10 “Super” Foods

by Alexandra

If foods could receive a 10 star rating, then the following super foods would most definitely earn all 10 stars. They’re essential to a healthy diet, and believe it or not, most people don’t get enough of them!

Spinach: Do I really need to elaborate on this one? Mother Earth packed an insane amount of vital nutrients into these pretty greens! Included in this marvelous package is a rich supply of calcium, iron, potassium, antioxidants, vitamins K, A, C, B1, B2, B3, B6 and even some Omega-3s.

Beans: Beans are an incredible source of fiber, yeilding more than 19 grams of fiber in a single 1-cup serving. If this is too many beans for you in one sitting, split it amongst your lunch-hour salad and your dinner. These tasty morsels are also high in protein and have been proven to help lower cholesterol and the risk of diabetes.

Yogurt: Yogurt is super high in protein, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins B2 and B12. Even better, yogurt is one of the richest food sources of “good bacteria.” As strange as it is to think about, there are millions of types of bacteria that are essential to human survival, and these “Pro-biotics” even reside in the human digestive tract. By increasing consumption of this creamy superfood, you can help to regulate your digestive system, which, in turn, can drastically reduce the risk of colon cancer. Yogurt has even been shown to lower high blood pressure.

Green Tea: I say Epigallocatechin-3-gallate. You say “what?” Also Known as EGCG, this powerful catechin infiltrates the body, in search of free radicals that can damage DNA and contribute to cancer, blood clots and atherosclerosis. Although this tea contains caffeine, the amount present can help jump-start the metabolism, and aid oxidation of fats, which aids weight loss.

Fruit: Of all foods, fruits contain the most nutrients per calorie. This is absolutely unbeatable…and it’s impossible to go into every detail of what magnificent nutrients your body can reap the benefits from simply by increasing your consumption of these delicious, healthy foods. Fruits that are richer in color, such as berries, pomegranates, grapes and red apples contain amazingly high levels of antioxidants, while citrus fruits yeild between 80% and 100% of the RDA of vitamin C in a single serving, and also contain antioxidants of their own.

Eggs: Eggs are AMAZING. They have less than 100 calories each (roughly 70) and within these realms they boast 7 grams of muscle-building protein, and all 9 essential amino acids. Of the 5 grams of fat each egg contains, there is a very small amount of saturated fat. Eggs even contain relatively high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids! They also are one of a few number of foods that naturally contain Vitamin D, and they also have a rich carotenoid content (specifically, lutein and zeaxanthin), which can help prevent macular degeneration. The high sulphur content also promotes healthy hair and nails.

Quinoa: This is the only grain in the history of the world that contains all 9 essential amino acids — and it’s a GRAIN! This means that you get the carbs, protein, and flavor in one little package that’s relatively low in calories. (approximately 158 in 1/4 cup dry). Quinoa has high levels of manganese, magnesium, iron, tryptophan, copper and phosphorus. These nutrients have been shown to reduce headaches, artherosclerosis, and the risk of diabetes. (Note: This food is especially helpful if you’re in a ‘crunch’ around meal times. Boil some up in a pot, add some veg. and you’ve got a complete meal!)

Nuts and Seeds: Nuts and seeds are the perfect snack, add powerful nutrients to any meal, and are all-around delicious. They’re high in protein and good fats, and even have some antioxidants. Flax seeds and walnuts contain high levels of Omega-3s, which are absolutely essential to our diets, and most people don’t get enough of. They are also rich in fiber and Vitamin E, and selenium. They help lower bad cholesterol (LDL’s…ew) However, since they’re really high-cal, enjoy them in moderation!

Barley: Not only is this a low-glycemic grain, but it’s high in both soluble and insoluble fiber. Sadly, this cute little food is commonly overlooked. Soluble fiber helps the body metabolize fats, cholesterol and carbohydrates, and lowers blood cholesterol levels. Insoluble fiber—commonly called “roughage”—promotes a healthy digestive tract and reduces the risk of cancers affecting it (e.g., colon cancer). Barley also contains high levels of Vitamin E and niacin, and lignans.

Hot Peppers: All peppers contain compounds called capsaicinoids. Extraordinary anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-cancer, heart-healthy effects are derived from very high levels of capsaicinoids, the most common form of which is capsaicin. Peppers, namely Chilis, are high in antioxidant carotenes and flavonoids, and contain about twice the amount of vitamin C found in citrus fruits. They also add a powerful, flavorful kick to any food you add them to!

Sources: WebMD, Dr. Perricone, Biology Class, and How to Eat like a Hot Chick