What's So Super about Superfoods?

Eat These All-Stars to Improve Your Health!

written by Gayle

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Organic Produce offers the best health benefits without chemicals!
There has been a lot of talk of "Superfoods" for the last couple of years.  The term is a bit confusing, since it seems to have been coined about 15 years ago to describe foods that have high nutritional benefit.  Some dietitians do not like the label because of the confusion surrounding it.

However, the term "Superfood" is useful to denote foods that pack a punch of nutritional benefits in comparison to other foods.  They are easy to find and can help us avoid some of the health hazards of modern eating. They are high in essential nutrients that our bodies have to get from the food we eat, since our bodies don't produce them.   They are whole foods--not processed--and so contribute to an overall healthy diet.

As I did some research on superfoods, I found that they can be grouped into some broad categories.  These foods can be considered the All-Stars of your nutritional line up!

Brightly Colored Fruits and Vegetables

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Just take a look at the Produce Department.  Let your eyes gravitate to the brightest colors.  Berries, kale, yams, tomatoes, mustard greens, oranges, spinach, avocados, pumpkins, beets, watercress--all of these are high in various vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants to help improve your health.  Fill your shopping cart with these beautiful fruits and vegetables!   Of course, fruits and vegetables of all colors are healthy, but if you are looking for something that packs extra nutritional punch, the brighter, the better.  Eating them raw (or juicing them) will retain all of the nutrients for the maximum benefit.

Oils and Fats, Including Fish and Eggs

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For this recipe for wild-caught salmon on a bed of rainbow peppers, click here
There are some important nutrients in fats and oils, and oily fish like salmon and sardines are a really great source of omega-3 fatty acids.  Olive oil, coconut oil, olives, and avocados also provide those healthy fats.  Many people have stopped eating egg yolks because of cholesterol fears, but the yolk contains most of the nutrients in eggs.  Studies have shown that even as much as an egg a day has little or no negative effect on cholesterol.  

Nuts and Seeds

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Some of the nuts and seeds that I saw on many lists of superfoods are walnuts, brazil nuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds.  High in healthy fats, as well as fiber and protein, nuts can help you maintain a healthy diet.   (And they are great--just a small handful--between meals to keep you from grabbing the closest junk food!)

Beans and Grains

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Black beans, lentils, barley, and oats (particularly steel-cut) are often mentioned as superfoods.  Look for the ones that are high in protein--black beans are exceptional in this area.  They also have anti-oxidants.

Yogurt and Kefir

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Yogurt and kefir have probiotics (which encourage friendly bacteria in our digestive systems, as opposed to antibiotics, which kill all bacteria) which have been shown to be essential for health.  Shown here with berries, superfoods themselves,  yogurt and kefir pack a great health punch, providing protein as well.  Steer clear of highly processed yogurts, which are very high in sugar, often as much as ice cream.  Greek yogurt is a great choice since it has as much as twice the protein in other yogurts.

The Spicy Ones

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Turmeric--Image from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/67/Turmericroot.jpg
Turmeric, jalapeño and other peppers, cayenne pepper, curry, onions and garlic are all often included in lists of superfoods.  They seem to increase circulation, which can aid in preventing blood clots.  Turmeric is now often added to smoothies for an added boost of nutrition!  (Ask for that addition in the Deli/Juice Bar at Lassen's!)

And Last, but not Least…  Chocolate!

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Chocolate is loaded with flavonoids and flavonols, which can help fight high blood pressure, strokes, diabetes, and heart disease.  Make sure to eat chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa for the maximum benefit.

Thanks, Mother Nature!

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Mother Nature has provided all kinds of delicious and nutritious foods to help keep us in optimal heath--even some "Superfoods!"  Look for these when you shop, and add a variety of them to your healthy lifestyle!

Love,

Lassen's