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Superfoods to Super Health

Açaí Berries

Açaí is super high in antioxidant.  Açaí’s ORAC level (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) is 102,700 ? mol TE/100g, which is 55x more antioxidants than red grapes (ORAC  1,837 ? mol TE/100g), your apples, bananas and even blueberries!

Acai also contains phytosterols which promotes cardiovascular and digestive health. Açaí has high in vitamin B, K, potassium and manganese content, promoting muscle health. The fatty acid content in açaí resembles that of olive oil, and is rich in oleic and linoleic acids – essential omega fatty acids – crucial for healthy skin and hair. Acai also contains almost perfect essential amino acid complex in conjunction with valuable trace minerals, vital to proper muscle contraction and regeneration.

 

Apple

Apple is easy to cut, juice, store, affordable, buy and available all year-round. Its high vitamin C content (8.37 mg in 1 small apple/14% of DV according to whfoods) can also enhance absorption of non-heme iron. Recent research has shown that polyphenols in apples can help regulate blood sugar, preventing inflammation.  Apples can decrease oxidation of cell membrane fats and improve our cardiovascular health.1 small apple also provides us with about 8 milligrams of vitamin C (14% of DV). Coupled with flavonoids in the fruit, this also helps us regulate blood sugar.

 

Alfalfa Sprouts

According to USDA, alfafa sprout is also a great source of protein, Vitamin A, Niacin and Calcium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Folate, Pantothenic Acid, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc, Copper and Manganese.

 

Almonds

Almonds are the ultimate protein powerhouse. A quarter-cup of almonds contains 7.62 grams—more protein than is provided by the typical egg, which contains 5.54 grams. Almonds are a very good source of vitamin E, manganese, and a good source of magnesium, copper, riboflavin (vitamin B2), and phosphorus. The vitamin E found in almonds can provide antioxidant action, and almond’s monounsaturated fats can lower LDL cholesterol.

 

Avocado

Avocado is relatively low-carb , with c. 19% of its calories from carbs. It’s also low in sugar and falls very low on the glycemic index (some may even assign zero GI value to this super fruit). At the same time, 1 cup of avocado provides about 7-8 grams of dietary fiber, allowing the fruit to promote blood sugar regulation. Avocado contains all 18 essential amino acids and is high in protein!

Avocado also contains lots of good fat, most of which are phytosterols, which support our inflammatory system and keeps inflammation under control. Avocado contains  polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols (PFAs) that is anti-inflammatory. Avocado also contains an unusually high amount of a fatty acid called oleic acid, which helps our digestive tract form transport molecules for fat that can increase our absorption of fat-soluble nutrients like carotenoids.

Avocado also contains vitamins C and E, and the minerals manganese, selenium, and zinc, which are all benefit to healthy skin, bones, hair and nail.

Furthermore, avocado contains plenty of carotenoid antioxidants, boosting eye health and fighting free radicals. Avocado’s oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid, makes it easier for the optimal absorption of  fat-soluble beta-carotene, which are plentiful in fruit such as mangoes.

 

Banana

Banana is one of our best sources for potassium, and contains high DV of vitamin B6 and manganese. Potassium plays an essential role in muscle function, and helps regulate the balance of fluid in the body to help prevent muscle cramps. Cramps are generally caused by potassium deficiency. Vitamin B6 helps metabolize protein by converting the proteins in our diet into the amino acids that make up our muscles. It reduces muscle pain. Manganese helps in our bone development, wound healing and allows us to helps our body metabolize foods in our diet, which is particularly important for athletes allowing them to absorb sufficient nutrients to fuel their workouts.

 

Beet

Beet contains betalains, pigments that give beets their rich colors and can function as antioxidants and prevents inflammation. Beets are also very good source of vitamin C and manganese. According to whfoods, “the betalin pigments present in beets have repeatedly been shown to support activity in our body’s Phase 2 detoxification process. Phase 2 is the metabolic step that our cells use to hook activated, unwanted toxic substances up with small nutrient groups.”

 

Bell Peppers

Sweet bell peppers are crunchy and tangy, and are colorful ornaments to dishes. They are members of the nightshade family, which also includes potatoes, tomatoes and eggplant. Peppers are high in carotenoids. A recent study from Spain took a close look vitamin C, vitamin E, and six of these carotenoids (alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin) in all commonly eaten foods and found that only two vegetables contained at least two-thirds of all the listed nutrients. One of these foods was tomato, and the other was sweet bell pepper! Bell peppers also contain health-supportive sulfur compounds, contained in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, and enzymes that may also help prevent cancer and protect the eyes from cataracts and macular degeneration (lutein).

