What are super foods?

super food infographic flat designSuper foods are nutrient-rich meals packed with essential antioxidants, vitamins, polyphenols, and minerals which cannot be found in other ordinary foods. Eating them reduces the risk of contracting certain chronic diseases while also prolonging life. Likewise, those who take them on a regular basis develop leaner bodies and are generally healthier.

Superfoods for lowering cholesterol levels

I. Oatmeal

Whole grain oats have soluble fiber extracts which help in lowering blood cholesterol levels, studies also show that taking at least 1 bowl of this dessert per day can cut down on bad fats by around 8%-23%. When buying oatmeal from the grocery store always go for ‘whole grain’ versions since they cook a lot faster, and are more nutritious compared to their refined counterparts. During preparation, try sprinkling your oatmeal with half-a-tablespoon of cinnamon for extra nutritional value. Cinnamon will boost its effects by lowering glucose levels and also reducing bacterial-causing inflammation.

II. Avocado

Fresh green avocadoThough at first glance the Avocado fruit may seem fatty, the lipid found inside is actually safe and harmless. Research shows that regular intake of this food can increase your HDL count, this is the ‘good’ cholesterol that has no adverse effects on the heart. The decision on whether to buy ripe or raw avocado depends on its variety, for Argentinean or Hass avocados look for all-black, firm fruits with a slightly soft top. They should be used immediately after purchase. If it already appears soft and gives in to pressure, then chances are that it shall be over-ripe by the time you decide to make a dish. On the contrary, for Floridian/Fuerte varieties it’s best to buy the firmest avocados and wait for several days as they ripen before using. If you’re in a hurry to get them ready, then consider placing your fruits in a tight polythene bag at normal room temperature so as to speed up the process.

III. Salmon

Homemade Grilled Salmon on a Cedar PlankSalmon is considered one of the Super foods since it contains a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, which apart from improving cholesterol levels also helps in brain development. Both wild and farmed salmon are recommendable for use. For the best results, cook double portions of the fish for dinner, and save at least half of the portion to make a delicious salad desert for next day lunch. Experiment with spicy mustards, and a few sliced almonds for some delicious topping.

IV. Legumes

They are an excellent source of fiber and may also act as substitutes for meat in most dishes, some common foods that fall under is category include beans, chicken peas and lentils. Nevertheless, if you like the convenience that canned beans & legumes bring, but distaste the extra sodium compound found in them, it’s easy to reduce the amount by simply washing away the extra sodium content with clean running water. You can as well add quarter-a-teaspoon of paprika or cayenne for a zesty nutritious bonus.

Other common Super foods:

a) Tomatoes

Tomatoes are considered Super foods since they contain lycopene, a rare antioxidant which helps in protecting the skin from harmful ultraviolet rays, certain types of cancer and even excess fats. Furthermore, studies show that they contain high portions of potassium, vitamin C and fiber. Take your chopped tomatoes with avocado and lettuce for the perfect sandwiches.

b) Kale

Kales contain a unique phytonutrient which lessens the occurrence of a wide range of cancers, such as ovarian and breast. Though studies are still ongoing to unravel how this happens, researchers believe this ingredient triggers the liver to generate enzymes which neutralize cancer-causing substances. Add some extra taste by trying it together with caramelized onion.

c) Blueberries

Blueberries are full of special phytonutrients which neutralize free radicals in the body, these are the compounds which cause aging and cell damage. The phytonutrients also help in combating certain age-related diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s condition. For preparation, you can either sprinkle blueberries on top of your dessert yogurt with chopped bananas, or alternately make some blueberry bread for breakfast.

d) Broccoli

Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli contain phytonutrients which suppress growth of tumors & reduce the risk of cancer. A single cup of this veggie will also supply you with a daily dose of immune-boosting vitamin C and folic acid. It can be taken together with black beans which pack 15 gms of protein per cup, and are also free from artery-clogging saturated fats but high in energy-boosting iron.

 

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