By: Marlene Affeld ~
Do you want to lose a few pounds, lower your risk of chronic disease and prolong your life? Superfoods, a special category of foods found in nature, are low in calories and loaded with extra large doses of essential antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins and minerals necessary for optimum health. You will be happily surprised to find out how just a few minor modifications in your diet can make you feel and look so great.
Chock full of heart-healthy fiber and iron for energy, black beans are also a rich source of protein and antioxidants. A cup of black beans contains 15 grams of protein without the artery-clogging fats contained in meat. Adding a serving of black beans to your diet four times a week can lower your risk of heart disease by up to 22 percent. While all types of beans are a great source of fiber and protein, research studies indicate that the darker the bean the better. Black bean hulls have as much as 40 times more antioxidants as white bean hulls.
Adding black beans to your diet may also substantially slash cancer risk.
Add a clove of fresh garlic to your daily diet to provide a source of Allicin, a powerful anti-oxidant that helps lower blood pressure and reduces high cholesterol. A strong soldier in the fight against disease, garlic contains potent ingredients that can inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, including E. coli. Allicin is destroyed by heat, so avoid exposing garlic to more than 10 minutes of high heat to avoid loss of this vital ingredient.
Nuts of any type are treasure troves of nutrition. However, walnuts pack the biggest punch. Of all nuts, walnuts contain the highest concentration of omega-3 fatty acids shown to lower cholesterol, fight cancer, reduce the risk of depression, and encourage a good night’s rest.
To encourage slumber, munch a few walnuts before bedtime. Walnuts are a storehouse of the antioxidant melatonin required by the body to regulate sleep patterns.
With a creamy texture and buttery taste, avocados provide healthy fats shown to lower cholesterol by up to 22 percent. Avocados can increase the absorption of other important nutrients such as beta-carotene up to five times compared to the same salad or sandwich without the addition of this tasty superfood. Eating an avocado a day provides half of your daily requirement of fiber and 40 percent of the amount of foliate required for healthy heart function.
A rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which the body cannot produce by itself, salmon can help regulate cardio-vascular activity, lower blood pressure, reduce bad cholesterol and cut the risk of cancer. Salmon is also one of the best sources of selenium, which helps prevent cell damage and reduces the risk of depression.
A single 3-ounce serving of salmon contains over 50 percent of the recommended dose of niacin, helpful in guarding against memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease.
When purchasing salmon, it is important to select wild salmon versus farm-raised fish. Farm raised salmon can contain as much as 16 times more polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB0 as salmon harvested in the wild.
Banish wrinkles with berries. Blueberries are one of nature’s richest sources of phytonutrients that neutralize damaging free radicals, the biggest cause of cell damage and signs of aging. The powerful antioxidants in blueberries may also protect the body against age-related conditions including memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia.
Medical research studies show that kale contains a unique type of phytonutrient that helps the body ward off a diverse array of cancers including ovarian and breast cancer by causing the liver to produce enzymes that neutralize potentially cancer-causing substances.
Gift basket with Chocolate & fruit
Delicious and satisfying, dark chocolate can help lower bad cholesterol and increase “good” HDL levels. Eating just one-forth of a ounce once daily provides antioxidants, flavonoids, all the health benefits and few calories.
Tomatoes are one of nature’s best sources of lycopene, an antioxidant rarely found in other foods that studies suggest can prevent cancer, lower cholesterol and help protect the skin from harmful UV rays. Tomatoes also contain huge amounts of fiber, potassium and vitamin C.
Broccoli, a cruciferous vegetable, contains powerful phytonutrients that help suppress the growth of tumor and reduce the risk of cancer. A cup of the crunchy green provides the recommended daily dose of vitamin C and a goodly amount of folic acid.