You hit the gym, take your vitamins and watch what you eat. You fill your shopping cart each week with the usual fruits and veggies, but your shopping cart may be missing some valuable superfoods.
In addition to your favorite foods, hit up the supermarket for some superfoods – healthy and delicious.
Beets. Think of these roots as the red spinach, packed with folate and betaine that help lower your blood levels of homocysteine, an inflammatory compound that can damage your arteries and may increase your risk of heart disease. Be sure to eat your beets fresh and raw, not from a jar or cooked (heating beets decreases their antioxidant power). An extra health boost: You can eat the leaves and stems, which are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants (cut off the stems just below the point where the leaves start and wash thoroughly).
Cabbage. More popular in European and Asian diets, cabbage needs a new look. Just one cup of cabbage has only 22 calories and is loaded with plenty of nutrients. Topping that list is sulforphane, a chemical that increases your body’s production of enzymes that may reduce your risk of cancer. How to eat it? Put cabbage on your burgers or try an Asian-style slaw as a sandwich topping or side salad.
Guava. This tropical fruit has a higher concentration of lycopene (an antioxidant that may help fight prostate cancer) than any other plant food including tomatoes and watermelon. In addition, one cup of guava provides 688 milligrams of potassium – 63 percent more than a medium banana! This fruit packs almost nine grams of fiber in every cup. You can eat the entire fruit – from the rind to the seeds. In fact, the rind alone has more vitamin C than you’ll find in the flesh of an orange.
Goji berries. With a taste that’s like a cross between a cranberry and a cherry, this chewy, raisin-size fruit has been used as a medicinal food in Tibet for more than 1,700 years. Goji berries have one of the highest ORAC ratings (a method of measuring antioxidant power) of any fruit, and scientists have found that, in testing with rats, the sugars that make this berry sweet reduce insulin resistance – a risk factor in diabetes. Add dried or fresh goji berries to plain yogurt or add them to your oatmeal or cereal.
Dried plums. Okay, so you may know them as prunes, but they contain high amounts of neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acids, antioxidants that are effective at combating the superoxide anion radical (this free radical causes structural damage to your cells). Eat dried plums as an appetizer or even on their own.
Pumpkin seeds. It doesn’t have to be Halloween to enjoy this most nutritious part of the pumpkin. Simply put, eating pumpkin seeds is the easiest way to consume more magnesium. To up your magnesium intake, all you have to do is eat the seeds whole (the shells provide extra fiber). You’ll find pumpkin seeds in the snack or health-food sections of your grocery store, next to other seeds and nuts.
Getting healthy never tasted so good!