 

Black Garlic

Black garlic is high in protein, potassium and anti-oxidant levels.

 

Blueberries

Blueberries contain powerful anthocyanins, a form of antioxidants, which protects against high blood pressure. Blueberries also promote eye and brain health. Given berries’ low GI index, they help regulate blood sugar and provides carbohydrates that sustain you and can boost your mood. New studies make it clear that we can freeze blueberries without doing damage to their delicate anthocyanin antioxidants which makes it easier to store these perishable fruits. 

 

Buckwheat

Buckwheat contains essential amino acids lysine and arginine, and its unique amino acid profile gives buckwheat the power to boost the protein value of beans and cereal grains eaten the same day.  Buckwheat also contains no gluten—the source of protein in true grains—and is safe for people with gluten allergy or celiac disease.

 

Carob

Carob is high in protein, and contains tannins that are rich in gallic acid, which provides anti-allergic, antiseptic and anti-bacterial benefits. It is also anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer.

Carob is rich in insoluble fibre and polyphenolslowering LDL (the bad cholesterol), promoting digestive and heart health, and are high in anti-oxidants, and hence a beauty food too. Carob is also high in potassium and magnesium, promoting muscle health. Carob also an alkaline food, helping us balance our acidic levels.

 

Coconut Milk

Even though coconut milk contains a high level of saturated fats, these fats can actually speed up your metabolism, enhance athletic performance, and in turn boost weight loss.

The saturated fats found in coconut milk are mainly short and medium chain fatty acids (MCT), which are usually not stored by the body as fats, but have been found to provide instant energy to the body. MCT are easily digested and utilized as nourishment in the body, without putting much strain on the digestive system and boosting energy to accelerate healing.  This is why people who are recovering from illness and injuries may find that coconut milk particularly useful. Furthermore, lauric acid, a form of medium chain fatty acids found in coconut milk, also exhibitsantibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties, boosting immune system.

Coconut milk contains high level of magnesium and phosphorus, supporting bone health, regulating blood sugar, and normalizing blood pressure.

Coconut milk is also high in iron so it maybe beneficial for vegetarians to consume coconut milk on a regular basis to prevent anemia.

 

Chia Seeds

Chia is the richest plant based source of Omega 3, dietary fibre, protein, vitamin, and antioxidants.  It also contains a right ratio of amino acids and essential fats. According to Dr. Perricone, indigenous population in Central America would use chia as a food source, and the seeds would sustain their energy and blood sugar levels that they could sometimes run over 100 miles in a few days.

 

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a rich source of plant-based medium-chain fatty acids or medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which tends to digest quickly, producing energy, stimulating the metabolism and improving athletic performance.

 

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil is a good source of oleic acid, which increases level of HDL, the healthy cholesterol, and decreases level of unhealthy LDL cholesterol. Olive oil is also high in polyphenols, which are anti-inflammatory. According to Dr. Perricone, extra virgin olive oil can improve digestion, stimulate bone growth, and has significant anti-aging benefits.

 

Galangal 

Galangal is believed to have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. It is also believe to be a rich source of iron, vitamin C and A. Its taste is not as strong as ginger’s taste, and is a unique ingredient from Asia, making this ingredients perfect for fusion recipes!

 

Grapefruit

Grapefruit contains high level of vitamin C, which protects skin by fighting free radicals, and boosts our immune system, and vitamin A, which protects cells and tissues from free radicals and oxidative damage which accelerates aging. It is also a good source of dietary fiber, potassium, vitamin B1, vitamin B5, liminoids and lycopene.

 

Humus

Humus is also a protein powerhouse! According to whfoods.com, humus is good source of heart-healthy folate, muscle-building protein, digestive-supportive dietary fiber, antioxidant-promoting copper, and energy-producing phosphorus and iron…a.k.a. this  a great food to fuel your workout!

 

Lemongrass

Lemongrass is native to India and tropical Asia and has a subtle citrus yet slightly “minty” flavor that is very distinct. Lemongrass is also a rich source of iron, which transports oxygen into your body through your red blood cells. This nutrient is particularly important for athletes, because iron can be excreted through sweat, and muscles need iron to transport oxygen to muscles which is crucial when you’re working out! Without sufficient iron, you may feel fatigued! Lemongrass also contains high potassium contentwhich prevents muscle cramps during/after working out!

 

Lychee

Lychee is a great source of Vitamin C.  According to USDA, 100 g fresh fruits provide 72 mg or over 100% of DV.  It provides protection against free-radical damage, and assist in iron absorption. Lychee is also a good source of vitamin B-complex, copper, phosphorus, and potassium. The April 2011 issue of the “British Journal of Nutrition” states oligonol in lychee acts as an antioxidant by protecting the body from the inflammatory process caused by free radicals, and prevents excess fatty deposit build-up in the liver.

