Eating well will help you feel better and live longer. That’s why medical professionals, nutritionists and even the government have been touting the benefits of a well-balanced, healthy diet. Recently, however, certain foods have been elevated to a category known as “superfoods.” These foods were deemed to be so high in nutritional and health benefits that merely calling them “good for you” was not enough. So what are these “superfoods” and what amazing benefits can they afford you? Below is a short list of five of these “superfoods,” and their incredible powers.
(1) Blueberries. These small, sweet-tart fruits are brimming with antioxidants, which have been shown to battle dangerous free radicals that destroy and corrupt cells, leading to illnesses like heart disease and cancer. Free radicals are also known to increase the signs of aging, so blueberries not only help you feel better, they can make you look better too. So while that old adage “an apple a day, keeps the doctor away,” may still be true, if you’re looking for a little variety in your diet, forgo the red delicious and reach for a carton of blueberries instead.
(2) Wild Salmon. This increasingly popular fish is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which has been shown to help the body do everything from lowering bad cholesterol to increasing memory and brain function. Salmon is also rich in protein, which helps with cellular repair and regeneration, as well as healthy muscle function. Just make sure you’re eating wild salmon, as opposed to farmed salmon since wild salmon packs a stronger nutritional punch.
(3) Soy. Commonly found in foods like tofu and edamame, soy can lower cholesterol almost as much as prescribed statin medication. Additionally, soy contains high levels of calcium, magnesium and boron, which are all necessary for maintaining bone health. Finally, recent studies on soy show that it can help prevent menopausal symptoms as well as certain types of cancer, such as prostrate cancer.
(4) Dark chocolate. You aren’t reading that wrong. Chocolate is good for you! The only caveat is that the chocolate must contain cocoa content of 60% or higher. In other words, the darker the chocolate, the better. Dark chocolate can lower blood pressure, and is high in antioxidants. So the next time you’re craving a sweet treat, reach for the dark chocolate and indulge, guilt-free!
(5) Green tea. Green tea contains an antioxidant known as ECGC, which has been shown to lower cholesterol and inhibit the growth of cancerous cells. Green tea can also combat ailments such as rheumatoid arthritis and boost sagging immune systems. What’s more, tea contains fewer calories (unless you load up on the sugar and cream) than most sports drinks and sodas so the next time you’re looking for a thirst quencher, pour yourself some green tea!
These foods will give your body the ammunition it needs to combat a wealth of threats, but the key is to eat in moderation and maintain a good balance. Overindulging in any one food, even a “superfood,” to the exclusion of everything else can end up doing more harm than good.