Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Super Foods!

   Who hasn't heard the buzz about "super foods"? You might have started thinking, here we go, because following the food pyramid and my plate and counting calories and getting all my fruits, veggies, and protein needs wasn't enough, now I have to work super foods into my diet too that already has to be carefully varied to get the optimum level of nutrition. Well, I'm here to break it all down for you. Luckily, most super foods are fruits and veggies and come in lots of exciting colors so you may now breathe a little easier.

   Super foods are named that because they have a ton of benefits; they combine the most beneficial of vitamins and minerals so that ideally, you shouldn't need vitamins or supplements and still feel great. They build bones, they fight free radicals (which cause you to age faster... skin, hair, nails, etc.), they fight off cancer causing toxins, they flush your body, and they keep your eyesight sharp. They are nutritional powerhouses! There are lots of super foods (another great benefit!); the list goes on so I will only touch on a few and let you free to do your own healthy lifestyle research. One thing I want you to remember: EVERYTHING IN MODERATION! I don't want you to read this and then eat 5 avocados for lunch or oatmeal with every meal. I want you to work these into your diet in a reasonable way.

   *Black Beans: They pack a ton of protein, without the saturated fat or cholesterol in animal source proteins.  Have a cup with dinner or substitute beans for your usual meat source 1-3 times a week.
   *Oats: Full of fiber, they help keep you full longer, and as a complex carbohydrate they supply your body with long lasting and necessary energy to get through the day. Toss with berries and a bit of honey for breakfast on busy days for long lasting energy.
   *Avocados: Healthy fats are the best fats. Every body needs fats (they coat neurons!! Among other things, but that's a separate blog I have already written!) and avocados pack a punch of healthy fats called oleic acid which has been shown to keep you full longer. Avocados also pack protein and fiber into a serving and have a creamy texture; substitute a few slices of this for mayo on a sandwich or just eat half of an avocado plain every few days.
   *Blueberries: Anti-aging, anyone? Blueberries are full of antioxidants, and an entire cup is only around 80 calories, with the benefit of fiber and a sweet flavor for those with a sweet tooth. Toss into some yogurt or eat plain every few days.
   *Broccoli: Anti-carcinogenic properties and fiber... talk about a win win. Cooked or raw, this is a low calorie food you should add to lunch or dinner.
    *Green Tea: Not only will it hydrate you, it is full of anti-oxidants that help fight fat and boost your metabolism. It's also a mild enough taste that you shouldn't have to add sugar or honey. It is also caffeine free so drink a mug before bed to relax and fight fat.

   Are you seeing a trend here? Fruits, veggies, whole grains, and some fish are listed as "superfoods". Again, please take this with an everything in moderation approach. For a perfect example, Red wine can be very beneficial to heart health, IF you have a glass with dinner occasionally. NOT if you drink the entire bottle every night. Can't think of snacks or looking to try a new recipe? Try a super food. The research is still in the works for many super foods, but one thing that's for sure is all of the foods are healthy none the less. They pack a variety of vitamins and minerals needed by the body for optimum happiness.

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