salads, or just on their own as a snack.
This leafy green powerhouse boasts high concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids and folate, nutrients which can reduce the risks of osteoporosis, stroke, and heart disease. The green is also an excellent source of lutein, which helps protect the eyes against macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness.
Red tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant linked to a decreased risk of certain types of cancer and coronary artery disease. While fresh tomatoes are a good source of the nutrient, even processed tomatoes are high in lycopene, and the body may absorb it better. Consider incorporating ketchup, red sauce, and tomato juice into your meals.
Highly snackable, blueberries have the highest concentration of antioxidants of all North American fruit. They can help reduce cancer and diabetes risk, while fending off cognitive decline. Research even suggests they could boost cardiovascular health.
Oats are loaded with soluble fiber, which promotes feelings of satiety and helps to reduce heart disease risk. While most carbs tend to have a bad reputation, these are far from being nutritionally void like some other carb-heavy foods. The fiber helps to offset the sugar, and there is also a considerable portion of serving in each portion.
In general, beans support heart health. Black beans are the overachievers of the bean world, however. With anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants that enhance cognitive function, black beans support both brain and heart health. Plus, they’re a good source of protein while remaining relatively low in calories.
Many nuts have tremendous health benefits, but walnuts are among the best options. They’re rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which support heart health, and have a fair amount of protein. The polyphenols in the nuts also have anti-inflammatory properties.
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