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What are superfoods?

What are superfoods?

By Organic Facts

The term ‘superfood’ is used to refer to any food with a high density of beneficial nutrients, proven health benefits, and no or relatively few adverse properties. With the amount of research going on, it seem as if a new superfoods are announced every week! Here are just a few of the most widely agreed upon superfoods and the reasons why they are important. Next time you eat one, you’ll at least know why it’s so good for you!

Broccoli

One of the most nutrient-dense foods around, broccoli is full of vitamin A, which is needed for growth and tissue repair, vitamin K, which builds bone strength and supports cardiovascular health, and vitamin C, which helps you develop and maintain a strong immune system.

In addition, broccoli has been named the most potent fruit or vegetable in terms of boosting brain function and staving off Alzheimer’s disease (also effective, but less so, are apples, potatoes, oranges, and radishes). Perhaps most ‘super’ of all are its powers against cancer. Rich in several compounds that help to prevent and battle cancer, research has shown that eating broccoli lowers the risk of tumors in many parts of the body.

Broccoli has also been found to reduce the risk of cataracts and birth defects. And all this comes with hardly any calories – just 25-30 per cupful. It can be eaten raw or cooked; to preserve all the beneficial nutrients, steam it, add to a stir-fry or microwave it with a little water.

Blueberries

It’s difficult to believe something so small and delicious could be so good for you, but blueberries have been lauded by many nutritionists as the ultimate superfood. They’re extremely dense in protective antioxidants such as vitamins C and E – a handful of blueberries (100 grams/ 4oz) provides the same amount of antioxidants as five portions of other fruits and vegetables. Regular consumption has been shown to support good health in all kinds of ways, including guarding against cancer, neurological disease, cystitis, and heart problems.

One portion (one cup/145 grams) contains just 83 calories, and studies suggest that blueberries actually break down fat cells – bonus!

Olive Oil

Often named as the key to the health-giving properties of the Mediterranean diet, olive oil has several benefits. It’s high in monounsaturated fats (and low in saturated fats), so it boosts the levels of HDL cholesterol (the good kind) and lowers levels of LDL cholesterol (the bad kind). This helps keep blood pressure regulated and reduces the risk of heart disease.

It’s also rich in valuable antioxidants, which have been shown to reduce the risk of developing certain cancers, diabetes, arthritis, and to lower the severity of asthma symptoms.

Finally, olive oil can reduce belly fat (hurray!), but go easy with it – one tablespoon contains around 120 calories.

You can use olive oil in cooking, of course, but to get the full health benefits, go for unrefined or virgin varieties and use them in unheated applications. Try drizzling extra virgin olive oil onto salads or prepared vegetables, blend it together with chickpeas or beans to make your own hummus or dips, or simply use it in place of butter on fresh bread.

Oily Fish

The key to the ‘super’ status of fish such as salmon, anchovies, herring, mackerel, sardines, and fresh tuna is simple: omega-3 fatty acids. These are a type of fatty acid that are needed to maintain a healthy metabolism.

Omega-3s have been shown to strengthen bones, boost brain power, help maintain a healthy heart, improve circulation, and increase the chances of survival after a heart attack.

Nutritionists advise aiming for two portions of fish per week, and one of them should be one of an oily variety. You can also take omega-3 supplements that can do the job as well.

Low-Fat Yogurt

Another tasty treat that’s certainly not difficult to make a regular part of your diet is yogurt, Most of us now know that yogurt is good for us because it contains so-called ‘friendly bacteria’. These are probiotics, which help keep the digestive system in good health and can relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and digestive tract disorders.

Yogurt is also a good source of protein and calcium, both of which are needed for healthy bones. One 150-gram pot contains around 225mg of calcium, a good percentage of the recommended 700mg daily intake.

For optimum benefit, go for plain low-fat yogurt, rather than additive-packed flavored varieties – try mixing it with muesli, granola, honey and fruits (perhaps blueberries, to double up your superfood intake).

Also, making the superfoods list are eggs, green tea, turkey, spinach, nuts, lentils, beans, pomegranates, avocado, garlic, red wine, goji berries, cacao (yes, that’s right – chocolate), cinnamon, oats, cranberries, bananas, tomatoes, and soya products.

So at least your shopping list is sorted out. Happy to help!

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A.J. Ali

A.J. Ali, "The Wellness Motivator!" is an award-winning writer, producer, actor, host, voice over artist, emcee and creative visionary. He is the Founder and Executive Producer of EclipseVSC since 1999. A.J. is currently producing and hosting the multimedia wellness entity "Wellness 101" with a vision of helping to change the focus of healthcare in America from sickness to wellness (www.wellness101life.com). To launch the Wellness 101 brand, A.J. did the impossible. Starting with only $500, he traveled through all 50 states in 101 days June 16 through September 24, 2014 -- starting in Melbourne Beach, FL and ending up on a sun soaked beach in Hawaii after changing lives in all 50 states. His "True Champion's 30-Day Challenge" book is transforming lives nationwide (www.TrueChampions30DayChallenge.com). Now, Wellness 101 is taking human transformation to another level through holistic wellness. A.J. has more than 30 years experience in sports and entertainment as an athlete, artist and social entrepreneur. He has founded and owned two pro soccer teams and has spearheaded hundreds of successful projects. A.J. created and starred in the TV show "Good Fellas of Baltimore" on Fox in 2011, which raised more than $250,000 for charities in Baltimore and inspired fans to join the cast to help people in need. As an on-air talent and voice over artist, his enthusiastic love of people makes him believable and inspirational. As a wellness speaker and emcee, he is inspiring. An accomplished writer with a conversational style, his work is transformative. His 2007 song "Through the Darkness, Into the Light," compilation music CD "Survivor Celebration" and Survivor Celebration campaign helping cancer survivors won the coveted Hollywood FAME Award for National Community Service. As a philanthropist and entrepreneur, A.J. has raised more than $25 million for charities. He teaches his charity event success methods through a workshop called "MAKE IT RAIN." He is proud to be a U.S. Air Force Veteran (83-87). His mantra is "LOVE is the answer." He is an avid golfer.

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