Friday, September 27, 2013

The Top 30 Superfoods

Happy Superfoods Week! One of my favorite healthy living blogs, Fit Bottomed Eats (, has declared this week to be Superfoods Week.  Therefore, I have compiled a list of the top superfoods on the planet.

Superfoods. One of the most recent health food buzzwords.  Superfoods are low calorie, nutrient dense, & a good source of anitoxidants, essential nutrients, vitamins, & minerals.  They range from apples to quinoa to dark chocolate & sweet potatoes.  These ultra-healthy foods have numerous health benefits that help you live longer, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, & improve your overall health.

Below is a list of the top 30 superfoods and their health benefits.

1. Almonds
Go nuts! High in cancer fighting phytochemicals, magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron, zinc, & Vitamin E.  They help build muscle, reduce cravings, & fight heart disease.  They also protect the skin from wrinkles and lower cholesterol & blood pressure. Because almonds are high in healthy fats, fiber, and protein, they are an excellent food/snack for people trying to lose weight.
2. Apple

"An apple a day keeps the doctor away."  Apples are a good source of fiber, Vitamin C, potassium, & antioxidants.  A large apple contains 30% of the suggested daily fiber intake.  Apples help reduce your risk of heart disease, lung cancer, and Type II Diabetes.  They are especially great food to aid with weight loss.

3. Avocado
These are one of the most nutrient dense foods.  They have twice as much potassium as a banana.  Potassium has many health benefits including reducing risk of stroke & muscle cramps.  Also, they are high in fiber, folate, & Vitamin E. Avocados contain 8.5 grams of monosaturated fat which may help lower cholesterol.

4. Banana
422 milligrams of potassium! Also a good source of Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, & fiber, they make for a great pre or post workout snack. They help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke or muscle cramps.  They improve bone health, nutrient absorption, & digestive health.  Bananas are known to be a natural remedy to many illnesses such as hangovers, PMS, constipation, depression, morning sickness, nerves, ulcers, heartburn, and more. Fun fact: recently the oldest living in man in the world revealed his secret to longevity. He ate a banana every day!

5. Beans/Lentils
Beans, beans, the magical fruit! Beans have high levels of protein, fiber, complex carbs, magnesium, potassium, antioxidants, and iron.  They are very filling and may help reduce cholesterol.  Beans & lentils are also known to help promote weight loss.

6. Blueberries
#1 in antioxidants! The anti-aging fruit and one of the healthiest foods in the world.  They contain high amounts of phytonutrients, which protect from aging and cell damaging agents. Blueberries can help reduce this risk of cancer, Alzheimer's, and dementia.  They can also improve memory, lower cholesterol, and regulate blood sugar.

7. Broccoli
"Eat your broccoli." Contains phytonutrients that reduce the risk of cancer.  One cup only contains 30 calories and provides you with 100% of your daily value of Vitamin C.  It also contains a large amount of folic acid.  Broccoli is known to boost your immune system.
8. Chia Seeds
The ancient superfood of the Aztecs! Three times more calcium than skim milk. They are rich in antioxidants & one of the most concentrated sources of omega-3 fatty acids.  11 grams of fiber per ounce (that's a lot!).  Chia seeds help you stay fuller and hydrated longer as well as retaining electrolytes.  They can help regulate blood sugar and lower cholesterol. They are great when added to smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal, dressings, and dips.
9. Cinnamon
Super spice! A great source of fiber, iron, & calcium.  Cinnamon is known to lower cholesterol and prevent Type II Diabetes. It also serves as a natural remedy for headaches & migraines.  Cinnamon can be a great substitute for sugar in meals such as a morning bowl of oatmeal. The mixture of honey (1 Tbsp) & cinnamon (1/4 tsp) is known as a magical remedy.  It is a natural remedy for colds, can help fight heart disease, indigestion, bad breath, fatigue, arthritis, bladder/kidney infections, and lower cholesterol.