 

Mangosteen

Mangosteens are packed with antioxidants, xanthone, and flavonoids, and are great source of dietary fibre.

 

Mango

Mangoes also good source of Dietary Fiber and Vitamin B6, and a very good source of Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Vitamin A and C have great antioxidant properties for beautiful skin and a great fruit to help your skin recuperate especially after sun-burn.

 

Mint

Peppermint is a good source of vitamin A, C, and manganese.

 

Oyster Mushroom

Oyster mushroom is a natural source of the cholesterol fighting statins, contains 5-10x higher vitamin B3 content versus other any other vegetable and is good protein source. While oyster mushrooms are fat & cholesterol free, the calcium, phosphorous and iron content in oyster mushrooms maybe approximately double the amount available in beef, pork and chicken meat.

 

Pistachio

According to the Journal of Nutrition, “pistachios are high in lutein, beta-carotene and gamma-tocopherol relative to other nuts.”  a.k.a. Pistachio is high in vitamin A and vitamin E. Lutein, commonly found in dark green leafy vegetables, is important for vision and healthy skin.

 

Quinoa

Quinoa contains high protein content, and its lysine and isoleucine content allows the protein in quinoa to serve as a complete protein sourceThis means that quinoa has the amino acids your body needs and can help you rebuild muscles especially after a strenuous workout.

 

Raw Cacao

Raw cacao is non-alkalinized and contains flavanols, a powerful antioxidant (alkalinization reduces the amount of flavanols in cacao).  According to a study in the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry” published in 2011, cacao may lower LDL, the bad cholesterol, levels.  Cacao also contains high level of magnesium, helping your bone health, and high level of vitamin C. However, processing of chocolate will kill the vitamins.  Cacao contains anandamide that helps you feel good and makes you feel like you’re falling in love!

 

Sesame Seeds

Not only are sesame seeds a good source of minerals such as protein, vitamin B1, dietary fiber, copper, manganese, magnesium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, selenium and zinc, they taste amazing and go well with most foods, giving it an Asian-fusion zing. Magnesium, iron and potassium all help with muscle cramps.

 

Spinach

Spinach is high in magnesium, vitamin A, and iron. Magnesium supplementation can increase testosterone level in sedentary individuals, based on research findings from the March 2010 issue of the journal “Biological Trace Element Research.”  Iron helps oxygenation of tissues which increases energy level.

 

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are  great source of beta-carotene, which our body converts to vitamin A  (retinol). Beta-carotene act as potent antioxidants, protecting cells and tissues from free radicals and oxidative damage which accelerates aging and causes diseases such as cancer.  Sweet potato is also a great source of vitamin C, which protects skin by fighting free radicals. According to Reader’s Digest, British Researchers found that vitamin C–rich foods reduced the risk of significant wrinkles by 36 percent. Sweet potatoes also contain high manganese content, which protect your cells from free-radical damage and maintains normal blood sugar level. Sweet potato is also a good source of copper, dietary fiber, niacin, vitamin B6, B5, B3, and potassium. Boiling  sweet potatoes has also been shown to have a more favorable impact on blood sugar regulation and to provide the plant with a lower glycemic index (GI) value.

 

Swiss Chard

Chard is one of the most powerful anti-oxidant vegetables out there, which is also why chard is oh-so-colorful!  Chard contains phytonutrient antioxidants, ranging from carotenoids like beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin to flavonoids like quercetin and kaempferol. One of the primary flavonoids found in the leaves of chard is a flavonoid called syringic acid, which may help regulate blood sugar.

Three dozen antioxidant phytonutrients have also been identified in chard, including betalains and epoxyxanthophylls. Betalains, which are also found in beets, have been shown to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification properties.  Both reddish-purple betacyanin pigments as well as yellowish betaxanthin pigments in the betalain family are found in chard. Chard is also an excellent source of vitamins K, C, E, beta-carotene (Vitamin A), magnesium, manganese, potassium and iron, and a good source of the mineral zinc, providing us uber-antioxidant properties, regulating our blood sugar, as well as maintaining our eye and bone health.

 

Tomato

Tomatoes are also an excellent source of vitamin C, A and K, and very good source of potassium, vitamin B6, folate, dietary fiber, manganese, magnesium, niacin, vitamin E, iron, vitamin B1, and phosphorus, protein and copper! Tomatoes are rich in carotenoid, protecting cells and tissues from free radicals and oxidative damage which accelerates aging.