On a regular basis we are bombarded with headlines on the internet with many different claims of miracle healing foods, or ‘superfoods’, each claiming to be one of the best and most healthiest foods in the world. But how is that possible? How can each one really be the best? These notorious superfoods are often imported from other countries and can cost an arm and a leg. By putting all of this focus and praise towards these so-called miracle foods, are we forgetting about the easily accessible, nutrient dense (and depending on where you live) local foods that can offer us the same, if not more benefits than the highly publicized superfoods? Here are the top 10 surprising superfoods.
Yes, Popeye was really onto something here as spinach is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. It is chalked full of Vitamin A, Vitamin K and essential folate. It is easily accessible and can be found fresh, frozen or canned. To get the most nutrition from your spinach opt for mature spinach as opposed to baby spinach as the nutrients have more time to develop and will offer you a more nutritious addition to your smoothie, salad, or meal.
Walnuts have more antioxidants than any other nut! They are loaded with Vitamin E and contain omega 3 oils as well as other healthy fats. Walnuts – along with all other nuts – are best eaten raw as the oils turn rancid when roasted and produce a carcinogen known as acrylamide that can actually be found in many roasted or burnt foods. Eat raw nuts by themselves or chopped up and put on a salad or processed with some greens as a pesto.
You don’t have to break the bank for this one. Yes everyone LOVES avocados, or so it seems, but they are so full of vitamins and nutrients that you don’t really need to eat more than one or two a week to get all of the nutritional benefits. Avocados are an excellent source of healthy fats, and this should fill you up.
Like most berries, raspberries are loaded with antioxidants, which can help keep the body healthy and free of disease by getting rid of free radicals in the body. They can be readily found in your local supermarket, fresh or frozen, and are an amazing addition to smoothies, salads, or just eaten as is! They provide the body with Vitamin C, calcium and iron.
5. Wild Blueberries
Often known as the most super of all the berries, blueberries are completely loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrients that are essential to our health. Just one cup of blueberries contains 4 grams of fibre, 24% of the RDA of Vitamin C, 36% of the RDA of Vitamin K, and 25% of the RDA of Manganese as well as many other nutrients. If that wasn’t enough for you, blueberries can also reduce DNA Damage, which can help prevent against aging and cancer.
Lentils are loaded with fibre and protein! They are a perfect choice for those who choose not to consume meat and other animal products and for those that do, the addition of lentils can provide you with the necessary fibre to keep your digestive system functioning optimally. Lentils are amazing in soups and stews but can also be sprinkled on top of salads for some added protein!
Garlic has been praised for centuries for its ability to ward off disease and inhibit the growth of bacteria. Because of these attributes, it makes an excellent all natural antibiotic and can be especially useful when you are fighting off illness. Garlic is also an anti-inflammatory food and can even lower blood pressure. You can put garlic in everything… except for dessert… and it can be cooked and even eaten raw in dressings. Just beware of the dreaded garlic breath (it’s always worth it).
Lemons have so many benefits! They have a strong anti-inflammatory effect on the body and can also be beneficial for raising the alkalinity of the body. This means that like garlic they can be very beneficial to take when you are sick. Lemons, also have just as much vitamin C as oranges – there’s a fun fact for you! To start your morning off right consider drinking warm lemon water to break your fast and get the digestive system moving.
Can’t you tell that beets are good for you just by looking at them? That deep rich colour is truly eye-catching and drawing our attention in! Beets are very obviously loaded with nutrients but they are often overlooked as one of the healthiest foods on earth. Beets are full of folate, magnesium and vitamin C. Beets have also been found to lower blood pressure, and boost brain power.
10. Sweet Potatoes/Yams
The bright orange colour of sweet potatoes showcase how much beta carotene they are loaded with. Sweet potatoes have a superior ability to raise levels of Vitamin A in the blood. Sweet potatoes are also an anti-inflammatory food and can regulate blood sugar levels. It may be beneficial to eat your sweet potatoes with a little bit of fat such as coconut oil to make the beta carotene more available to your system.
These are all relatively cheap, and easily accessible super nutritious foods that you can easily incorporate into your daily meals. Doing so will give you so many of the vital nutrients and vitamins that your body craves! Depending on where you live you can likely find many of the above foods grown locally as well… choose organic whenever possible. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated. Eating a variety of whole, plant-based foods from all the colours of the rainbow, such as the ones mentioned above, is a really great way to ensure you are getting all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs.
Here’s to health and happiness.
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