Superfoods are nutrient dense foods that help you fight disease, feel more energetic and lose weight. These “wonderfoods” contain extra-large doses of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can help us ward off diseases and live longer, healthier lives.
These nutrients include antioxidants, thought to ward off cancer, healthy fats to help prevent heart disease and fibre to guard against diabetes and digestive issues.
Superfoods do not have to be exotic or expensive. You may be surprised to hear that you are eating superfoods on a regular basis.
Here are my three top superfoods with tips on how you can make them even more super!
Tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene which can help lower the risk of stroke and heart disease. They also contain flavonols which are anti-inflammatory compounds that can help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. These nutrients are concentrated largely just under the skin.
Once picked, tomatoes will continue to ripen and become sweeter, more aromatic, redder and thus higher in lycopene. If tomatoes are stored at room temperature they can almost double their lycopene levels. So, if you can, it is best not to store tomatoes in the fridge.
Have you ever noticed how cooked tomatoes in sauces and casseroles will stain plastic storage containers whereas chopped fresh tomatoes do not? This is because heating the tomatoes can more than double the amount of bright red lycopene available.
Heating the tomato not only breaks open the cells to release the pigment, but is also transforms the lycopene molecules from hard-to-absorb crystals to a much more soluble form that is easier for your body to absorb.
Leafy greens are one of the most nutrient dense superfoods available. They are packed with the antioxidants called carotenes, and they are great in green smoothies.
The darker the leaf, the higher the levels of carotenes. Kale has higher carotenes than iceberg lettuce (up to 50% more) as well as higher levels of vitamin K and C.
Random facts on salad leaves: Polyphenols are protective antioxidants that are excellent in decreasing any inflammation. Many of these protective compounds are generated at sites of injury to the greens to help shield their tissues from further damage.
You create this injury to your greens every time you slice or tear your greens when preparing a salad or green smoothie. Create your smoothie the night before or cut up your leafy greens and place in a sealed container the night before, and its polyphenol levels can increase up to 50% overnight.
Due to the high level of fibre in apples, they help to make you feel fuller for longer. Half of all the antioxidants, including vitamins A and C, plus an antioxidant called quercetin, are found in the skin, as well as half the fibre, so hold off on peeling the apples and eat them with the skin intact.
Fun facts about apples: Thanks to their high levels of boron, apples can help improve your memory, mental alertness, and strengthen bones. Apples are 25% air, which is why they float in water.
For more information on the health benefits of apples for women 50+ click here. Other superfoods include Kiwi fruit, eggs, goji berries and blueberries, just to name a few.
What is your favorite healthy food? Do you have a favourite superfood that you would like to share? Or do you have a question concerning a superfood you would like to know more about? Please share in the comments below.
Tags Healthy Eating