With the wide range of superfoods available these days, it can sometimes be difficult to choose which ones to add to our diets. While it is great to have as large a variety as possible, some superfoods should be considered staples, providing a great deal of benefits when eaten on a daily basis.
The following are our top five picks.
Organic, extra-virgin coconut oil is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. It contains about 90 percent healthy saturated fat, composed of medium-chain fatty acids, which are easy for the body to break down for energy, and are not stored as fat in the liver – unlike many other fats, which contain long-chain fatty acids.
Research has found that medium-chain fatty acids can increase metabolism, and also make us feel fuller for longer. In this way, coconut oil can be a great part of a weight loss plan. It has also been found to benefit the liver by allowing it to dump fat cells, supports the function of the immune and cardiovascular systems, and facilitates the absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K.
On top of that, coconut oil has been found to help keep skin clear and youthful, and to help regulate blood sugar levels. There are a multitude of ways to enjoy the powers of organic, extra-virgin coconut oil – it can replace nearly all of the other oils in your home for cooking and drizzling onto foods as a finisher. You can also blend a tablespoon into your morning coffee for a supercharged cup with a mildly tropical flavor.
Flaxseeds are an excellent plant source of essential omega-3 fatty acids, primarily in the form of alpha-linoleic acid (ALA). Omega-3s have been found to have potent anti-inflammatory properties, and significant benefits to the cardiovascular and nervous systems. They are linked to lowering blood levels of triglycerides, as well as improving cognitive function, helping manage symptoms of depression and ADHD, and potentially slowing the onset of age-related cognitive impairment.
These little seeds contain fiber, which is important for digestion, heart function and stabilizing blood sugar levels, as well as lignans, polyphenols which act as antioxidants, phytoestrogens and fiber. Research has found that the phytoestrogens in lignans can bind to estrogen receptors, to prevent stronger estrogens from dominating. This may help to balance hormones and relieve symptoms of menopause, and may even slow the growth of certain cancers, including breast and prostate cancers.
Flaxseed must be ground before consuming, in order to be digestible by the body. They possess a mild, nutty flavor, and are great mixed into gluten-free flours, added to smoothies or topping salads.
In ancient Egyptian writings, bee pollen is referred to as “life giving dust.” It comes from the male seed of a flower blossom, collected by honeybees and intermixed with the bees’ digestive enzymes. Bee pollen is incredibly rich in a wide array of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, bioflavonoids and anti-inflammatory carotenoid antioxidants.
Bee pollen is composed of over 40 percent protein, in the form of digestible free amino acids. It is also the only known plant source of vitamin B12, which is usually only found in animal products. This superfood is linked to immune system support, improved digestion, increased energy, heightened metabolism and relief from allergy symptoms.
Incorporating a spoonful of bee pollen to your smoothies, or eating it with whole fruits, is a delicious way to enjoy its benefits.
These delectable green fruits are high in vitamins C, E and K, contain copper, folate and magnesium, and boast twice as much potassium as bananas. These nutrients make the avocado an ideal superfood for cardiovascular health, optimal skin health and immune system support. Avocadoes are also rich in fiber, which helps digestion and balances blood sugar levels, potentially even preventing blood sugar drops.
Avocados are high in healthy monounsaturated fat, mainly in the form of oleic acid, which is also found in olive oil. Oleic acid has been found to have significant anti-inflammatory properties, keeps hair and skin nourished, transports fat-soluble nutrients throughout the body and may even help to prevent heart disease.
There are an endless number of ways to enjoy avocados – either fresh and halved, cubed into salads, or whipped into a guacamole. To keep avocados from going brown once they are sliced, simply top with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
This leafy green veggie contains an impressive array of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, B-vitamins, C, E and K, along with calcium, choline, iron, folate, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium and zinc. It also contains an array of flavonoid and carotenoid antioxidants, which help protect the body from the onset of chronic disease.
Not only can these nutrients support the immune system and protect your heart, they are also vital to bone health. The vitamin K found in spinach has been found to help prevent the buildup of excessive osteoclasts, cells which can deteriorate bones. Spinach may also help to encourage the production of osteocalcin, an essential protein for the skeletal system.
Additionally, spinach is a perfect superfood to accompany a workout. It is a natural source of nitrates, which are linked to increasing muscle strength and endurance. This delicious green can be eaten raw topped with other veggies, nuts and a drizzle of coconut oil, added to smoothies, stuffed into organic chicken breasts or sauteed on its own or with some garlic, for just a few ideas.
However you choose to incorporate them into your recipes, don’t miss out on these five amazing foods!
-The Alternative Daily