7 Superfoods You Should Eat Everyday
Superfoods are natural goodies, bursting with nutrients, rich in colour and full of antioxidants. They’re delicious, great for you, and easy to slip into your daily food prep. We hope this article proves that—here are seven superfoods and how to incorporate them into your next few meals.
1 – Blueberries
Top of the list is the humble little blueberry, which actually boasts the highest amount of antioxidants versus any other fruit in North America. It’s filled with phytonutrients that guard against chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and dementia.
Blueberries are also an excellent source of vitamin A and C, both essential for eye health and immune function. They’re rich in fibre and water, thus promoting digestion and hydration, and contain epicatechins that prevent UTI by keeping bacteria from sticking to your bladder walls.
Be super: Munch on half a cup of frozen or dried blueberries or 1 cup fresh blueberries to satisfy your fruit serving for the day! You could also try a blueberry-banana smoothie, or a bowl of natural Greek yoghurt topped with honey, muesli and defrosted blueberries.
2 – Yogurt
Yogurt introduces live, active strains of probiotics, which are commonly known as good or friendly bacteria. Actually, probiotics are already normal residents of your digestive tract, and work to create a healthy balance between the amount of good and bad bacteria necessary there.
The probiotics in yogurt supplement what good bacteria you already have in your body. Eating yogurt helps maintain pH levels in the digestive tract, reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, and boost the immune system.
Lastly, yogurt is made from fermented milk, so it’s also a good source of calcium and protein!
Be super: Have a cup of plain, low-fat, unsweetened yogurt every day. To add flavour, top your yogurt with other superfoods like berries, nuts, and honey! Yogurt can also be slipped into your smoothie machine, or added as a substitute to sour cream in curries and Mexican food.
3 – Green tea
Teas contain catechins, antioxidants that reduce inflammation in the body. Catechins prevent cell damage from free radicals, leading to a host of health benefits such as heart health, prevention of cancer, and lower stress hormone levels.
They also limit absorption of low-density lipoprotein (or “bad”) cholesterol, thereby decreasing risk of heart disease and stroke, lowering blood pressure, and improving blood vessel function.
Green tea also supports cognition by reducing inflammation and stopping the formation of plaques in the brain.
Be super: Drink two to three cups of fresh green tea daily, steeped for three to five minutes to bring out the catechins. Avoid refined sugar, and sweeten your tea with cinnamon or honey instead!
4 – Beans
If you’re looking to replace meat with a healthier source of protein, try beans. Beans are a low-fat source of protein, providing up to half of the essential amino acids your body needs (whole grains give you the other half).
Beans are also rich in soluble fibre. Fibre absorbs cholesterol before it sticks to your blood vessel walls, then flushes it out when you eliminate waste. Since cholesterol doesn’t get to hang around your body, you can reduce total cholesterol levels by up to 15%, thereby supporting heart health and blood vessel function. Fibre also aids in normal digestion and regular bowel movements.
Be super: Beans have a reputation for causing flatulence – and no one wants that every day! Always rinse your beans and change the water several times during cooking, and cook them with carminative spices like basil, ginger, or cinnamon to reduce gas production. Beans are delicious in curries, salads and chilli con carne to name just a few dishes!
4 – Cinnamon
We’ve mentioned cinnamon twice by now, and for good reason. The flavour and fragrance of cinnamon comes from a compound named cinnamaldehyde which is also the source of its health benefits.
Cinnamon protracts the breakdown of carbohydrates in your body, so your blood glucose rises much more slowly. Cinnamon also improves sensitivity to insulin, reducing insulin resistance in conditions like diabetes. This encourages the uptake of glucose by your cells, reducing sugar in the blood.
As a bonus, its gorgeous flavour also makes it a wonderful natural sweetener, so you don’t have to turn to refined sugar to make your meals and drinks more palatable!
Be super: Sweeten up your day by drinking cinnamon water. Boil water, add a stick of Ceylon cinnamon (not Cassia!), and drink when cool. Don’t worry about spoilage – you can reuse the cinnamon stick until the flavour has completely drained away. Cinnamon can also be used to add an extra flavour boost to your favourite teas.
6 – Broccoli
Broccoli is considered the most nutrient-dense vegetable as it’s packed with minerals (such as potassium, magnesium, zinc, and iron), fibre, and phytonutrients.
Specifically, broccoli contains a sulphur compound called sulphoraphane which boosts enzymes for detoxification. Sulphoraphane is the reason why broccoli is dubbed the “king of cancer prevention”, as it can help prevent breast, stomach, and colon cancer.
Broccoli is also rich in vitamins A, C, and B-complex. Vitamin A promotes eye health and prevents cataract and macular degeneration; vitamin C supports the immune system; and vitamin B-complex regulates amino acid levels from excessive consumption of red meat.
Be super: Eat a cup of broccoli every day, perhaps as a side dish for one of your meals. Eat broccoli raw, where possible, to preserve its rich nutrient content. Add some zing with a squeeze of lemon and sprinkle of pepper.
7 – Whole grains
Whole grains like oats, quinoa, brown rice, wild rice, and flaxseed are a source of complex carbohydrates and a complement to beans—whole grains supply the amino acids that beans don’t have, so your dietary proteins are complete.
Whole grains are rich in complex carbohydrates, but their release is tempered by the soluble fibre. As a whole grain, it’s also a satiating food, and slows the digestion of sugar to keep you feeling fuller for longer. This helps regulate blood sugar while providing a steady source of energy.
Be super: Make a bowl of oats for a post-workout meal to kick off the anabolic growth processes, and refill your energy stores so you can make the rest of the day super!