4 Superfoods for Better Health

You care about your body. You eat your daily serving of fruits and veggies and drink your eight glasses of water a day. Still, you feel like there is something lacking in your daily intake.

You’ve heard of superfoods, right? Have you tried them? Grab your reusable grocery bags, head to the market and stock up with these essential superfoods.

Spinach

Still mixing your salad with iceberg lettuce and dousing it with creamy dressing? This type of “green” (can we even call it that?) lacks nutritional value and taste, yet for some reason it continues to be the best-selling lettuce in America, according to Real Simple. Spinach is a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids, the kind most of us here in the U.S. need most, notes healthy living experts at Care2.

Swap your iceberg with nutrient-rich spinach and substitute your creamy dressings for something lighter, like a vinaigrette or go naked and top your salad with quinoa, veggies, seeds and nuts instead of a greasy dressing.

Quick Facts:

  • Spinach is a natural Alkalizer for the body.
  • Spinach is rich in vitamin A, K, D, E.
  • Spinach contains anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory antioxidants.

I cook with spinach all the time. In the mornings, I combine a handful of lettuce with my egg-whites, for on-the-go breakfast I blend two cups of spinach with a banana, natural juices and a splash of almond milk. There is always a bin, bag or bundle of fresh spinach in my crisper.

Blueberries

Rich in antioxidants and phytoflavinoids, blueberries are often recommended by doctors and nutritionists to lower the risk of heart disease and cancer in patients. Consuming one cup of blueberries a week can lower blood pressure and even speed up metabolism, according to the American Society for Nutrition.

The health benefits also extend to your brain. Wild blueberries and their juices have been found to enhance memory and learning function in adults, and researchers from the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center. The same researches say that consumption of blueberries could potentially fight serious diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

So, if you’re doing any snacking, replace your munchies with a handful of blueberries. Or, toss a few berries into your salad.

Red Bell Pepper

Think you get your daily intake of Vitamin C from a single orange? Think again. Just one red bell pepper has twice as much Vitamin C as an orange, according to the experts at Healthy Code.

Red bell peppers can also assist in weight loss, sweet red peppers can increase your metabolism without all of the jittery side-effects like increased heart rate and blood pressure, reports the National Institute of Health.

My fridge is always stocked with red peppers (and orange and yellow). Most recently I combined a cup of red pepper with a mix of pineapple and mango to make a delectable sauce for grilled salmon. It was amazing! And, I use chopped red peppers to add some flavor to sautéed kale.

Pumpkin

Not just for carving or for thanksgiving pies, pumpkin is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Just a single cup of this fall-favorite packs 200 percent of your daily vitamin A intake, which helps improve vision, according to the National Institutes of Health. And, pumpkins get their orange color from beta-carotene, which also aids in eye health.

Looking to lose weight? Pumpkin can assist in weight loss. It’s a great source of fiber, so you’ll stay full for a longer period of time. Eating potassium-packed pumpkin after a workout can help to restore lost electrolytes and keep muscles functioning in tip-top shape—pumpkin contains more potassium than bananas.

Try pumpkin breads and soups this fall pack your diet with this essential superfood.

Image courtesy of @rsseatle/Flickr

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