Over the past two decades, the concept of superfoods has become a natural alternative to traditional medicines used to combat our major health issues: heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Scientific study has determined that through the consumption of these superfoods, people can significantly reduce their risks for developing these conditions.
Because 95 percent of all deaths from these top three killers — heart disease, cancer and diabetes –are diet-related, the superfoods have become an increasingly important tool in the prevention of these diseases. Although some foods have come and gone from the list over the years, there are five which consistently prove beneficial to our health and well-being.
All of the so-called superfoods help us fight the battle of the bulge, prevent disease and contribute to a longer and healthier life. Because they all fall under the heading of “unprocessed,” don’t look for these superfoods in the potato chip or white bread sections of your local grocery store.
One of the best sources of plant protein, walnuts are rich in fiber, B vitamins and the antioxidant Vitamin E. Compared to other nuts, walnuts have the highest concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, which make them a great food for combating heart disease. The next time you reach for a snack, grab a handful of walnuts or add them to your favorite spinach salad — another superfood! — recipe.
The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of fish a week. Salmon, due to its high fat content, is one of the best choices. After over a decade of supporting evidence that salmon helps lower blood cholesterol, it is no wonder it consistently occupies one of the top five spots on the list of superfoods. Due to the growing concerns over farmed salmon, use wild salmon when possible. It is important to know that almost all canned salmon is wild. The difference lies in mercury levels of farmed vs. wild.
Another heart-healthy vegetarian source of omega-3 fatty acids, flax seeds are also a rich source of fiber and lignan, a type of antioxidant. This superfood has proved most beneficial in the prevention of cancer, particularly breast cancer. Add flax seeds to your diet by sprinkling them over yogurt and fruit or by adding them to muffin recipes.
The latest of the superfoods to hit the top five list, pomegranates contain the antioxidants polyphenols, tannins and anthocyannis. One of the best ways to incorporate this superfood into your diet is by drinking a glass of pomegranate juice once a day. The juice of the pomegranate contains higher levels of antioxidants than most other fruit juices, tea or red wine, and the latest studies provide evidence that it may reduce cholesterol and lower systolic blood pressure.
One of the easiest superfoods to incorporate into your daily diet are dark green vegetables: kale, collard greens, spinach, broccoli, asparagus and green beans that are all rich in Vitamin A and C, calcium and iron. High in fiber and calorie-friendly, they are one of the best of the superfoods to help maintain a healthy heart and slim your waist.