10. Dark Chocolate
High in iron, copper, fiber, calcium, & antioxidants which help lower cholesterol. Dark chocolate can boost mood, improve memory, regulate blood sugar, and decrease your risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, & stroke.  Bananas or strawberries dipped in dark chocolate are an awesome healthy treat for those of us with a sweet tooth!
11. Eggs
The incredible, edible egg! They are low in calories (71) & high in protein (6 grams), which make them a great food to aid in weight loss. They contain antioxidants,  all 9 essential amino acids, and 13 essential vitamins & minerals. Eggs prevent breast cancer and promote healthy hair & nails.  Eggs get a bad reputation because they are high in saturated fat and cholesterol, however egg whites have 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, only 16 calories, & 4 grams of protein.  This makes egg whites a great alternative to an entire egg.

The wonder food! A good source of omega 3 essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and fiber. Helps fight heart disease, diabetes, & breast cancer. It can also improve blood sugar, lower cholesterol, and prevent hot flashes. Because of it's high fiber content, flaxseed is known to improve digestive health, which includes acting as a natural laxative.
13. Garlic
The stinking rose! A good source of Vitamins C & B6, calcium, and potassium. It helps lower blood pressure & cholesterol, combats allergies, protects from heart disease, prevents blood clots, regulates blood sugar, lower the risk of cancer, remedies respiratory problems, relieve toothaches, & improve iron metabolism. Because it is antibacterial and antiviral, garlic helps fight infection & help prevent food poisoning. It may also aid in weight loss by regulating our body's formation of fat cells.

14. Grapefruit
A good source of Vitamins A & C, calcium, fiber, folic acid, & potassium.  They have fat burning enzymes and increase metabolism which help promote weight loss. Grapefruit also aids in bowel movement, supports digestion, lowers cholesterol, reduces fever, boosts the immune system, and helps prevent cancer. It can also help to reduce arthritis symptoms.
 15. Greek Yogurt
Great source of calcium, potassium, zinc, and Vitamins B6 & B12. Aids in weight loss because it has such a high protein content and it keeps you feeling fuller longer.  Greek yogurt contains twice as much protein and only half as many carbohydrates as regular yogurt. It contains probiotics which help detox the body, absorb nutrients, & aid in digestion. Plain greek yogurt serves as a great healthy recipe substitute for a variety of items such as butter, oil, mayo, & cream cheese.

 16. Green Tea
This drink helps protect from just about every disease and aids in weight loss. A great source of antioxidants, it's known to help burn fat, increase metabolism, hydrate, lower blood pressure, prolong life, detoxify, lower cholesterol, & boost your immune system. It also helps protect your lungs, teeth, skin, and liver. Green tea contains zero calories. It aids in fighting cancer, heart disease, & diabetes.
17. Kale
All hail kale! Low calorie, high fiber, no fat! It is high in iron, nutrients, vitamins, folate, magnesium, Vitamin K, antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium, & sulfur. It is known to aid in digestion, cell growth, liver function, cancer prevention, bone health, blood clot prevention, & lower cholesterol. It can also help fight asthma, arthritis, & autoimmune disorders. Kale helps the immune system, increases metabolism, hydrates, and detoxifies the body.

18. Kiwi
They contain more Vitamin C than oranges.  Also a good source of fiber, folate, Vitamin E & potassium. Help promote healthy bone, cartilage, teeth, gum, skin, & eyes. It protects the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Kiwi aids in digestion, manages blood pressure, boosts immunity, prevents cancer, & protects agains DNA damage.

19. Mushrooms
Low calorie, fat free, cholesterol free, & low in carbohydrates. They are a good source of fiber, potassium, Vitamin D, riboflavin, & niacin. They lower cholesterol, support cardiovascular & immune systems, and help prevent cancer.

20. Oats
A great source of soluble fiber which makes you feel fuller longer, aids in digestion, and promotes weight loss. They contain high values of antioxidants. Oats help control blood sugar, lower cholesterol, and promote a healthy heart. They reduce the risk of cancer and diabetes. Add some cinnamon and berries to your oatmeal for a delicious and nutritious breakfast!

