8 Superfoods That Dramatically Boost Health

8 Superfoods That Dramatically Boost Health
Photo (cc) by @rsseattle

It seems like a new fad diet emerges every day, making it hard to separate fact from fiction. Should you try the paleo diet, or go macrobiotic? Or should you simply drink pressed juice for breakfast, lunch and dinner?

Such diets take a lot of discipline and can be expensive. Some of them also leave out foods generally considered healthy by doctors and dietitians alike.

But eating right doesn’t have to be complicated; just stick with the basics.

The eight superfoods on this list are almost universally acclaimed for their nutritional value. Eating them on a regular basis supports strong bones, aids weight loss, builds your immune system and protects against disease.

1. Broccoli

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Rich in fiber and low in calories, broccoli contains sulforaphane, a cancer-fighting agent. It is also chock-full of vitamins A, C and K. After consuming a sizable portion of this superfood, the fiber should fill you up without packing on the pounds.

Jeanette Bronee, a certified holistic health counselor with Path for Life in New York, told Everyday Health:

Broccoli’s high fiber content aides with digestion and prevents constipation by sweeping out the digestive tract.

2. Flax seeds

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One or two tablespoons of flax seeds sprinkled in your bowl of oatmeal, yogurt or cereal serves as a digestive aid.

According to Livestrong:

[Flax seeds] also supply alpha-linolenic acid, a heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acid, and phytonutrients called lignans that may help protect you from cancer.

3. Sweet potatoes

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According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, sweet potatoes are among the most nutritious vegetables on the planet. They contain alpha and beta carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A, facilitating bone and eye health, and boosting immunity.

4. Black beans

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While large quantities can make you gassy, black beans can protect your heart. Cholesterol that sticks to your artery walls can lead to some pretty serious heart complications, but black beans help soak up that cholesterol, leaving your arteries clean.

Black beans also contain anthocyanins, which may help boost brain function, according to a study out of Tufts University in Boston.

5. Low-fat yogurt

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Yogurt is a great way to give your bones the calcium they need to stay strong. The probiotics in yogurt also help boost digestive health, preventing or helping to alleviate urinary tract infections, ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease and more.

Additionally, yogurt’s active cultures aid the immune and digestive systems.

6. Avocado

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Avocados contain more than 20 vitamins and minerals, along with healthy fats that are good for your brain and for warding off high cholesterol.

Women’s Health magazine contributor and registered dietitian Keri Glassman recommends avocados “because of all the healthy fats and fiber—and of course yummy taste.”

7. Blueberries

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These delicious berries are loaded with antioxidants that help prevent memory loss, heart disease, cancer, urinary tract infections and a host of other medical conditions.

Blueberries also contain a healthy dose of fiber, which can be instrumental in weight loss efforts, notes Eating Well.

They are one of the lowest-sugar fruits, which makes them great for breakfast, when you want to avoid a sugar spike that will have your energy crashing before lunchtime.

8. Salmon

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This tasty fish is a great source of protein and iron. Even more importantly, salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are thought to prevent heart disease and lower the risk of:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Asthma
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Many cancers
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Omega-3 is an essential part of any diet, and oily fish such as salmon are the best source.

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