We all want to live long, healthy lives and as the old saying goes, “You are what you eat!” What you put into your personal fuel tank makes a difference on many levels, from your skin to bone density and cholesterol levels. Here are 10 “super foods” to incorporate into the entire family’s diet plan for life!
1. Apples: An apple a day …! Apples contain zero cholesterol, are low in calories and are a good source of fiber, which helps in regulation of bowel movements. Its antioxidant properties have been linked with a reduction in colon, lung, prostate and bladder cancers. Studies also suggest that apples even aid in quicker hair growth!
2. Avocados: Forget the “fattening” aspects of these green fruit Gods! Avocados are actually packed with the good type of fats , MUFAs ( mono unsaturated fatty acids), which actually lower cholesterol levels. Avocado consumption is also linked to better heart health, glowing skin and stroke prevention on account of its many nutrients – like folate and other antioxidants.
3. Pomegranates: Pomegranates are the new blueberries! Jam-packed with vitamin C and other antioxidants, pomegranate seeds and pomegranate juice ( make sure you get the stuff that is NOT from concentrate) have proven to be helpful in reducing cholesterol, erectile dysfunction, heart disease, and even in the reduction of breast cancer.
4. Broccoli: This super vegetable beats out all of its leafy buddies as the most healthful! According to WebMD, broccoli tops the list of foods that prevent colon cancer and contains powerful chemical agents that protect against other cancers as well. It also has substantial amounts of vitamin c and calcium, and tastes great with just a dash of heart-healthy olive oil!
5. Almonds: Just a handful of these friendly nuts and you have consumed a good amount of fiber, magnesium and vitamin E. Another big bonus: Almonds contain the good fats, MUFAs, proven to lower cholesterol levels and some say even work to eliminate stubborn belly fat! Almond milk is also a great alternative to soy and regular milk.
6. Pumpkin: We all love to carve them -- and should start eating them more often as well! Pumpkins are low in sugar, low in carbohydrates, packed with vitamin A, high in antioxidants, vitamin C and potassium. Don’t forget the seeds – which also boast high levels of magnesium, zinc and other vitamins!
7. Oatmeal: Quaker Oats has done a great job promoting the fact that eating oatmeal each day lowers cholesterol levels greatly, thanks to its high fiber levels. It’s also a great source of protein and vitamin E. One thing to watch out for: Some of the pre-packaged, flavored oatmeal is high in sugar. The best thing to do is buy the plain oats and add fruit and some honey for a bit of sweetness.
8. Sweet Potato: Bake up a batch of sweet potato fries and you will be serving the family serious doses of fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, carotenoids and potassium. Enough said!
9. Salmon: High in protein and low in saturated fat, salmon is a great choice for your main course. They are also extremely high in omega 3 fatty acids, which have been proven to help reduce heart disease, strokes and even Alzheimer’s disease.
10. Yogurt: Many brands of the tart snack, which kids love, contain live cultures/probiotics, commonly referred to as “good bacteria, “which aids in proper digestion. Yogurt is also a wonderful source of protein, fiber and calcium. Watch out for the high sugar content in some brands!