There have been lots of talks about “superfoods”, “superfruits” and the like lately, and many people are trying to eat healthier to lose weight, extend lifespan, or just to feel better altogether. Still, there are some foods that have amazing abilities and that will help your body immensely, but are still not widely recognized. In this article we are bringing you fifteen of them. Add them to your grocery list and you’ll see the effects sooner than you would have ever thought.
So why not start with the one you definitely wouldn’t have considered healthy: chocolate. Well, not all chocolates, to be exact. But, eating cacao, or cocoa powder, can actually improve your health big time. Not only is it extremely low on calories (only 15 per teaspoon), it’s also rich in polyphenols, minerals such as iron, potassium, fiber, as well as some proteins. It also contains flavonoids, which is very good at lowering blood pressure and enhancing blood flow to both your heart and your brain. Also, it’s a great myth that it will cause acne – many scientific studies have proved it. So, don’t listen to those saying that chocolate will just make you fat and red in the face. Eat darker chocolates or just make yourself a nice cup of hot chocolate and enjoy yourself while helping your body at the same time.
The plant called maca is only grown on altitudes over 3500m is dried and made into a powder which is nowadays often added to smoothies, protein shakes and similar drinks. According to historians, Inca warriors used to eat this plant before going into battles to increase their energy levels. Incas obviously had some long forgotten knowledge, but we’re happy it’s being rediscovered recently. Maca has been proven to boost energy, strength, stamina and even libido and fertility. Some people even report it helping them with depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, menopause and memory problems. So, it’s worth giving a try, don’t you think?
This one is not as little known as others on our list, but it’s only recently become so popular, so this is for those of you who still didn’t find the time to think about adding it to your grocery list. Here, summed up, are its benefits. First and foremost, its richness in omega-3 acids is what makes it a necessary addition to your diet… especially if you are not a big fan of fish. These are the good fats that’ll keep your brain and nerve functions at their best and, in the meantime, reduce your cholesterol. Other than this, there’s also a lot of calcium placed in these tiny seeds, as well as fibers and proteins. If you are lactose-intolerant, this is the perfect substitute to milk, and if you don’t eat eggs – guess what, use chia seeds for baking instead. By the way, chia seeds are completely tasteless and can go with anything you can imagine, adding health to every meal.
Kefir is kind of a mystery drink when it comes to its origins – nobody knows exactly where it comes from, and many nations try to claim it for themselves, like Mexico, Turkey, and Russia. The thing is, for this article, where it comes from isn’t that important. What matters is how amazingly healthy it is. Basically, it’s a dairy product similar to yoghurt, but a bit silkier and smoother. It’s great for your digestive and immune system, and it’s also great at cleansing your body from different toxins and other impurities. Add a little into your coffee instead of milk, or make a smoothie with it, or make a fruit salad with a health kick from it, or make an ice cream, or… or make your own experiments and don’t hesitate – your body will love you for it.
First, let’s just mention that these berries come from South American Acai Palm, known as the Tree of Life in Brazil… and that’s probably the best description that anybody could have given it. Acai is a definite “superfood” with so many benefits that here we are only going to list the most important ones. Filled with anti-oxidants, acai can help prevent many different types of cancer. It is a great anti-aging nutrient and it’ll boost your immune and digestive systems. When it comes to the cardiovascular system, thanks to the oleic acid it contains, it’s very beneficial both in improving blood circulation and in protecting it from various diseases… and that’s not all! It can also protect your skin from various diseases, such as psoriasis and eczema. It will also strengthen your hair and nails and restore their shine and beauty. There’s really not much left in the body that isn’t affected positively by acai berries, so we think that it’s a must-eat.
Black garlic is similar to regular garlic just… well, black. It’s actually made by maturing the crude garlic (basically – fermentation), and the result is much, much healthier. For instance, it has twice as many anti-oxidants. This means it’s twice as good at reducing tumors. The same thing goes for S-allylcysteine, a derivative of amino acid cysteine which is very good at lowering cholesterol. Black garlic also has many anti-bacterial properties and is capable of reducing or curing different infections. Although you may think it is not as well-known as its white “parent”, it has actually been praised in Asian countries for a very long time. Maybe if we listen to our Asian friends, we’ll be able to live as long and as healthily as they do. Think about it.
Orange is one of the healthiest fruits out there – it and its juices are rich in many vitamins, especially vitamin A and C. They also have lots of antioxidants, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin, which play a very important role in preventing many illnesses caused by old age. Now check out this information: when you squeeze an orange and drink the juice, it may have a smaller number of carotenoids (its antioxidants), but on the other hand they have much better bioaccessibility – in other words, your body can absorb much more of the healthy stuff. In fact, a single serving of orange juice has 200 percent of your body’s vitamin C requirements! It’ll protect you from cancer, boost your immune system, metabolism and circulation, detoxify your body, improve your blood pressure and, reduce signs of aging on your skin… and much more.
