The whole fitness and nutrition industry has been buzzing about superfoods for some time now. We have all come across news about the healing power of superfoods as every new day sees one more food classified as such. At a time when the diet and fitness industry is worth billions of dollars, as a consumer, you can easily be left confused on what to buy and just how much to spend to be healthy.
First things first, what is a superfood? This is basically a food that packs several nutrients including vitamins, anti-oxidants, minerals and essential oils among key nutrients. The marketing of such foods and their need is largely fueled by food producers and manufacturers targeting an increasingly health-conscious population.
The downside of this is an oversell that also drives up the prices and can easily upset your food budget. Further, there is growing evidence that much of what is being peddled in the media is based on inconclusive data and research. Surprisingly, there are numerous nutritious food items you can consume that are much affordable and readily available compared to highly praised superfoods.
Here are 9 of them which you can easily use in a range of recipes to increase your daily nutritional intake while maintaining a healthy diet.
1. Brazil nuts
While almonds may get all the rave reviews and are suggested as a key ingredient in many dietary plans, it is easy to overlook the much cheaper alternative of Brazil nuts. Typically, all types of nuts should be able to offer you a rich supply of good fats crucial in lowering bad cholesterol levels.
Brazil nuts, however, are loaded with Selenium over 100 times the amount found in almonds. They also contain important minerals like phosphorus, copper, and magnesium along with dietary fiber and vitamins E and folate. They are a great source of energy especially if you are undertaking heavy physical training.
2. Sesame seeds
If you are looking for a great source of iron which is an alternative to your meat and vegetable sources, you cannot go wrong with sesame seeds. They almost double the amount of iron found in the more favored Chia seeds. They are also a rich source of other minerals like magnesium, protein, dietary fiber, manganese, selenium and the Vitamin B complex family of vitamins.
These seeds also contain Zinc and fatty acids making them a wholesome food source. You can use sesame seeds on their own as a snack or include them in a range of recipes and meals increasing your daily nutritional intake.
Pomegranates and blueberries are the ones getting all the attention of the fruits with phytochemicals. These important substances along with other nutrients are the ones responsible for the disease-fighting abilities in the fruits. They are quite pricey, however, and not readily available.
As an alternative, you are better off with blackberries or other succulent berries and fruits having purple-red hues. These include strawberries, cherries, and grapes. They are rich in vitamins and low in calories making them a great snack. They also supply high amounts of antioxidants, essential minerals, and dietary fiber.
When you read through the many superfoods, you hardly get to hear lentils being mentioned. These legumes are in fact densely packed with nutrients from all food categories while being low in cholesterol, sodium and even saturated fats. They are rich in dietary fiber with complex carbohydrates which leave you filled after small portions.
Lentils are also a great source of proteins and when paired with whole grains, they are a protein source as rich as meat. Other nutritional contents in lentils include folate, potassium, manganese, iron and Vitamin B16. You can easily serve them with almost anything or just have a meal of them. Whether you are looking to boost your protein intake or cut weight, they are worth including in your diet.
If you are looking for a readily available kind of fish with numerous benefits or an alternative to the hyped salmon, then sardines are the choice for you. They are a great source of fatty acids, essential minerals like zinc, phosphorus and calcium, folate, vitamin B12, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E and vitamin K.
They also offer high amounts of selenium and are a great protein source. If you are a lover of seafood, then this is an option you should consider.
This is the one food that rightly tops most ‘superfoods’ lists. It provides a rich serving of various nutrients. It has some of the highest iron content and tops this with other minerals including manganese, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, and Zinc.
It is also a great source of Niacin, dietary fiber, and protein. As a vitamin source, spinach is almost unrivaled having significant amounts of folate, Vitamin K, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Betaine and Choline among others. This rich nutritional content is what makes the green and leafy vegetable very beneficial to your health including help in cancer prevention.
This is another vegetable you can take in a variety of ways from roasting to using in salads and other different forms of side dishes. Brocolli is a tasty serving of vitamins, proteins, a lot of hydration, fiber and less cholesterol. It is great for all those seeking to enjoy a filling dish without packing too many calories. It also packs enough iron and manganese as well as antioxidants and phytochemicals which are all key to its health benefits.
Brocolli has been shown to boost the health of several organs and systems including the digestive system and cardiovascular system. It also helps boost your eyesight and lower blood cholesterol levels among other benefits.
This is one of the most popular spices which you can use in almost any food from oatmeal to porridge, meat dishes and in baking. It can also be used to spice up teas, pudding, and other dishes. It is a very good source of dietary fiber, Calcium, iron, manganese and Vitamin K among other nutrients.
These and the high supply of vital antioxidants from the spice give it the healing properties to boost your health. Cinnamon helps your body fight inflammation, digestive tract conditions and controls the blood sugar levels.
One of the most popular spices also happens to pack quite a high amount of nutrients essential to your body, and its disease fighting ability. It is a great source of vitamins and minerals including vitamins B6, B1, and vitamin C. The main minerals are phosphorus, manganese, and calcium. It is also a great source of selenium.
The sulfur compounds in garlic are the ones which increase its health benefits including the ability to lower blood pressure and improve your heart’s health. As one of the most researched food items, there is enough evidence collected over the years that shows how useful this spice can be in your quest for good health.
In the quest for a healthy diet and lifestyle, it is easy to be duped and fall for diet fads that are expensive. This makes you miss the obvious and readily available nutritional gems. It is also important to note that, no one food item can correct bad eating habits. You have to make a conscious decision to avoid the junk. This does not mean you sacrifice taste or variety as the above nine food items show.
Over the many years, we’ve been in operation, VIP Medical has built a solid reputation for helping all our clients achieve their weightloss goals.