We all hear about the importance of healthy eating, but why? What do we gain from eating more fruits and vegetables? Well, here’s a list of 10 “super foods” that can give you some serious health benefits when added to your diet. I listed just a few of the benefits found in them, because they are packed full of nutrients! Besides sharing what and why you should eat these foods, I also included potential snacks to make with them! All of these snacks are definitely worth a try in my opinion.
1. Chia seeds- Add to breakfast smoothies or in Greek yogurt. 2 tablespoons have double the antioxidants found in blueberries, 41% of your daily fiber, 100% more omega 3 fatty acids than salmon. Omega 3 lowers cholesterol levels, boosts brainpower, and improves blood vessel functions. Chia seeds are amazing!
2. Blackberries- Blackberries make a delicious treat, especially when they are juicy and in season. Try a handful with cottage cheese, or with yogurt and granola or sliced almonds. Blackberries provide excellent source of iron and Vitamin K. Vitamin K prevents blood clotting and strengthens your bones.
3. Grapes- Have you tried frozen grapes? A healthy snack when you’re craving something cold. My roommate and I always eat these after we work out. Grapes are anti-inflammatory, stimulate your metabolism, and improve your vision. They also contain Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, and C.
4. Tomatoes- Sprinkle a slice with mozzarella, garlic, basil, and olive oil. These contain beta-carotene that protects against sun damage. These colorful fruits also contain Vitamin A to improve vision and reduce risk of macular degeneration in your eyes.
5. Oatmeal- Add cinnamon, honey, and bananas to oatmeal for breakfast! (And always eat breakfast!) Oatmeal has high levels of soluble fiber, which makes you feel full longer, and controls blood sugar levels. Oatmeal also has 5 grams of protein for ½ cup, and it is low calorie! I used to really hate oatmeal, but over the years I’ve come to love it and now I have it for breakfast almost every morning.
6. Avocadoes- I wish avocadoes were in season all year, they are one of my favorite snacks. Sprinkle half an avocado with garlic salt and olive oil for a quick and filling snack. They are rich in Vitamin E, which gives you healthier hair and skin- who doesn’t want that?! They also contain 35% more potassium than a banana. Avocadoes have more natural fiber than any other fruit- so you feel full longer. Natural fiber also aids in digestion and helps regulate blood sugar.
7. Kale-Sauté it first to bring out flavor, then add pine nuts, cranberries, and lemon-flavored dressing. Kale increases your metabolism and helps detoxify your liver and kidneys. It contains iron, Vitamins A and C, calcium, and is anti-inflammatory.
8. Sweet potatoes- Slice and drizzle with olive oil and bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese after. Sweet potatoes possess high levels of fiber and beta carotene. Those nutrients promote a healthy digestive tract, they and contain Vitamin C. Vitamin C boosts your immune system and your skin because it produces collagen.
9. Apples- Try with carob ships and peanut butter as a filling snack. Apples contain phyto-chemicals plus solid doses of flavonoids and carotenoids which lower disease risk and protect against cancer. They protect against osteoporosis, cataracts, and diabetes because of the antioxidants and high levels of soluble fiber.
10. Quinoa- Try it with black beans, corn, and salsa. It contains amino acids- the building blocks of protein (thank you high school biology for that fact). Quinoa is high in iron and calcium for strong bones. This grain also has riboflavin to improve your metabolism and energy production. It has twice as much fiber as other grains and carbs with a low glycemic index, so your body can convert it and use it without storing the carbs as fat.
Which of these are you going to try? Is there another super food that you love to snack on or cook in meals?