Thursday, May 23, 2013

9 Super Foods You Should Be Eating

An article by Renee Haxby reminding us of the healthiest foods to add to our diet.

I speak a lot about the importance of Super foods in my diet and how vital they are to my health and well-being. At 51 years of age, I believe it’s necessary for me to focus on a diet that is rich in antioxidants that help me combat free radical damage and the aging process. I’ve found that since I’ve grown older, I’ve become more aware of all I can do to remain healthy. As we age, certain aspects of our health and vitality diminish, and we must make an even greater effort to take responsibility for our health.

Free radicals are atoms that have lost their electron and are now single and unpaired. Under normal conditions our bodies can fight free radicals, but when antioxidants are unavailable, or free radical production becomes excessive, cell damage will occur. Free radicals accumulate with age and damage becomes cumulative over time. Free radical damage speeds up the internals and visible signs of aging. That’s one good reason for me to consume as many fresh antioxidant rich foods as I can. Here are some of my favorites!

1. Green tea is naturally high in antioxidants. Matcha is ceremonial-grade Japanese tea that is much higher in natural antioxidants, catechins, and chlorophyll, which support overall cleansing and health. When you drink Matcha, you increase alertness and metabolism, improve concentration and relieve stress, and provide protection of cells from oxidative damage. Tea is high in flavonoids, an antioxidant that has been shown to protect cells from certain types of cancer and heart disease.

2. Fresh Eggs are an inexpensive source of high-quality protein and provide the nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin, which may help to reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration. There are also sufficient sources of choline, which may enhance memory. I prefer farm-fresh and fertilized eggs from my hen house, but YOU can buy them from your local farmer’s market.

3. Oatmeal is a highly water-soluble grain that fills you up, while it stabilizes blood sugar levels and helps to clear cholesterol from your body. Serve oatmeal with any fruit you prefer. Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and black berries are an excellent choice because they are packed full of antioxidants.

4. Pineapple, Papaya and Grapefruit are high in enzymes that help us digest the foods we eat. Healthy digestion is important for preventing disease and maintaining energy levels. Enzymes assist the body in breaking down foods into blocks of molecules that can be used to fuel the body. These three foods are also very high in other nutrient rich vitamins and minerals that keep us strong and healthy.

5. Cacao beans are one of God's many gifts to human health. Cacao beans are extremely high in flavonoids, especially epicatechin, which benefits the cardiovascular system and seems to fend off cancer. Raw cacao is very high in nutrients and minerals such as; sulfur, zinc, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and Omega 3’s. They’re so high in antioxidants that people have said drinking raw cacao brings on magical health. Neurotransmitter functions are increased and serotonin production stimulates the brain to produce endorphins. Cacao also stimulates the production of Nacylethanolamides that temporarily increase anandamides in the brain, which “make us feel good.”

6. Goji berries, Blue berries, Raspberries, Acai berries, Cranberries, Strawberries, and Cherries are my favorite berries that are super high in antioxidant nutrients. These berries help to prevent many cancers and also fight heart disease, boost the immune system, lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and also reduce blood glucose levels. Berries high in Vitamin A and Beta carotene protects healthy vision and help fight age-related macular degeneration, which leads to blindness. Goji berries have been shown to help doctors treat the onset of Alzheimer’s.

MyAchingKnees comment:  Yes, fresh berries, better yet organically grown, are great for you but when you buy them in processed food/drink you are wasting your money.  Reminds me of  a lady who tried to get me to buy Goji Juice.  She told me that "people from the Country of Himalaya are living to be over 100 years old because they drink Goji juice."  I said, "first of all the country is Nepal,...the Himalaya's are the Mountain range that transects the country.  Second of all, the natives are not drinking Goji Juice brand,...they are living long because they grow and eat their own foods for the most part, live in a much less toxic environment and lead physical lifestyles....and third of all, a quality Red Wine (not Mad Dog or Old Smiley) has ten times the ORAC rating of Goji and similiar juices, and in fact, dark Grape Juice has a much higher ORAC score."  Anyway, the goodness of any of the Super Foods you eat are dependent upon how you get them:  fresh or processed.    

7. Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that is rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids. Spirulina is high in antioxidants and gamma linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid. Studies have suggested that Spirulina actually increases production of antibodies, infection-fighting proteins, and other cells that improve immunity to ward off infection and chronic illnesses. Spirulina is made up of 62% amino acids. Spirulina has also been proven to boost the production of good bacteria, or “probiotics.”

8. Wheat grass increases red blood cell count and lowers blood pressure. It cleanses the blood, organs, and the gastrointestinal tract of waste bi-products. Wheat grass has been known to stimulate the metabolism and the thyroid gland. It acts as a powerful detoxifier of the liver and other body organs, while reducing acidity in the blood. The enzymes and amino acids in Wheat grass can protect the body from harmful carcinogens and toxins in the environment by neutralizing them. Wheat grass is also loaded with Chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is remarkably similar to our body’s hemoglobin because it transports oxygen in the blood. There are really too many benefits to list in the use of Wheat grass to treat the human body internally and externally.

9. Nuts and seeds are excellent ways to add healthy proteins and fats to our diets, while acting as powerful immune boosters, too! Some of my favorite nuts to eat by themselves or add to oatmeal are: almonds, cashews, walnuts, and hazelnuts. I add flax, chia, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds to my cereals, too. The healthy oils in nuts and seeds are packed full of Omega 3s, vitamin Bs, magnesium, potassium, copper and iron.

If you were to walk into my kitchen at any time, on any given day, you would find these Superfood sources in abundance! I love to shop for fresh and healthy foods that I consider to be super. To pass my test, you’ve got to be good and I believe these are some of the most simple, inexpensive, nutrient rich foods you can buy.

I genuinely hope that you will find these food choices just as delicious as I do. I want to see you become encouraged and willing to make those first steps towards a happier and healthier lifestyle.

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