These superfoods are easy to include in your diet
You've heard a lot about superfoods. Often it is an exotic list of foods that you might try once, but are unlikely to add to your regular diet e.g. ginseng, pomegranate, quinoa.
Here is a list of "everyday" common foods that contain some superfood qualities that are great for your body. These are among the healthiest foods that you'll see on your everyday supermarket shelves.
There is no doubt that these foods all either contain important and hard-to-find nutrients OR have high levels of what’s called nutrient density. Nutrient density refers to how much nutrition you get in a given number of calories.
Foods that have a lot of nutrition in a really small number of calories are considered ‘nutrient-dense’, for example, salmon, seaweed and sardines. Or, if you prefer, Brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes and walnuts.
This already sounds good to me!
Add as many of these nutrient-dense foods as you can to your weekly diet, and you'll be taking advantage of their unsung benefits for your health.
Lunch: Speaking of salmon and Brussel sprouts, here’s something that I cook for lunch. Place skin-on salmon skin down in a small frying pan on a little oil and butter and a twist of pepper and salt. Trim the ends off four brussel sprouts and microwave 1 minute, then cut them in half (careful they’re hot!). Place them in the pan with the salmon, cut side down. When the salmon skin is crisp turn it over and add lemon juice, butter and crushed garlic. Then quickly add thickly sliced tomatoes on the side opposite the brussel sprouts. Swirl the juices around. Turn the heat off, and leave one minute. Then put the frying pan in an oven for 5 to 7 minutes. Microwave some beans, then when the salmon is ready place the contents on the plate and pour the sauce over the Brussel sprouts and beans. Enjoy!
Here’s my list of seven everyday superfoods for you
Avocados are high in fat — the good kinds of fat — and will help trim your waistline instead of expanding it.
Avocado has a caloric density of 1.7 kcal per gram and a half (~70 g) contains 114 kcal, 4.6 g of fibre, 345 mg of potassium, 19.5 mg of magnesium, 1.3 mg of vitamin E and 57 mg of phytosterols (which is avocado may improve high cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia)).
It is also nutrient-packed with vitamins A, B-6, C, E, K1, and monounsaturated fat (about 70% of the total fats).
Recent research has shown that avocado may be useful in the treatment of hypertension and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). This way, avocado plays an important role in our cardiovascular health. Other studies have shown that avocado may aid in weight management.
Daily intake: one-half each day, try adding a little olive oil and apple cider vinegar and then chopping the half and adding pepper. Watch the calories, reduce something else by about 100 calories to compensate.
Surprisingly, lemons are among the healthiest foods on the planet.
They support skin complexion, immune system function, and even fight cancer with their high doses of Vitamin C and flavonoids (antioxidants). Antioxidants help remove free radicals that can damage cells from the body.
At this time of the pandemic, antioxidants help support your immune system.
Besides potentially lowering blood pressure and benefiting people with asthma, lemons help maximise our body’s ability to absorb iron. This is important for women, and all of us when we are older.
The main fibre in lemons is pectin, a form of soluble fibre linked to multiple health benefits. Soluble fibre can improve gut health and slow the digestion of sugars and starches. However to get the pectin you need to eat the pulp of the lemon.
Squeeze a lemon over your daily avocado and enjoy the benefits of both! Actually, I don’t do that, because I cut up half a lemon and eat all the skin and the pulp, daily.
#3 Whole Eggs
Fifteen years ago doctors were warning their patients off eggs.
Now eggs have come the full circle as it has been found that dietary cholesterol does not translate to cholesterol in the blood.
See “Eggs might help your heart not harm it” — Harvard Health
They have now been proven by multiple recent studies to raise good cholesterol, lower bad cholesterol, and they contain a plethora of essential nutrients for the body.
Eggs are a nutritious food. They are relatively low in calories and saturated fat and rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and other healthy nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin, which are good for the eyes, and choline, which is needed by nerves and the brain.
The most notable nutrients in eggs are biotin, Vitamin B12, choline, and high-quality protein. One large egg contains about 6g of protein and 70 calories.
I eat two eggs daily, so that’s 12g of good protein, and 140 calories — which by coincidence is about the same as half an avocado.
