10 Ways Superfoods Can Supercharge Your Healthy Eating
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
LifeTime WeightLoss in Anika DeCoster, Healthy Cooking, Nutrition, Superfoods, health foods, nutrition

Once you get past the processed “junk” products, all food isn’t the same!

So many factors determine the balance and quality of a healthy diet. So-called “superfoods,” for example, are natural nutrient powerhouses, loaded with vitamins, minerals, polyphenols and antioxidants that can provide a plethora of health benefits. Consider them an easy (and delicious) way to upgrade your diet and boost your nutrient intake every day!

Read on for more about the nutritional benefits and practical how-tos for incorporating these super options into your healthy eating routine.

What Are Superfoods?

Some of my favorite super foods that provide impressive amounts of much needed nutrients include the following:

What Can Superfoods Do for Your Health?

1. They can improve your mood.  

Wild-caught salmon and grass-fed beef are two superfoods that are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to positively impact brain chemistry and help reduce the symptoms of depression. Commit to making these great protein sources a part of your diet a few times each week. 

2. They can help reduce your risk of cancer.  

Kale contains a specific phytonutrient that can help reduce the risk of a multitude of cancers. Try swapping your traditional spinach salad for a kale salad, or try steaming kale with butter and sea salt for a side vegetable. Finally, try baking it with a little olive oil and sea salt for some kale chips! 

3. They can help reduce your risk for heart disease.  

Unlike the commercial claims suggest, processed cereal is not your best bet for preventing heart disease. Blueberries, however, are a natural contender! Although these berries provide a multitude of benefits, lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease is one of their best qualities. Add some fresh blueberries to your morning Greek yogurt or puree frozen berries into a protein shake.

4. They can help lower inflammation in your body.  

Green tea is loaded with antioxidants and exhibits anti-inflammatory qualities, which reduce the inflammation that causes pain and additional health problems in our tissues, organs, bones and joints. Try brewing and drinking a few cups of green tea each day!

5. They can help improve your joint integrity.  

The omega 3s found in fish (primarily wild-caught salmon) have been shown to help reduce the duration of that awful morning stiffness many people feel in their joints as well as significantly decrease overall joint pain. Try incorporating salmon a few times each week at dinner or substitute salmon in your usual tuna salad recipe for lunch!

6. They can help support your eyes.  

Eggs might be one of the most nutritious foods on the planet! Although very satisfying and loaded with protein, eggs also carry unique antioxidants that gather in the retinas of your eyes, which can help reduce your risk for age-related eye disorders. Batch cook some hard boiled eggs for a week’s worth of healthy breakfasts or snacks on the go. Better yet, take time to make a veggie-loaded egg omelet for breakfast each week!

7. They can help lower your blood pressure.  

Many superfoods, including pumpkin seeds, are rich in magnesium, which can help lower your blood pressure as well as reduce your risk for heart attack or stroke. Grab a handful of pumpkins seeds for an afternoon snack, or combine them with other nuts and seeds for a homemade trail mix!  

8. They can support your weight loss journey.  

Coconut oil isn’t only great for your hair and skin but is loaded with healthy fats called medium chain triglycerides (MCT) that can encourage the body to use and burn fat as fuel versus storing it. Try using coconut oil for all of your cooking or add coconut to your protein shakes and salads.

9. They give your immune system a boost.  

One cup of broccoli can provide you with a full daily dose of immune-boosting vitamin C. Add raw broccoli to your lunch salad, or serve it steamed with your dinner meal!

10. They can help regulate your blood sugar.  

Chia seeds have been shown to help control blood sugar because they slow down how fast our bodies convert carbohydrates into simple sugars. Loaded with fiber and many vitamins and minerals, chia seeds can be a great addition to smoothies and shakes. Alternatively, you could make a chia pudding for a healthy dessert!

Do you include superfoods in your diet? Are you looking for more ideas on how to find and incorporate some "super" favorites in your eating? Talk to a dietitian today, and thanks for reading!

In health, Anika Christ – Senior Program Manager of Life Time Weight Loss

This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader.

Article originally appeared on LifeTime WeightLoss (http://www.lifetime-weightloss.com/).
See website for complete article licensing information.