It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s SUPERFOODS!

Drop that Dorito in the name of science. OK, maybe you don’t need science to school you on the fact that a corn chip dusted with salt and nacho cheese flavoring may not be the healthiest addition to your diet. However, science has determined that certain “superfoods” exist that mere perception may not be able to uncover.

This eclectic grouping of foods has been deemed “super” for their ability to reduce the likelihood of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and improve overall health. Each item is rich in important nutrients and anti-oxidants, and can help reduce cholesterol.

While there is no superfood directory for the curious diner to consult, many of the lists in existence feature a lot of the same eats. That being said, here is a list of 10 healthy (and common) superfoods to incorporate into your daily diet.

1. Berries

Berries are just plain good for you (Media credit/Jakemaheu via Wikimedia)Berries such as blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries all provide a good source of fiber and memory boosting anti-oxidants. Each one provides a delicious means for maintaining a healthy digestive system.

You can also feel green about eating blueberries, because the odds are they’re local. Maine is the largest producer of blueberries in the world, producing 25 percent of all the lowbush blueberries in North America.

2. Salmon

Atlantic salmon. Salmo salar. (NOAA)Wild salmon and other fatty, cold water fish are rich in Omega 3’s that help reduce the risks of heart disease, arthritis, and like their counterparts from the berry group, may even help with memory loss.

So take out that spear you’ve had collecting dust in the attic, go find a nice cold river, and do some food shopping!

3. Spinach

Spinach plant (Media credit/Victor M. Vicente Selvas)The E. coli and Salmonella scares are long over. The bad press for spinach has finally gone away.

Now then, all Popeye jokes aside, the myth of spinach creating a stronger and healthier you isn’t far from the truth. Featuring an all star team of nutrients and very little in the way of calories, Spinach can help reduce the risk of heart disease, cataracts and even cancer. While it may not lead you to say, “Lift things up and put them down,” regular consumption of this dark green veggie certainly has its benefits.

4. Tomatoes

Heirloom tomatoes (Media credit/mercedesfromtheeighties  via Flickr)Although they are locked in a constant identity crisis, tomatoes can confidently claim their place among the ranks of superfoods. This staple of American agriculture is loaded with beneficial nutrients that provide a healthy boost to your diet.

The cherry on top of this superfood sundae has to be the fact that the tomato based products we all know and love (pizza sauce, ketchup, BBQ sauce, etc.) are all full of the same nutrients you get from fresh tomatoes! While this isn’t exactly an invitation to start thawing out those microwave pizzas, it does provide an easy way to incorporate tomatoes into your diet when they aren’t in season.

5. Beans

Painted Pony beans (Media credit/Travis K. Witt via Wikimedia)Beans may not be a sexy food, but they have a fantastic personality. They provide a great source of protein, without the saturated fats that are present in red meats, and can help reduce the risk of heart disease by keeping cholesterol levels in check.

Looking even deeper into their charm, beans are also rich in fiber and other essential nutrients. So while that medium rare T-bone steak may look enticing, health experts say that it’s important to substitute meat for beans every so often.

6. Tea

Tea leaf (Media credit/Dave Oceano)One of the more popular superfoods, tea is incredibly healthy and features zero calories if you can resist the urge to turn it into a sugar dumping ground. This first rate superfood helps prevent a laundry list of health risks including stroke, cancer, osteoporosis, and high blood pressure.

Instead of throwing that keg party you had planned for Saturday, why not invite your friends over for some tea and crumpets, raise those pinkies, and see where the night takes you.

7. Yogurt

Low fat yogurt is another easily accessible and nutrient-rich superfood. It’s an excellent breakfast option, or a good go to if you are looking for a between meal snack. You can add berries or rolled oats, (spoiler alert) another superfood, to give your yogurt a textural kick.

8. Nuts

Walnuts (Media credit/AndonicO via Wikimedia)Nuts may not be the healthiest option when taken at face value, but they can be an excellent nutritional source when cycled into your diet in moderation. The list of nutrients that they feature, including protein and Vitamin-E, help lower the chances of heart attack by a significant margin, and also help prevent other chronic conditions such as cancer and diabetes.

Walnuts are one of the healthiest varieties. though almonds tend to take a lot of the nut credit. Walnuts can reduce bad cholesterol (LDL), prevent gallstones, aid insomnia, protect bones and can even help in weight loss.

9. Broccoli

(Media credit/Fir0002/Flagstaffotos via Wikimedia)The vegetable many of us dream about at night has even more to offer than we first thought. In fact, there are compounds in broccoli that reduce the risks of tumors by a staggering amount (in the 50-60% range). Broccoli is also teeming with other nutrients that boost our immune systems, and contains a very low calorie count. In fact, broccoli is such a nutritional powerhouse, that one may even wish to write a song about it:

10. Whole Grains

(Media credit/Jkwchui via Wikimedia)Whole grains, such as oats, are a great cholesterol reducer, and like the other aforementioned superfoods, can help lower the risk of common heart conditions. Oats especially, are a very potent independent source of protein and fiber, and are probably one of the more cost efficient options available in the superfoods family.

Well there you have it. Ten “superfoods” that you can work into your diet on your way to becoming a healthier you. The best part is that each item is readily available at your local food store. No excursions into an exotic jungle. No phone calls to the village shaman. No majestic waterfalls that look like they belong in a shampoo commercial. Just ten easy to find foods that will help improve your quality of life!

About The Author

Andrew Wood is a Blast correspondent

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