8 Superfoods That Everyone Should Eat
Everyone has diet advice. “Eat this to lose weight, eat that to build muscle, drink this to perform better in bed…” Sometimes there is truth behind superfood rumors. But even then, many foods are only effective in certain situations. For example, tofu is a great weigh loss food because it is low in fat and packed with protein. However, it also contains a compound that spurs estrogen growth. That’s great if you are a woman because estrogen is a female hormone, but it’s terrible if you are a man.
Here are eight superfoods that should really be on everyone’s menu. These edibles offer universal benefits and won’t interfere with your body’s natural systems. Better yet, they are readily available at almost every supermarket.
This fish has dense-but-lean reddish meat that is packed with protein and is very versatile. Salmon is used in sushi, and it can be baked, broiled, grilled or poached. Also, it is filled with vitamin D and antioxidants, substances that everyone needs (but most people don’t get enough of).
However, salmon’s most powerful ingredient is omega 3 fatty acid. You can think of it as “good fat.” Studies have shown that people who eat foods with omega 3 have a much lower risk of heart disease and have better circulation.
Eggs are often criticized as a high-cholesterol food that should be avoided at all costs. Yes, eggs can cause cholesterol problems, but only if you eat them a lot.
This simple food actually has a lot going for it. Eggs are high in amino acids and vitamin D, they are a low fat source of protein, and they are super easy to prepare. To avoid cholesterol issues, keep your egg intake to one per day. Poached eggs are best because they can be made without oil or butter, but if you use olive oil, frying is ok too.
Speaking of cholesterol, avocados can help your body regulate cholesterol levels so that good cholesterol (a building block for hormones) can be used by your body and bad cholesterol can be flushed out of your system.
Avocados also have something called oleic acid, a compound that helps fight certain types of cancer. It is easy to get the maximum health benefit from avocados because they are best eaten fresh (guacamole, anyone?). This means that you don’t have to risk losing nutrients during the cooking process.
Garlic might not be on the menu if you planning a big date or going for a job interview, but it is arguably the single best thing you can eat if you want to be healthy. Garlic can cure mild inflammation and can also help your immune system fight viruses and infections. A few studies have even shown that garlic can counteract certain types of cancer.
The catch: to get the maximum benefits you need to eat garlic when it is raw or only lightly cooked. You can fight the odor by doing one of the following: 1) eating a couple cloves at night, so the smell can work its way out of your system by morning, 2) chopping it up and putting it in a gel capsule, 3) cutting a clove into a few swallowable pieces so you don’t have to chew it.
Almonds are another food that often gets a bad rap. They are considered too fatty by many diet gurus. However, this popular nut also contains a large amount of protein, fiber and vitamin E. These substances are good for your heart, and they can also help fight aging.
Because of their protein content, almonds are actually a good snack food. They make you feel full faster than chips or crackers. And, like all hard nuts, most of the calories and fat are not digested. This means that almonds are actually not the diet-killers that they are sometimes made out to be.
Raw or flash-frozen blueberries contain antioxidants. These substances boost your immune system and fight the causes of aging. Since your body is able to absorb foods better than tablets, many people even consider blueberries a better source of antioxidants than vitamin supplements.
Blueberries are the most potent option, but raspberries, blackberries and strawberries also have similar health benefits.
This little-known grain is a great substitute for bread and other carb-rich foods. Quinoa has more protein than standard grains, so it leaves you feeling more full than, say, rice.
And Quinoa is high in dietary fiber. This makes it possible to get toxins out of your body. (A bowl of quinoa in the morning is a great hangover cure because it fills your stomach and flushes out your system).
Barley is another vitamin-rich grain. It has large amounts of antioxidants, B vitamins and dietary fiber. Like quinoa, it is a low-fat bread substitute that can make you feel fuller than rice.
Because of its minerals and vitamins, barley has been said to fight cancer and diabetes, and also be beneficial to people with allergies and repertory illnesses.
These 8 foods are easy to find at any supermarket, and they are pretty simple to prepare as well.
About Josh Lew Josh Lew lives in the Midwestern US when he is not traveling. He is a columnist for Gadling and has contributed to Hackwriters and Skive Magazine.