Superfoods. What exactly are they? I'm gonna be real with you—the term itself is one that is used in marketing. Basically, it's a word to let you know when a particular food is so high in nutrients that it's basically off the charts. Well today, I'm gonna take out a moment to share with you 10 foods that make the superfood list. All of them are rich in vitamins and minerals. All of them come with loads of health benefits. And all of them are pretty damn good, both to and for you, from the very moment you put them into your mouth.
If something that you really want to focus more on right through here is being more proactive when it comes to your overall health and well-being, here are some of the foods that will totally have your back. (Oh, and the specific food dishes that I recommend in this? Click on the hyperlinks because they are connected to actual recipes. You can thank me later, chile.)
Here's something that I'll share from personal experience. While my health is actually pretty good, something that I've had for years is a fungal infection. It's resulted in me having more yeast infections back in the day than I would like and even a couple of bouts of tinea versicolor (by the way, I read that a Black woman has recently invented a cream that combats this particular fungal infection; you can get more info on that here). Anyway, what does all of this have to do with this list? Well, while mushrooms are considered to be a superfood, they are also a fungus. Sooooo…if you're also sensitive to fungi, you might wanna pass on (or at least eat less of) 'em.
For everyone else, mushrooms contain all sorts of health benefits. They are packed with antioxidants including selenium. Selenium is dope because it decreases your chances of developing certain cancer cells, helps to prevent heart disease, reduces mental decline, promotes thyroid health and helps to boost your immune system. Some other awesome things about mushrooms is they contain a good amount of vitamins B and D, copper and potassium and the soluble fiber beta glucan which helps to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. If you've got inflammatory issues, mushrooms also have the antioxidant ergothioneine which helps to lower inflammation and, as a bonus, ergothioneine can also slow down aging signs from the inside out. All of these are solid reasons to make yourself some homemade stuffed mushrooms tonight, don't cha think?
2. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are considered to be a "perfect food" because, so much of what our bodies need, on a daily basis, is found in one. For starters, sweet potatoes contain an incredible amount of vitamins A, B, C and E, along with iron, calcium, selenium, choline, magnesium and antioxidants. Every time you eat a sweet potato, you are taking proactive measures to manage your blood sugar, reduce your stress levels, fight bodily inflammation, prevent ulcers and, thanks to the antimicrobial properties that are also in sweet potatoes, they can help to protect your body from the bacteria that can ultimately lead to pneumonia. Not to mention the fact that the Vitamin C in this vegetable can help to produce collagen to give your skin a healthy glow while its Vitamin E can help to keep your skin and hair moisturized. All of this is a good enough reason to make yourself a baked sweet potato or some sweet potato fries ASAP.
Pomegranates are the kind of fruit that you have to get on in the fall, if you want to gain all of the nutrients that it has to offer. That's because pomegranates are at their peak between September thru November (although sometimes you can catch a good batch well into January). Personally, one of my favorite things about them is, in Jewish culture, one of the things that they represent is love and fertility.
However, as far as health benefits go, pomegranates are high in Vitamin C, fatty acids and antioxidants (three times the amount of red wine, in fact). They also contain vitamins E and K, fiber, folate and potassium. Eating pomegranates will help to reduce chronic inflammation, properties that help to prevent breast (and prostate) cancer, arthritis and blood pressure. There are even studies to support that pomegranates can help to improve your memory and reduce oxidative stress, so that it's easier to conceive. All that from a fruit that contains approximately 613 tiny little seeds in them. A great way to get pomegranate power into your system is to drink pomegranate juice (not drink; pure organic juice) which you can usually find in your local grocery store.
4. Bone Broth
As a doula, if there's one thing that I recommend the moms that I work with consume, it's bone broth. Basically, it's the stock that comes from the meaty bones and connective tissue that are left over after doing things like boiling ribs (before baking or grilling) or preparing some homemade chicken soup. The health benefits of bone broth are numerous. The amino acids in bone broth will boost your immune system and help to increase muscle mass. The L-glutamine in it will reduce gut inflammation. The calcium, Vitamin D, zinc and iron will help to keep your bones nice and strong. Also, on the nutrient tip, bone broth contains vitamins A, B, C, K and copper and boron. If you're dehydrated, bone broth's got plenty of electrolytes. Other properties in it can help to improve your quality of sleep, build stronger nails, provide arthritic and joint pain relief and, help to lighten heavy menstrual cycles too.
If you're not a vegetarian or vegan, you can get an easy-to-make recipe for bone broth here. If you happen to not eat meat, there are meat-free alternatives. Click here to make vegetarian bone broth and here to make vegan bone broth.
