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Live Healthier With These Everyday Superfoods

The food you eat has a substantial impact on your overall health and it stands true with the saying “You are what you eat.” A healthy body and strong immune system are your only true friends that can save you when bacteria, viruses, or fungi attack!

What Are Superfoods and What are the Benefits Tied to Them?

Superfoods are unprocessed foods that are rich in micronutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These micronutrients are essential for the normal functioning of our bodies.

Antioxidants are chemicals that can neutralize free radicals and prevent damage to the cells. Antioxidants are also known as free radical scavengers.

The body produces free radicals as a by-product during the conversion of food into energy. In high concentrations, these free radicals are capable of damaging cells and genetic material.

The Relationship Amongst Superfoods, Immunity, and Keeping a Well-Balanced Diet

Eating a well-balanced diet is of utmost importance as no single food contains all the nutrients. We should eat a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods. As per WHO, a healthy diet of an adult includes fruits, vegetables, legumes (lentils and beans), nuts, and whole grains (e.g. unprocessed maize, millet, oats, wheat, and brown rice).

Super-Duper foods You Should Include in Your Diet

Amaranth leaves

Amaranth is considered a superfood because it has high nutraceutical value. It contains protein, dietary fibre, flavonoids, vitamins, calcium, iron, and magnesium.

Amaranth possesses anti-inflammatory, cardio-protective, antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-malarial, anti-cancer, and hepatoprotective properties. It also fights ulcers and helps in managing diabetes.

The leaves can be refrigerated in a damp cloth or plastic bag. They can be used whole or torn into bite-size pieces.

Amla

Amla is a small, nutritious fruit low in calories and fats and packed with lots of nutrients.

It is an excellent source of vitamin C, K, B6, and E, and it boosts immunity, helps prevent ageing, and cancer.

It also contains carbohydrates, fibres, fatty acids, zinc, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, selenium, sodium, manganese, chloride, and quercetin.

Amla has antioxidant properties and may be used as supportive therapy for diabetes.

Amla juice is a simple recipe that can serve as a detoxifying drink. For full benefits, drink early in the morning. It can be refrigerated for a few days.

Avocados

Avocados are smooth and creamy fruits with a unique nutrition profile. They are rich in antioxidants. They contain vitamin K, vitamin A, carotene, essential amino acids, copper, potassium, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and phytosterols.

Avocado is a weight-loss-friendly fruit and is helpful in osteoarthritis. It reduces cancer risk.

Avocados can be eaten directly by sprinkling them with a pinch of salt and pepper, or a salad dressing. Place avocados in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days to keep them fresh.

Bell Peppers

These vibrant coloured vegetables not only add to the visual appeal of your dish but also have many health benefits.

They contain zinc, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, vitamin C, vitamin A, and B.

They have a low glycemic index and are good for bones and skin health. They reduce inflammation and help in managing weight. They have numerous antioxidant properties. They are used as immunity boosters.

Bell peppers can be added to many dishes by thinly slicing them. Bell pepper can be kept fresh by placing them in the refrigerator drawer.

Broccoli

This thriving vegetable is a powerhouse of nutrients. It is high in antioxidants, fibre, zinc, iron, phosphorus, vitamin C, B12, and A.

Broccoli is protective against stomach, breast, and intestinal cancers. It is good for the eyes and heart. It possesses anti-inflammatory properties. It is helpful in diabetes and autism.

Broccoli can be eaten raw, steamed, with a dip, or in a salad. Blanching in boiling water gives it a crisp-tender texture. Wrap it loosely in damp paper towels to keep it fresh and store it in the refrigerator.

Red cabbage

Red cabbage is a popular vegetable as it contains phytochemicals, antioxidants, nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Zinc, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, and selenium are some essential components present in cabbage.

Its antioxidants like anthocyanins and indoles are very valuable for human health. It boosts the immune system and helps in weight loss. It is good for the eyes and helpful in Alzheimer’s disease.

This vegetable can be easily added to soups and salads. Cabbage is best-stored whole in a refrigerator.

Carrots

Carrots are a rich source of antioxidants and have many health benefits. Carrots are rich in vitamin A and C, calcium, iron, sodium, and potassium.

- Beta-carotene present in carrots is good for the eyes.

- Carrots reduce blood cholesterol

- Good for cardiovascular health

These can be eaten raw or consumed as juice. Fresh, whole carrots can be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks.

Cauliflower

This cruciferous vegetable is a rich source of vitamin C and a good source of folate. It also contains calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin K.

Cauliflower may improve cardiovascular functioning and may help reduce hypertension. It is useful in nervous disorders.