#4 Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes contain an enzyme that converts most of their starches into sugars as the potato matures. This sweetness continues to increase during storage and when they are cooked.
It often surprises people to find out that, unlike ordinary potatoes, sweet potatoes are a lot more nutritious. Sweet potatoes bridge the gap between being a healthy starch and a vegetable.
Sweet potatoes are higher in beta carotene than many other vegetables and are a good source of calcium, potassium, fibre, and vitamins A and C.
They have a powerful mixture of nutrients and can add quite a bit of flavour to an otherwise boring meal.
Easy recipe: Pierce sweet potato skins several times with a fork. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 200C (400° F) until tender, about 45 minutes. Or, as I do, microwave for 2 minutes then in the oven for 20 minutes. I also sprinkle with olive oil, pepper and salt before placing in the oven.
What would list of everyday superfoods be without garlic?
Garlic is known for its healthy properties. As an allium vegetable, it provides a rare and different nutrient that people need on a daily basis. Consumption of allium has many benefits, including an improved cardiovascular system, anti-inflammatory effects across the entire body, antiviral benefits, and cancer prevention.
You might be surprised to learn that certain nutrients in foods have been shown to reduce anxiety or spur the release of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine — and we all want to feel as good as we can during these times of uncertainty.
Garlic, along with spices such as ginger, turmeric, and capsaicin (from chilli peppers) are among those foods that are associated with reduced anxiety. They can be easily added to soups, stews, stir-frys, or salad dressings.
Tip: When I cook in the oven, such as with the salmon or sweet potatoes above, I add whole cloves of garlic. They come out sweet and squishy, and delicious, and couldn't be simpler to cook! Great if I am finishing off a steak in the oven, and then eat them with the steak.
Like lemons, watermelons are another surprise everyday superfood.
Watermelon consists of about 12% fibre and you might be surprised to know has a relatively lower water density than cucumber and tomato. It is an excellent source of vitamin C and a very good source of vitamin A because of its beta-carotene.
It is also a good source of vitamin B1 (as are ham, soymilk, and acorn squash).
High intakes of vitamin C and beta-carotene have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, improve asthma conditions, reduce the risk of colon cancer, and alleviate some of the symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Watermelon is also a very concentrated source of the carotenoid lycopene, which has antioxidant and possibly cancer-preventing properties (tomatoes also have lycopene).
Also interesting is that people whose diets are rich in two substances commonly found in fruits and vegetables — one of which is lycopene — have a lower risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD). So eating watermelon is potentially good for the longevity of your eyes.
On the not-so-good-news side, while carotenoids such as lycopene were at one stage thought to cut the odds of prostate malignancy, further research has found no proof that this is so. As a prostate cancer survivor that disappoints me
Last but never least, the humble apple.
Apples are still one of the healthiest fruits on the planet. As a boy, my step-mother used to chastise me for eating too many of them (after my throw or fourth of the day).
I like a good old-fashioned Granny Smith, and Pink Ladies are always welcome in my fruit basket.
Apples are a not only a good source of vitamin C and a few other nutrients, but that’s not the whole story — they’re rich in plenty of other antioxidants, nutrients not always tallied on nutrition labels.
They contain phytochemicals (responsible for fruits’ bright hues) which, as antioxidants, fight off the damage caused by free radicals, which has been linked to cancer, hardening of the arteries, inflammation, and neurological diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Research comparing a variety of fruits and vegetables found that fruits with white flesh, like apples and pears, were associated with better heart health. And the type of fibre in apples may have some additional benefits. Studies suggest soluble fibre could help lessen inflammation associated with weight-related diseases and even boost immunity.
The wrap — eat well and add superfoods to give an edge
Bear in mind that superfoods are not a cure-all for health problems. They are just a healthy nutritious addition to your otherwise sound food choices.
Their value lies in their addition to a normal healthy diet and lifestyle.
I regularly enjoy all of the above “superfoods”, several on a daily basis. Give those that appeal to your taste a try.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or another qualified clinician. Disclaimer.
Since I was diagnosed at 50 with Type 2 diabetes I've been learning how to do bone-building fitness training which lowers my age. You can too. It's your choice. Walter