There are an abundance of foods that we consume daily that can provide essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients for optimal health. Foods that may promote additional health benefits beyond that of basic nutrition are coined functional or super foods. Super foods are multitasking foods that may provide multiple disease-fighting qualities while filling you up with taste good nutrients but without adding all the excess calories. Fight disease, stay satisfied and waist-line friendly? Why not! Super foods are recommended in the diet to prevent or reduce inflammation, lower total cholesterol, and lower blood pressure, help protect against heart disease and cancer while promoting digestive health.
Some of my favorite super foods to try in your diet:
-Beans/lentils/legumes: good for your heart; loaded with colon-cleansing fiber for good digestive health. Research has shown that fiber may also help lower cholesterol.
-Berries (blue, rasp, acai): loaded with antioxidants, fiber, low in calories and high in water . Help control your blood sugar and keep you full longer with the fiber.
-Green leafy vegetables/Spinach/Kale/Broccoli: packed with Vitamins A, C and K. Bone-building and immune boosting side dish.
- Red/Orange vegetables (sweet potato, tomato, carrots): promote eye health and decrease risk of age-related eye decline/ degeneration and cataracts.
-Salmon (and fatty fish): providing omega-3 fatty acids for optimal heart health. Two servings (3 ounces) per week are suggested.
-Nuts: filled with protein, heart-healthy fats, high fiber and antioxidant qualities (inflammation reducing), and perfect for snacking. Pistachios, almonds, peanuts, walnuts or pecans can all be enjoyed just remember the key is portion control.
-Low-fat or fat-free yogurt: high in protein, potassium and calcium; enriched with probiotics for digestive health. Consult your food label for varieties containing Vitamin D for added bone health.
-Eggs: quality protein, 12 vitamins and minerals including choline, which is good for brain development and memory. Now you know what to eat before a big test or presentation.
Having a diet that consists of fat-free or low-fat diary, whole fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates (whole grains) as well as, lean protein will help meet the recommendations and guidelines for all Americans according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Remember the key is always portion control. Regardless of the fact that these are healthy, nutritious foods, everything in moderation is essential to a healthy weight and optimal well-being. Too much of a good thing is not always best either!