Health experts annually put out lists of their top 10-12 super foods that everyone should eat. The lists may differ here and there but they always include vegetables, fruits, and grains, so be sure to stock you kitchen with them. Here’s my take on the 12 super foods you should eat and why they’re good for you:
It's a fabulous seasoning that contains antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties. Research shows it may stop cancer from spreading, help prevent type 2 diabetes, and lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
It's low in calories, fat free, and packed with electrolytes and natural sugars. It's an excellent re-hydrator; it has more potassium than most of the sports and energy drinks out there, and is lower in sodium. Advocates of coconut water maintain it can do everything from boost your immune system to reduce menstrual cramps, improve muscle performance, cleanse the endocrine system, aid in digestion, rid diarrhea, and even lower the risk for cancer.
It's low in calories and fat, high in fiber, and loaded with Vitamins A and C, potassium, and copper. It also boosts your immune system and contains natural antidotes to digestive ailments.
They're rich in fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants. They go great in cereal, yogurt, oatmeal, or smoothies.
Packed with the antioxidant lycopene and Vitamins C and A, tomatoes help decrease the risk of many cancers and coronary heart disease.
It's a major anti-cancer food. Broccoli has lots of Vitamin C, carotenoids, Vitamin K, and folic acid. With loads of fiber, you can eat a lot for only a few calories.
Kale is a powerhouse green, jam-packed with Vitamins A, C, and K, folate, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, and fiber. It helps fight cancer, heart disease, and certain age-related chronic diseases.
Rich in protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc, chickpeas help lower cholesterol and fight heart disease.
The grain Quinoa is a nutritional powerhouse. High in protein, it is one of the few non-meat foods that provide all eight essential amino acids. It's high in fiber, low in gluten, and is a great source of healthy carbohydrates. It contains lysine which plays a critical role in tissue growth and repair, and it is loaded with vitamins and minerals (such as iron, magnesium and potassium).
Cancer fighters and immunity boosters, walnuts are high in protein, rich in omega-3's and monounsaturated fats, and loaded with anti-inflammatory polyphenols. They're good for cardiovascular protection, muscle growth and brain stimulation.
Yogurt (especially Greek)
Yogurt fights cancer and boosts the immune system (because of the beneficial bacteria it contains). It also contains calcium for your bones and is a good source of protein.
Low in calories and saturated fat, salmon is an excellent source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and heart healthy polyunsaturated fats. Wild-caught salmon has lower levels of PCB contaminants than farmed salmon.
Getting your vitamins and nutrients from natural foods is always better than using supplements. For my family, I make it a point to include these super foods in our meals, snacks, and drinks.
Enjoy these fabulous gifts of nature and check out my recipe below.
Chickpea, Cucumber, and Bell Pepper Salad
Prep Time: 20 minutes Serves: 4
1 15 oz. can chickpeas
3 Kirby cucumbers, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, and thickly sliced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 scallions, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro
For the dressing:
½ cup low-fat plain yogurt
½ cup cottage cheese
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. turmeric
In a sieve, drain the chickpeas; rinse under cold water and drain again. In a large bowl, combine the chickpeas, cucumbers, bell peppers, scallions, and cilantro. Chill.
In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, cottage cheese, salt, and turmeric. Just before serving, drizzle dressing on the salad and toss.