Super Foods to Include in Your Diet
The term “super foods” is used to describe foods that are exceptionally high in nutritional content and many have also been recognized for their anti-inflammatory / anti cancer properties. It would be wise to include as many of these foods in your diet as often as possible while removing the junk foods, as I discussed in the last post.
Super Food List:
- Lean red meats (organic, grass fed preferred) examples are 93% lean ground beef, top round & sirloin cuts. Grass fed beef is a great source of the natural fat burner CLA, and is a great source of B vitamins, phosphorous, iron, sulfur, potassium, & copper. Go here for my stuffed bell pepper recipe using grass fed ground beef.
- Salmon (wild preferred) is a great source of vitamins A & D, and contain the powerful omega 3 fatty acids that are essential for disease prevention and optimal health. So here for an easy salmon cake recipe.
- Omega 3 Eggs are a great source of complete protein, vitamins A, B2, D, E & Niacin, the minerals copper, iron, sulfur & phosphorus, & healthy unsaturated fatty acids. Go here for a Frittata recipe (you can adjust the recipe by mixing eggs & egg whites to get the benefits of the yolk while still controlling the calories)
- Low fat, plain yogurt is a good source of the healthy bacteria that are essential for the health of our intestine. It is also rich in vitamins A, B & D, a good source of calcium and protein.
- Whey Protein supports you immune system by promoting glutathione production & also inhibits the known carcinogen aflatoxin. Go here for more on Whey Protein.
- Spinach is known as a cancer fighter and is rich in the antioxidants beta-carotene and lutein.
- Tomatoes are another great cancer fighting vegetable rich in antioxidants & are linked to low rates of pancreatic and cervical cancers.
- Cruciferous vegetables ex: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower are also among the cancer fighting group and help to regulate our hormones. Cauliflower has been shown to help reduce the risk of colon and breast cancer.
- Mixed Berries are on the top of the antioxidant list & have long been known for their anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. They are good for fighting urinary tract infections, diarrhea, are an anti-viral and contain natural aspirin. Raw berries are best when fresh and in season, but frozen are a close second since they are picked & frozen at the peak of the season.
- Oranges are high in vitamin C which protects against respiratory infections, viruses, and gum disease. They are high in the anti cancer antioxidants, beta carotene and flavonoids.
- Mixed Beans are a great source of fiber and protein, help lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar and are good for colon health.
- Quinoa is a grain like seed that is special because it is the only thing in the plant kingdom to contains all of it’s essential amino acids.
- Whole Oats are great for lowering cholesterol because of the soluble fiber content & can help to stabilize blood sugar.
- Mix Nuts (ex: pecans, almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, cashews, peanuts) contain anti-cancer and heart protective properties. They are a good source of unsaturated fats, B vitamins, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and copper.
- Avocados help lower cholesterol, contain the immune boosting antioxidant glutathione and are a good source of heart healthy fats.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil is highest in monounsaturated fat and the “extra virgin” is the least processed variety of olive oil. Olive oil is best enjoyed on salads or as a dip and is not a good choice for cooking as the heat can damage the fragile components that make it so healthy.
- Fish Oils are rich in the heart healthy omega 3 fatty acids. This is a great supplement to include for most of us to balance out the fatty acid ratio in our diets. Fish oils can help prevent heart attacks, stabilize blood sugar, raise our good HDL cholesterol and serve as an anti-inflammatory.
- Ground Flax Seeds are great to add to your smoothies or oatmeal and can help with the treatment of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, asthma, PMS, allergies, inflammatory conditions, water retention, and a variety of skin conditions.
- Green Tea has long been used for medicinal purposes including: antibiotic, antidiarrheal, antiviral, diuretic, anti ulcer, and anticoagulant. It is important to note that over consumption of any tea can be bad because of the caffeine and oxalate content (which could potentially cause kidney stones).
This list should give you a good idea of what the majority of your meals should be composed of. Remember: variety is key, you don’t need to eat everything everyday, but make sure your diet rotates to include all of these fantastic foods. You can check out my post on buying organic produce so you know where to save and where to splurge when grocery shopping. If you feel like you need a little help “putting it all together,” check out my online coaching page.
Credit for the superfood list goes to the Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition first edition by John Berardi, PhD & Ryan Andrews, MS, MA, RD and the nutrition information to the Nutrition Almanac 6th edition by John D. Kirshmann and Nutrition Search, Inc.
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