You know that eating unprocessed, whole fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds (or eating “close to the ground” as we call it at my house) is good for you, and you’ve probably heard of so called superfoods. You may have dismissed the idea, or thought that the foods touted as being super were too strange or impractical to fit into your family’s regular diet. The good news is that not all superfoods are obscure or foreign. In fact, you might already be eating some of these today without realizing that you’re eating a nutritional powerhouse! Here we will discuss 4 common foods that you may have not known were superfoods and 1 that may seem a little unique but that I promise you’ll be able to work into your diet (I’ll even show you how!)
Blueberries are jam packed with antioxidants and, with less than 90 calories per cup, are lower in sugar than many other fruits and berries. Blueberries have been shown to fight off cancers, heart disease and improve memory. Nothing strange or difficult about this one, simply grab a handful of berries for a healthy, filling afternoon snack.
All vegetables of the cruciferous variety (kale, cabbage, etc.) are darlings of the superfood world for their high concentration of cancer fighting compounds, but broccoli ranks the highest. It contains very high levels of sulforaphane, a compound that aids in removing toxins from the body and may even target cancer stem cells. Broccoli is so versatile and easy to cook that there is really no excuse to not increase its frequency in your diet. Steam it as a side, add it to salads and soups or simply much on it raw!
Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) may seem intimidating to anyone who has never cooked it, but I promise once you do, you’ll forget all about rice. It is easier to cook than rice, in my opinion, and far healthier. Quinoa’s mild, nutty flavor works in almost any dish and can be substituted for rice whenever it is a base or side. So what makes it a superfood? Quinoa is high in fiber and has a whopping 14 grams of protein per half cup.
Avocado is high in monosaturated fats. These type of fats are important for maintaining healthy cholesterol. In addition to that, they slow down digestion, keeping blood sugar in a moderate range. The benefits don’t stop there, though, avocados are thought to prevent certain cancers, improve eyesight and much more! This versatile fruit can be eaten in a variety of ways, from spreading it on toast to dicing it in salads to even using it in baking!
Last, but not least, is our curve ball. Chia seeds may seem like a trendy health food, and they are, but they don’t have to be difficult to include in your diet. Chia seeds are an amazing source of fiber, protein, Omega 3s, and antioxidants. What’s more, they are flavorless and so they can be added to literally any meal. Chia seeds can be sprinkled over yogurt, added to cereals, smoothies, soups – anything! When soaked in water the seeds will become gelatinous and are slightly easier to digest and blend, but you don’t have to soak them before using them. Doing so just gives them a little more versatility in use.