A balanced diet is the key to proper nutrition. When you regularly consume a variety of healthy foods, you avoid nutrient deficiencies that make the body susceptible to infection and disease. Good nutrition also helps increase life expectancy and prevent the onset of degenerative conditions later in life.
Here are 14 nutritious superfoods that you can eat to boost overall health and improve well-being.
Avocados are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids that support heart health. An avocado a day can ease inflamed blood vessels that restrict proper blood flow. Plus, avocados can improve brain functions and guard against cognitive decline later in life.
Plant-based foods like beans are vegan-friendly sources of protein. As an essential macronutrient, protein plays an important role in metabolism, tissue repair and muscle development. Beans also help eliminate low-density lipoproteins (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol, which can cause heart attacks.
Antioxidant-rich foods like berries have potent anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects against cellular damage caused by free radicals and infection. In particular, anthocyanin, an antioxidant present in berries, also boosts brain health and prevents the onset of dementia.
Broccoli is rich in sulforaphane, a sulfur-rich compound that has anti-cancer activities. As a powerful antioxidant, sulforaphane can also prevent neurological disorders like autism and Alzheimer’s disease.
Not all types of chocolate are bad. In fact, dark chocolate can greatly benefit the heart. Antioxidants in dark chocolate help regulate blood pressure and reduce levels of LDL. Dark chocolate also helps keep the mind sharp as you age.
Eggs are one of the healthiest sources of high-quality protein. Besides its role in metabolism, protein also supports cognitive functions and brain development.
Fatty fish like salmon, herring and sardines are chock-full of omega-3 fatty acids that have anti-inflammatory effects against chronic back pain and stiff joints. Many kinds of fatty fish also have high levels of vitamin D, which improves calcium absorption.
Nuts and seeds
Many varieties of nuts and seeds are excellent sources of protein and high-density lipoproteins (HDL) or “good” cholesterol. Nuts and seeds also have high concentrations of vitamin E, an antioxidant that prevents skin diseases and premature aging.
Oranges are one of the most popular sources of vitamin C. Aside from this immune-boosting micronutrient, oranges also provide heart-healthy vitamins like folate and thiamin that lower the risk of stroke and heart disease.
Quinoa helps promote digestion and regulate bowel movement thanks to its high fiber content. Adequate fiber intake is the key to optimal gut health. In addition to this, Fiber also inhibits the absorption of excess glucose and LDL in the gut, which helps reduce the risk of metabolic disorders like Type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease.
Spinach and kale
Leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale are rich sources of nutrients, antioxidants and active plant compounds that enhance vital body functions such as immunity, blood circulation and respiration. Regular consumption of leafy greens also significantly lowers the risk of chronic diseases and cancers.
If you’re not a fan of oatmeal or quinoa, opt for starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes that have an impressive amount of fiber as well. Sweet potatoes also have vitamin A, a micronutrient that helps maintain good eyesight.
If you want to lose weight, drink a cup of green tea every day. An antioxidant in green tea known as epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) can boost metabolism and encourage the body to burn more calories.
Lycopene, a type of carotenoid mainly found in tomatoes, is a potent antioxidant against heart disease and prostate cancer. Lycopene also helps maintain healthy skin and prevents cellular damage caused by the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays.
If you’re prone to digestive problems, eat more foods that contain probiotics such as yogurt. As gut-healthy bacteria, probiotics help restore digestion and bowel movement. Just be sure to opt for plain variants to avoid unhealthy sweeteners.
Superfoods are incredibly healthy sources of essential nutrients that aid various body functions. Plus, most superfoods double as remedies for a host of ailments including metabolic disorders, inflammatory conditions and autoimmune diseases.