This guest post was written by the following author – Kimberly “FitKim” Olson, CNC, CPT
Today, many people are becoming more aware of what they put into their bodies. They are looking for alternatives for purchasing cheaper organic fruits & vegetables, and while buying organic is very popular right now, a new word has entered the fray that consumers are starting to take notice of…SUPERFOODS!
So just what is a “superfood”? Superfoods are nutrient-dense whole foods that contain higher concentrations of nutrients per serving than other foods. If you look for a list of superfoods you would find things like berries, broccoli and quinoa…but there are so many more superfoods out there.
Vegetables are powerhouses when it comes to maintaining optimal health. They are packed with vitamins and minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients – all of which help fight disease, obesity, and aging. Vegetables are important sources of many nutrients, including potassium, folate, vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin C, among others Remember, the more intense the color, the more nutritional the product.
Though fruits and vegetables are good for our health and have a place in our diets, there are certain ones that are considered “Superfoods” because of their incredible nutritional values. You can either eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables, supplement, or both! It’s hard for most people to eat the amount of fruits and vegetables that are required to maintain a healthy diet, so it’s important to know what supplements are natural, organic and have no added fillers, binders or excipients. Genesis Today and Pure Health Naturally are an example of two great companies that produce quality products.
Some great examples of fruits and vegetables that have incredible nutritional valueare:
Artichokes– Most people eat the heart of the artichoke, but its leaves contain many of the artichoke’s powerful health benefits! You can steam or braise the artichoke so that the entire thing, stem and all, can be consumed.
Bell Peppers – Buy it in all colors and sizes. Good for a multitude of health benefits including healthy aging, health of the nervous system, powering up your immune system and help with reducing “bad” cholesterol.
Broccoli– This vegetable contains incredible nutrient values. It contains high amounts of potassium which helps your nervous system, magnesium and calcium to help regulate blood pressure, vitamin C for fighting against free radicals, vitamin K which is important for bone health and prevention of osteoporosis and beta-carotene and trace minerals that act to strengthen immune defense actions.
Brussels Sprouts – Contain not only essential nutrients for our bodies, but also a few more health benefits that make eating them much more enjoyable. The high fiber content of Brussels sprouts lowers our cholesterol. Brussels sprouts also includes vitamins C, E, and A as well as the mineral manganese and flavonoid antioxidants that help protect against oxidative stress on the body’s cells. It also helps with inflammation, cancer prevention, cardiovascular support and digestion.
Cabbage – Is rich in various phytonutrients and vitamins like vitamin A, C & K that are natural antioxidants which help prevent cancer and heart disease. It is also a great source of dietary fiber and has been shown to help prevent cancer growth, treat ulcers, help with boosting the immune system and with anti-inflammatory properties, weight loss, prevention of cataracts, reduction of the risk of Alzheimer’s and relieves constipation and muscle soreness. (Avoid overcooking cabbage since it decreases its nutritional value.)
Cauliflower – It’s not unusual to see cauliflower in its original shade of white, or in bright greens, oranges and purples! Cauliflower is one of the most highly nutritious vegetables around and contains many nutrients that can help prevent a range of diseases from inflammation to cancer. One cup of raw cauliflower provides nearly 80% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, and is a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin, folate potassium, thiamine and phosphorus.
Raspberries – These berries have significantly high levels of flavonoid phytochemicals in them that have antiodant compounds and potential health benefits against cancer, aging, inflammation and neuro-degenerative diseases. They are an excellent source of vitamins-C, A, B-complex, K and E which together help act as a protective scavenger against oxygen-derived free radicals that play a role in aging and various diseases. Raspberries are also high in minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, iron and magnesium.
Greens – (Kale, Spinach, Mustard Greens, etc.) – Leafy green vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals and disease-fighting phytochemicals. They play an important part with weight loss hunger, lower your risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, helps protect against osteoporosis and helps manage blood-pressure levels, reduces your risk of arthritis and keeps your skin and hair healthy.
Pomegranates – One of the healthiest foods you can eat because it is loaded with antioxidants. Research has shown that eating organic pomegranate seeds and drinking pomegranate juice can increase oxygen levels to the heart. This incredible fruit might also reduce the inflammation of arthritis, lower risk of heart disease and cancer, lessen the symptoms of diarrhea, reduce cholesterol, control your weight and fight cell damage and aging.
Squash – There is a great chance that you will see more varieties and colors of squash than you could imagine at a farmer’s market. Squash is an abundant source of vitamin C and a very good source of magnesium, vitam A, fiber, folate, copper, riboflavin and phosphorus. It helps support heart health, cancer prevention, healthy bones, prostate, colon and eyes. The variety can be overwhelming at times, but just ask the farmer for his opinion and how to cook it if you need any ideas.
Wheatgrass – Builds the blood, cleanses the body, contains a high amino acid content and fights and protects against illnesses. Wheat Grass contains over 90 minerals, including the most alkaline minerals potassium, calcium, magnesium and sodium. It also contains 19 amino acids, the building blocks of protein, making this one of the most powerful wheatgrass benefits.