21. Oranges
A great source of Vitamin C! Also high in potassium, folate, and fiber. They help prevent cancer, kidney disease, & heart disease. Oranges help lower cholesterol & blood pressure and promote a healthy immune system.

22. Peppers
It is most beneficial to eat a variety of colors because each contains different phytochemicals. They are low in calorie and a good source of antioxidants, Vitamins A, B6 & C, beta carotene, lycopene, fiber, & folate. Peppers help promote weight loss, reduce pain, curb appetite, lower the risk of cancer, promote brain & immune function, and improve eyesight. Hot peppers also help boost metabolism.
23. Quinoa

Pronounced "keen-wah", this superfood contains almost twice the amount of fiber of all other grains.  Quinoa is unique because it is a complete protein & contains all the essential amino acids for our protein needs.  It is also a good source of B2, iron, calcium, magnesium, & lysine.  It can help prevent heart disease & Type II Diabetes and lower blood pressure.  It can aid in weight loss because it makes you feel fuller longer. They come in a variety of colors and can be used in an even larger variety of ways.

24. Salmon
Very high omega 3 fatty acid content. Also a good source of Vitamin D, selenium  Salmon has anti-inflamitory benefits, promotes healthy joints and tissue, prevents cancer, and aids in cardiovascular health. Promotes eye, skin, & hair health. It also reduces the risk of depression.  Salmon aids in weight loss by controlling blood sugar and cholesterol.

25. Spinach
Only 7 calories in 1 cup! Great source of Vitamins K, A, C, E, B2, & B6.  Also, high in antioxidants, magnesium, folate, iron, calcium, potassium, protein, & omega-3 fatty acids.  Spinach strengthens bones and reduces the risk of cancer and heart disease.  It tastes especially good in a salad with a unlimited amount of healthy toppings (get creative)!  It's also a great addition to smoothies.

26. Strawberries
They are a good source of nutrients, antioxidants, Vitamin C, potassium, fiber, & folate. Strawberries boost the immune system, promote eye health, fight cancer, lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar, aid in heart health, prevent wrinkles, and aid in weight management.

27. Sweet Potatoes
They are a good source of Vitamins B6, C, & D, beta carotene, fiber, potassium, iron, and magnesium. Sweet potatoes help prevent heart attacks, boost the immune system, aid digestion, boost energy levels and mood, & relieve stress.  They also increase the health of our bones, teeth, blood, arteries, and skin. Sweet potatoes are especially good when baked and topped with cinnamon!
28. Tomato
Naturally low in cholesterol, calories, saturated fat, and sodium, these contain high amounts of potassium, folate, fiber, antioxidants, thiamin, niacin, magnesium, and Vitamins A, B6, C, & K.  They also contain the rare antioxidant, lycopene, which may lower cholesterol and protect from certain cancers. As a good source of beta carotene they help protect the skin. Tomatoes contain a high water content which makes them filling. They also lower blood pressure, protect from strokes & heart disease, regulate blood sugar, prevent kidney stones, reduce chronic pain, and aid in weight loss. Tomatoes can help promote eye, hair, & bone health.

29. Walnuts
A good source of omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants, Vitamin E, protein, and fiber. They contain cancer fighting enzymes, reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol, soothe arthritis, & help prevent heart disease.  Walnuts also promote weight loss and bone health, boost brain power, & prevent diabetes. They have anti-aging benefits and increase sperm health.

30. Watermelon
A great food to aid in weight loss due to its low calorie content and high water content. It is a hydrating and filling food. A good source of Vitamins A, B6, & C, potassium, antioxidants, and lycopene. Watermelon is beneficial because it helps prevent cancer, protects DNA, promotes energy production, reduces joint pain, and lowers blood pressure. It is also beneficial to the immune, heart, and circulatory systems.