Eat it raw, cooked, baked, steamed, or roasted. It can be kept in the refrigerator for 4-6 days.

Blueberry

Anthocyanin—the antioxidant present in blueberries—gives the colour as well as anti-inflammatory properties. It is a rich source of potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, fibre, and proteins.

Blueberries improve mental health and cardiovascular health. They also improve memory in older adults.

Dark-Green Leafy Vegetables

Kale and Spinach

Kale contains fibre, antioxidants, calcium, iron vitamin C and K, and many other nutrients. Spinach is a superfood as it contains iron, magnesium, and calcium.

These green leafy vegetables are low in calories and carbohydrates and help in the management of diabetes, asthma, hypertension, and prevent cancer.

These can be added to salads, soups, and stews. Wrap them in a moist paper towel and store them in the refrigerator.

Colocasia

Colocasia contains minerals and vitamins A, C, E, and K. It has anti-cancer properties and lowers blood sugar.

It should be stored in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated place.

Green Radish 

Green radish has more nutrients than white root vegetables.

Vitamins A and C build the immune cells in the body. It treats urinary problems. It also helps in managing diabetes. It controls blood pressure.

Moringa leaves

Moringa leaves are rich in minerals like calcium, potassium, zinc, magnesium, iron, copper, and vitamins A, B, C, D, and E.

They are a potent neuroprotectant and have anti-cancer and anti-diabetic properties. Moringa leaves can treat ear and eye infections, scurvy, bronchitis, etc.  

Mustard Greens and Dill

Mustard green is rich in fibre and micronutrients. It is a rich source of vitamin K and has anti-cancer properties.

Dill is used to treating various ailments, including colic in infants, digestive disorders, and bad breath. It is rich in vitamin A and C, and manganese.

Ginger

The spicy, pungent herb ginger has antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger is rich in protein, iron, and vitamins B, C, and E.

It contains essential oils like gingerol and zingerone. Gingerol has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Zingerone helps prevent diarrhoea.

Onion and Garlic

Onions contain vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium and folate. 

Garlic is a source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, phosphorus, copper, and manganese. 

As per The American Institute of Cancer Research, garlic and onions have antibacterial and antiviral properties. They also possess anti-cancer properties. Allicin present in garlic gives it a pungent taste and has antiviral properties.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms are edible fungi that contain vitamins, minerals, proteins, and antioxidants.

They have anti-cancer properties, help in managing diabetes, and regulate blood pressure. Beta-glucan present in the cell wall of mushrooms helps to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood.

Strawberry and Pomegranate

Fruits are excellent sources of essential vitamins and minerals, and they are high in fibre. Fruits also provide a wide range of health-boosting antioxidants including flavonoids.

Strawberries contain anthocyanins, which are flavonoids that can help boost heart health. The fibre and potassium in strawberries can also support a healthy heart.

Pomegranates have anti-inflammatory effects and may help protect against brain-related diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. This could be attributed to high levels of polyphenols in pomegranate.

Pineapple

Pineapple is a great source of vitamin C, vitamin B, and manganese. Manganese in pineapple promotes bone health. Due to antioxidants, pineapple has anti-cancer properties.

Pomelo and Red Grapes

Pomelo is a nutritious fruit that is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, protein, calcium, potassium, carbohydrates, and dietary fibre.

Grapes and grape juice have antioxidants that help in the normal functioning of the cardiovascular system.

Pumpkin

Pumpkin is a highly nutritious vegetable rich in vitamins and minerals. Beta-carotene gives a vibrant colour to this vegetable, which is a powerful antioxidant. 

Watermelon

Watermelon is a refreshing fruit that is rich in vitamins and minerals. It contains vitamin C and A, magnesium, vitamin B1, B5, carotenoids, and lycopene.

It has anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory properties. It helps in weight management.

Tomato

Tomatoes are the major dietary source of the antioxidant-lycopene, which has many health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.

They are also a great source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K.

Sweet potato

Sweet potatoes are a great source of fibre, vitamins, and minerals. They have cancer-fighting properties and promote gut health.

Turmeric

The active compound in turmeric is curcumin which has anti-inflammatory properties and is a powerful antioxidant. Curcumin plays an important role in protecting your body against cardiovascular diseases.

Tamarind

Tamarind is a heart-friendly fruit. Tamarind is an excellent source of vitamin B, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, iron, thiamine, phosphorus, riboflavin, and fibre.

Conclusion

Superfoods are not magical substances but foods that have the superpower to make you healthy if you consume them in the right amounts along with a balanced diet. There are dozens of them to choose from and incorporate into your diet. Start Pluckk-ing!