Top Ten Superfoods Everyone Should Include in their Diet

superfoods

By Kathy Hodorek

With all the dietary temptations out there, we all need to encourage each other to stay on the straight and narrow with food choices.  It’s easy to let our fast-food culture get the best of us and take over our lives.  So, to help us focus on a few foods that you may be overlooking, I’ve included a top-ten choice that you can select from next time you go to the grocery store.   Of course, this doesn’t include the wide array of available healthy foods – just a few you may be overlooking.  Even with this list, keep in mind COLOR and VARIETY within each classification. And the less you try to doctor it up the better – in other words, keep it simple – and you will be way ahead…the result, less time in the kitchen, and healthier meals.  So here goes:

1.    Vegetables: Dark green leafy vegetables especially, as well as other green vegetables such as broccoli, green peppers, asparagus, and avocado.  They are a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K, as well as exploding with minerals, such as calcium and iron.  Think salads for lunch and dinner, since raw will deliver up the most vitamins that cooking can destroy.
2.    Brewer’s yeast: a rich source of B-complex vitamins, chromium, and selenium.   A little bit goes a long way too!  You can add some to your popcorn, mix half-and-half with parmesan cheese, or add to a smoothie – I’m sure there are numerous opportunities to throw a spoonful or two into your meals.
3.    Fruits: citrus fruits and berries are high in vitamin C and bioflavonoids.  These nutrients preserve the structure of capillaries to prevent bruising and promote better circulation, are antibacterial, help fight allergies and asthma, and may lower blood cholesterol levels.
4.    Olive oil: Extra virgin is at the top of the list, as it has received the least amount of processing of all the oils, thereby retaining the health benefits.  Olive oil is high in vitamin E and essential fatty acids and has been shown in studies to prevent heart disease.  It may also help prevent colon cancer and gallstones.  It is truly a healing fat…and no other fat can make that claim.
5.    Nuts and seeds: almonds, pecans, and walnuts;  as well as sunflower and pumpkin seeds.  They are high in potassium, magnesium, iron, phosphorous, zinc, vitamin E, selenium, copper, calcium, and vitamin B.  They’re also loaded with protein.  We tend to shy away from nuts and seeds because of their fat content, but their fat is unsaturated, which actually decreases bad cholesterol and helps maintain good cholesterol.
6.    Proteins: fish (especially salmon), eggs, beans, and legumes.  Salmon is the king of fish, but other fish are also high in omega-3 fatty acids which have an anti-inflammatory effect.  Salmon is also high in Vitamins D, B-complex, and CoQ-10.  Eggs are a wonderful protein that is high in B-complex, Vitamin D, Vitamin K, choline (for mental function), selenium and Vitamin E (powerful antioxidants), and Vitamin A and lutein for your eye health.  Beans and legumes are also good antioxidants (high in Vitamin E), good for the heart and cholesterol levels, and a great source of fiber.
7.    Grains: all whole grains including buckwheat, barley, brown rice, millet, and quinoa.  In general, whole grains are high in B-complex, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K (which helps with proper blood-clotting).
8.    Dairy: Yogurt is one of the best ways to include dairy into your diet.  It is high in Vitamin K, Vitamin D, and B-complex.  It’s also an excellent way to get the beneficial probiotics into your diet, which are often destroyed through stress and medication.
9.    Sweeteners: Molasses is one of the best sweeteners because it is high in Vitamin B6, as well as minerals such as manganese, copper, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and selenium.
10.    Spices: Most culinary herbs and spices are good for you, but try to include garlic in your diet every day.   Some studies have shown that it can lower your risk of heart disease, may help protect against certain cancers, boosts yur immune system, is an antioxidant (protect the body from damage by free radicals, and is also antibacterial (an natural antibiotic), antiviral, and antifungal.

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