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Eating healthy is important for your mind and body – it’s a lifestyle, not a diet. Below are the top 10 super foods you should include in your daily life.
Apples – The old expression “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” doesn’t fall far from the tree. Apples contain many antioxidants and are proven to reduce heart disease and cardiovascular disease. Researchers suggest that the strong antioxidant flavonoid compounds play a key role by preventing “bad” LDL cholesterol, buildup of plaque in arteries, and inhibits inflammation. Apples are also rich in pectin, a form of soluble fiber known to help lower cholesterol, and provide a decent amount of vitamin C, another antioxidant.
Avocados – A common myth people believe is to avoid avocados because of its high fat content. They think that avoiding all fats leads to better healthier slimmer figure – but this is so untrue. Avocados are a healthy fat that lower cholesterol and reduce heart disease. Avocados are very rich in B, K, and E vitamins, and have 35% more potassium than bananas. Avocados have very high fiber content – eating one has over half fiber you need daily. Avocado’s nutrients like beta-carotene stop oral cancer cells and destroy pre-cancerous cells. Fun tip: Adding to salad increases absorption of nutrients three to five times.
Beans – Eating small portions of beans regularly is good for your heart. Just 1⁄2 cup of beans daily lowers cholesterol and reduces the risk of breast cancer. The soluble fiber plays a key component that helps cholesterol levels. Beans contain a variety of heart-protective chemicals, including flavonoids that inhibit the adhesion of platelets in the blood, which can help lower risk for heart attack and strokes. Fun tip: The darker the bean, the more antioxidants it contains. Black beans have 40 times the amount of antioxidants found in white beans.
Yogurt – Research shows yogurt protects against gum disease and heart disease. Yogurt contains probiotics (a.k.a. “good bacteria”) as one possible champion of boosting your immune system and overall health. Experts believe that probiotics help to counter growth of the “unfriendly” bacteria. Probiotics are live active cultures used to ferment foods and also improves digestion.
Salmon – No common fish delivers more of the omega-3 fatty acids than salmon. Salmon’s lean fillets contain vitamins A and D, and omega-3 fatty acids, which lowers blood pressure, cancer, and promotes a healthy heart. Consuming two or more servings of fish per week is lowers risk of developing heart disease, strengthens the nervous system, and reduces inflammatory conditions like arthritis. Fun tip: Opt for wild over farm-raised.
Spinach – Spinach is jam packed with a variety of antioxidants, especially when uncooked, steamed or very lightly boiled. It is a good source of vitamins A, B, C, E and K, selenium, niacin, zinc, phosphorus, copper, folic acid, potassium, calcium, manganese, betaine, and iron. Among all the cancer-fighting fruits and veggies, spinach is one of the most effective. Spinach contains immune-boosting antioxidants important for eye health and lowers risk of diabetes.
Almonds – Almonds are chalk full of vitamins and minerals, and have the highest fiber content of any tree nut. Rich in nutrients including iron, calcium, vitamin E, fiber, riboflavin, and magnesium, almonds help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. The fatty acid profile of almonds, which is made up of 91-94% unsaturated fatty acids, when eaten 2 to 4 days per week lower heart disease.
Broccoli – Rich in vitamin C and K, beta-carotene fiber, folate, potassium, calcium and phytonutrients that reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancers. One stalk of broccoli contains more than 100% of your daily vitamin K requirement and almost 200% of your daily dose of vitamin C – two essential bone-building nutrients. But be careful, boiling broccoli for too long can destroy much of its vital nutrients. Fun tip: Adding broccoli to a meal can often double its anticancer properties.
Sweet Potatoes – The sweet potato ranked number one when vitamins A and C, iron, calcium, protein and complex carbohydrates were considered. Also rich in dietary fiber, beta carotene, vitamin B, and carotene, the nutritional value of sweet potatoes is outstanding. One red potato contains 66 micrograms of cell-building folate (the same amount found in one cup of spinach or broccoli). One sweet potato has eight times the amount of cancer-fighting and immune-boosting vitamin A you need daily. Fun tip: Let your potato cool before eating – it helps you burn 25% more fat after a meal, thanks to a fat-resistant starch.
Dark Chocolate – Eating moderate amounts of flavonoids-rich dark chocolate has a blood-thinning effect, which can benefit cardiovascular health, and boosts the immune system by reducing inflammation. Maintaining youthful blood vessels lowers risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, and dementia. Just one-fourth of an ounce daily can reduce blood pressure. Antioxidants reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol and increase “good” HDL levels. Fun tip: A dark chocolate bar has 53.5 milligrams of flavonoids; a milk chocolate bar has 14.