Often considered to be the "white half-sibling" of broccoli (LOL), cauliflower contains all kinds of great goodness! It's rich in vitamins B, C and K, magnesium, manganese, potassium, fiber and phosphorus. Some valid perks that come with consuming cauliflower is it's the kind of veggie that is low in carbs and gluten-free (which is why so many people enjoy cauliflower rice). Also, it's got antioxidants in it to help fight off free radicals, promote healthy gut bacteria (remember that 80 percent of your immunity is within your gut) and, along with the flavonoids and carotenoids in this veggie, it can also help to keep cancer cells at bay. Cauliflower also contains choline to boost brain health while the iron in it can help your body to better absorb iron if you happen to be anemic or borderline anemic. Plus, the Vitamin K in cauliflower supports long-term bone health. So, how about making a pizza with some cauliflower crust soon?
Arugula is a green that comes from the Mediterranean region. If you've never tasted it before, it has an acquired light peppery taste. Arugula is loaded with calcium, potassium, folate, zinc, iron, phosphorus and vitamins A, C and K. And, while all greens are really good for you, arugula makes the superfood list because it helps to strengthen your heart; keeps free radicals from attacking sensitive areas like your eyes; controls your blood pressure; aids in digestion; speeds up the healing process of skin ailments such as eczema and acne; enhances your athletic performance and, it's an excellent detoxifier. Honestly, that's just the tip of the iceberg (no pun intended) of this green vegetable. Yet if you're someone who enjoys fresh salads, add some arugula to them. You'll literally be eating a multi-vitamin, every time you do it.
Ginger is a spice that, I'd actually be pretty shocked if you didn't know that it's wonderful at treating nausea (or morning sickness, if you're pregnant). Oh, but it does a whole lot more than that. The gingerol that's in it contains powerful medicinal properties. Because of this, ginger can reduce muscular pain and discomfort, lower blood sugar levels, soothe the discomfort that's associated with chronic indigestion and help to relieve menstrual cramps too. As if that's not awesome enough, ginger also helps to hinder the growth of abnormal cells (that could lead to cancer), helps to improve cognitive health and, it can even inhibit the growth of certain bacteria. So, why not treat your body by making yourself a cup of ginger tea? With some honey and lemon, while it's pretty spicy, it's also pretty damn good too.
Pears are another one of those fruits that are best bought and eaten in the fall; that's because they are in season from August thru October. They top the list of being one of the healthiest foods in the world because they are high in fiber, plus they've got a good amount of Vitamin C and copper in them as well.
Thanks to the fiber, they help to promote good gut health. Pears also have plant compounds in them; ones that will help to keep your skin glowing and your vision clear. Since they're also rich in the flavonoid antioxidant, pears can reduce bodily inflammation and help to fight the development of cancer cells. Also, the procyanidin antioxidants in this fruit can improve heart health while the nutrients zeaxanthin and lutein will keep your hair and skin looking and feeling healthy. A pear right out of your fruit bowl is good all on its own, but something that tastes absolutely amazing is fresh pear preserves.
While growing up, something that my mother used to make, fairly often, was buckwheat pancakes. I actually liked them a lot. If you're familiar with buckwheat but you're not exactly sure what it is, it's considered to be a superfood because it's on the whole grain list. It has a good amount of protein and fiber in it, along with a high amount of potassium, phosphorus and magnesium. Some other nutrients that are found in this particular grain include calcium, iron, various kinds of Vitamin B and some Vitamin K too. Because whole grains are linked to good heart health, that's one reason to add buckwheat to your diet. Also, the fiber in it helps to aid in digestion and support weight loss. If you've got diabetes and you want to help to keep it in check, this is a grain that is also a complex carb; complex carbs help to manage glucose levels. And, since buckwheat is gluten-free, you can enjoy it, stress-free, if you happen to be allergic to wheat or barley. All good reasons to give this awesome whole grain a try.
10. Dark Chocolate
There really is no tellin' how many times I've written a health-related article and dark chocolate has gotten a shout-out in it. That's because it's the kind of food that is just that bomb! It's really high in fiber, manganese, copper, iron and magnesium. Believe it or not, dark chocolate has some fatty acids and antioxidants in it too. All of these things work together to lower your cholesterol and blood sugar levels, boost your immunity, reduce your heart disease risk, protect your skin from damaging UV rays and improve your cognitive function. Not only that but the theobromine compound (which is found in the cacao plant) along with the chemical phenethylamine that's also in dark chocolate can help to prevent depression.
Also, here's something that's a trip—theobromine has the ability to calm down your vagus nerve. Why does that matter? Your vagus nerve is what causes you to cough whenever your throat is irritated, so basically, dark chocolate serves as a cough suppressant too!
Just make sure that you get the kind of dark chocolate that contains at least 60 percent cocoa because, in order to gain all of these benefits, you need to eat pure dark chocolate, not a Snickers candy bar. Oh, but if you do, you will be partaking in the kind of superfood that will be looking out for you and your overall health and well-being for years to come. So, get to a store and cop you some ASAP. That and the rest of what's on this superfood list, sis!
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