UTHFA

Utah Health and Fitness Association

Top Superfoods to Eat

Although there’s no official definition of superfoods, it is the general understanding that superfoods contain high levels of vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants which help prevent disease and promote health. In addition to looking through this list, learn about the Lean Gut Diet here for tips on optimizing digestion and promoting healthy weight loss. To increase your consumption of superfoods, consider consuming a supplement shake such as Shakeology daily. To read a full review of Shakeology, click here.

Here is a list of UTHFA’s top superfoods for health:

 

Goji Berries

What are they? Originating from the Himalayas, this small red fruit has been used in Chinese medicine for over 2000 years.goji-superfoods

Why should you eat them? Goji berries are a source of raw protein, which is very unusual for fruit. These berries also contain carbohydrates, fat, dietary fiber, and antioxidants. Goji berries promote a feeling of wellness, sleep, and weight loss.

How should you eat them? Use Goji berries as a substitute for raisins or as additives to salads or soups.

Quinoa

What is it? Quinoa isquinoa-superfoods a South American grain that originated 4000 years ago.

Why should you eat it? Quinoa is one of the only grains or seeds that provides all nine essential amino acids that our bodies cannot produce themselves. It is full of protein, making it filling and nutritious. It has also been shown to reduce weight gain, improve lipid profile, and increase capacity to respond to oxidative stress.

How should you eat it? You can eat quinoa as a side dish, in salads, or even bake with it to make desserts.

Kefirkefir-superfoods

What is it? Kefir is a cultured milk product originating from Russia. It is made by adding grains to cow milk and allowing it to ferment for 24 hours.

Why should you eat it? Kefir provides an excellent source of calcium and is full of probiotics, which can assist with digestion and improve health. Kefir cleanses the intestines, provides beneficial vitamins, minerals, and proteins.

How should you eat it? You can eat Kefir with cereal, fruit, or on its own. It is slightly more sour than regular yogurt.

Brussels Sproubrussels-sprouts-superfoodsts

What are they? Brussels sprouts are a member of the cabbage group. They look like mini-cabbages.

Why should you eat them? They contain more glucosinolates, which are compounds that prevent cancer and detoxify our bodies, than any other vegetable. Brussels sprouts have also been shown to improve bone health, prevent diabetes, and maintain vision.

How should you eat them? Prepare Brussels sprouts as a side dish, in your salads, or throw them in your soup.

Açaí

What is it? The açaí is a Brazilian berry that is full of antioxidants. It has been shown to have anti-cancer properties. This unique berry also helps boost energy levels, promote sleep, improve digestion, and get rid of body toxins.

Why should you eat it? Açaí is packed with antioxidants, amino acidsacai-superfoods, and omega-3 fatty acids.  According to MayoClinic, these berries will reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and depression, and benefit those who suffer from such ailments.

How should you eat it? You can eat açaí as you would eat other berries – in smoothies, on their own, or as additives to salads or cereals.

Cocoa

What is it? Cocoa contains bioactive amines, such as dopamine and serotonin. These are compounds with anti-depressant properties. Cocoa also contains Phenylethylamine, also known as the ‘love chemical’ for producing the same brain chemistry as falling in love. Antioxidant compounds called polyphenols are also found in cocoa, which improve cardiovascular and metabolic health.

Why should you eat it? Cocoa has been shown to reduce blood pressure, increase insulin sensitivity, increase antioxidant capchocolate-superfoodsacity, and lower ‘bad’ cholesterol. Cocoa also improves general mood and has anti-depressant qualities which make you happier.

How should you eat it? Try to eat dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate, as this variety has less sugar and more pure cocoa.

Blueberries

What are they? Blueberries are low in calories and high in nutrients. Theyblueberries-superfoods are the second most popular berries (second to strawberries) in US food consumption.

Why should you eat them? Blueberries are filled with vitamin C, fiber, and cancer-fighting compounds. They have also been shown to improve memory.

How should you eat them? Add blueberries to your salads, smoothies, cereals, or eat them on their own.

Kale

What is it? Of all the healthy greens, Kale is one of the healthiest and most nutritious plant foods in existence.kale-superfoods

Why should you eat it? Kale provides more antioxidants than most other fruits and vegetables. It is also a fantastic source of iron, fiber, and calcium. Kale reduces the risk of many ailments including heart disease and cancer while promoting digestion, bone health, and healthy skin and hair.

How should you eat it? Kale can be eaten raw, boiled, steamed, or roasted. It can also be baked and eaten as a delicious chip!

Salmon

What is it? Protein-rich fish, usually classified as Pacific (Oncorhynchus family) or salmon-superfoodsAtlantic (Salmo family), based on the ocean in which it is found.

Why should you eat it? Salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. A study showed that women who ate fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids twice per week significantly reduced the chance of heart failure. Another study found that omega-3’s in salmon may help prevent UV-induced skin damage and improve cognitive function.

How should you eat it? Salmon can be fried or baked. It can also be eaten raw in sushi or sashimi.

Tea

What is it? An aromatic beverage prepared by pouring boiling water over leaves of Camellia sinensis, which originated in Asia.

Why should you drink it? Green and black teas have been shown to increase exercise endurance and reduce the risks of heart disease and cancer. Tea has also been shown to neutralize free radicals in the body, which can damage Dtea-superfoodsNA at high levels. Also, research shows that tea can reduce the risk of Parkinson’s Disease.

How should you drink it? There are many varieties of teas to choose from, including black tea, green tea, oolong tea, white tea, and herbal tea. Drink it hot or iced. With all the options available, you may have a unique cup of tea every time.

UTHFA - Utah Health and Fitness Association © 2016