In case you never heard of it, guava is a tropical fruit that may look green on the outside, but has a beautiful pinkish-red color on the inside. It tastes kind of acidic, but gets sweeter with every bite you take. Not only does it have a special taste (and that alone could be your reason to try it), guava is actually one of the healthiest plants out there. Its secret component is lycopene – an antioxidant that is great at fighting prostate cancer, for instance – and it has more of it than any other plant, even tomatoes and watermelons. It’s also amazingly rich in potassium (you can find up to 668mg in one cup), as well as fibers (around 9g in every cup). Don’t think that you should peal it to eat it – you’d be losing a lot of vitamin C. In fact, more vitamin C than an orange can hold is hidden inside the rind of guava.
Don’t freak out when we tell you that spirulina is a type of bacteria. It is a good, healthy bacteria (yes, those exist too) and it is more often referred to as blue-green algae. These algae grow in subtropical climates in oceans and salt lakes and they are very healthy, if you’re ready to eat them. Think of it this way: Aztecs are considered a very wise ancient people and they ate it on a regular basis, so maybe you should too. Let’s get down to its nutritional values. One tablespoon (7g) of spirulina contains 4g of proteins (over half of its weight!) Also, when it comes to RDA (recommended dietary allowance) of different vitamins and minerals, this tablespoon will provide you with 11% of vitamin B1, 15% of B2, 4% of B3, as well as 21% of copper and 11% of iron! And, there are also some amounts of magnesium, potassium and manganese – all that with only 20 calories! So, did you say “Wow!”?
If you like Indian food, then you have probably heard of turmeric. But did you hear about how healthy it is? Did you know it is considered a “superfood” or, in this case, a “superspice”? Believe it or not, this spice has been scientifically proven to directly interact with your DNA and RNA, as well as HIV and various proteins in your body. It is capable of modulating about 700 of your genes, as well as 160 psychological pathways… yes, it’s true. As a result of its amazing capabilities, turmeric can cure lung and liver diseases, metabolic and autoimmune disorders, as well as cardiovascular and inflammatory disorders. All of that in a simple spice, you may think, but we should also tell you that it has a long history of use in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. So, pretty much, if you feel bad in any way, just spice up your meals and you may realize you’re starting to feel much better.
Maybe you haven’t heard of these beans, but they are in fact one of the healthiest kinds. Adzuki beans are smaller than black beans and redder when it comes to color, but they are much richer in nutrients. They have a lot of proteins and fibers inside their little bodies that will help your body feel and look much better. We’ve mentioned proteins, but did we say that they have the highest amount of them out of all beans? And that’s not all – they also have the lowest amount of fat and are loaded with zinc, potassium and fibers too. You can use them separately or just add them to some of your salads or meals – they will add a special flavor and a lot of health.
Well, to begin with – it’s a fruit, which means it’s healthy. But, blueberries are, in some ways, healthier than 40 other fruits and vegetables! What we are talking about are, in fact, antioxidants. You have seen a lot of mentions of antioxidants in this article so far, so you know that they are very important and very healthy. Other than them, there’s lots of vitamins and minerals in blueberries too: potassium, calcium, zinc, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamins B6, C and K are among highest rated ones in this fruit. All of these help lower blood pressure, fight obesity, increase bone strength, improve blood sugar, cure many heart diseases, prevent cancer, improve mental health and digestion, and even ward off wrinkles. It seems that there’s not one part of your body that they cannot cure… and it’s pretty much a correct presumption.
Here we have another ancient people vouch for our suggestion – this time it’s the Incas. They used it over three thousand years ago because they knew all the benefits it can bring. If you’ve ever heard of the “Gold of the Incas”, this is it. In one cup you can find 5 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein. That, of course, is not it. There’s also folate, phosphorus, iron, zinc, copper, potassium, magnesium and many other minerals, as well as vitamins E and B. There are also some traces of omega-3 acid. All of these nutrients will help your digestive system, lower your chances of migraines, and much more serious conditions, such as strokes and heart attacks. Quinoa is high in antioxidants and gluten-free, and it can help you lose weight and reduce blood sugar levels. No wonder Inca warriors ate it to increase stamina!
We’ve mentioned lots of fruits, so here is something for veggie-lovers. It is leaf lettuce’s cousin with rainbow stems – looks very nice but it is not as popular. If you choose this one, though, you may get around 700% of your daily vitamin K needs (yes, we wrote the number correctly), as well as 214% of vitamin A needs – all that in just one cup! And in that one cup you’ll consume only 35 calories! It already makes you want to buy it for sure, but there’s more: it has loads of vitamin B6, C and E, potassium, magnesium, iron, manganese and so on. By now, you’re used to all of these minerals showing up in our lists, so let’s also mention some others: riboflavin, niacin, thiamin and pantothenic are also present. Lots of anti-oxidants and all of the above will, no wonder, do wonders to your body, such as: managing diabetes, fighting cancer, lowering blood pressure… and many more.
Good, healthy fats come mainly from nuts, fish, seeds and vegetables. There are two types: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Find the first ones in oils such as olive oil, canola oil and the like, as well as avocados, nuts and sunflowers. Essential, polyunsaturated fats are omega-3 and omega-6 acids, and we’ve mentioned them throughout this article. They are necessary for your body to function, so try to maximize the intake of sardines, soybean, salmon, corn oils, walnuts, canola oil and other foods rich in them. They’ll lower your chances for heart diseases, dementia, arthritis and many other illnesses of today.
All in all, get informed, find out where it’s best to find and eat these health foods, and you can feel good about working towards a long, healthy life.