Essential Superfoods to Optimize Your Health
We only have one body, so why not fuel it with the kind of nourishment that encourages optimal health and performance? While the word superfood seems like a gimmicky diet term, they are indeed real. Superfoods are characterized for their many health benefits and should be a staple in your diet if you want to optimize your well being and feel great.
Probably the most popular superfood of them all, blueberries are a great source of antioxidants. Containing over 40 different antioxidants, blueberries can provide your body with the protection necessary to prevent cancer, heart disease, dementia, and muscular prevention. They are also great at providing your cells and skin with proper hydration, keeping them strong and vital (1).
Maybe when you were a kid you’d scrunch up your face and let out a loud groan every time broccoli made its way onto your plate. Trust me, I did too, but you may be keen to know broccoli is packed with tons of antioxidants that are important to include in your dietary toolkit. Sulfur compounds contained in broccoli are powerful at boosting enzymes that protect you from cancer-causing compounds, in addition to boosting your immune system (2). So eat your broccoli!
A versatile drink in its own right, green tea contains high doses of catechin, an antioxidant that has been shown to help prevent cell damage in the body. This compound is also a powerful anti-inflammatory and can be useful for post-workout recovery or injury. Green tea has also been shown to increase metabolism, which can boost weight loss (3).
While eggs have historically been at the forefront of nutritional controversy due to their high cholesterol, research has proven otherwise, showing that eggs remain as one of the healthiest foods. Whole eggs are loaded with tons of essential vitamins and are a great source for high-quality protein. They also are known to contain antioxidants that can promote good vision and eye health (4).
If not for garlic, food would be boring and uninteresting. It’s true! Plus, not only is it packed with flavor and the ability to make a dish 10x better, it is known for its powerful immune boosting properties (5). Some research even shows that garlic plays an important role in preventing certain types of cancer (6).
This potent root has been shown to be effective in treating and managing nausea, pain, and acute and chronic inflammatory conditions (7). Thanks to its versatility, it can be used whole, as an oil or juice, or even in powdered forms, making it easy to fit into your meals.
Being from California, I think we know a thing or two about avocados. Thankfully, our obsession with this beautiful green fruit (yes, it’s a fruit) is totally okay due to it being rich in nutrients, minerals, and healthy fats (8). Its high levels of monounsaturated fats are a powerful anti-inflammatory, and eating them can reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome (9).
One of the principle foods found in the Mediterranean diet, olive oil is another wonderful source of monounsaturated fats. It can reduce inflammation in your body and diminish your risk of developing harmful diseases, and has even been shown to prevent cellular damage (10).
A common staple in Asian cuisine, seaweed has a tremendous source of nutrients including vitamin K, folate, iodine, and fiber. Since seaweed is native to the ocean, it contains unique bioactive compounds not typically found in land-based vegetables that can have powerful antioxidant properties (11).
This striking bright yellow spice originates from India and is widely used for its medicinal benefits. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has highly potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties (12). Studies have shown that it can be effective in treating and preventing chronic disease, and can also aid in wound healing and pain reduction (13).