Health awareness is increasing and so is the demand for healthy and nutritious food choices. Arguably, many prepackaged and processed food options unnecessarily pollute the can-be-simple process of providing our bodies with nutrition. In response, many people look to whole, raw foods that have traditional appreciation. Here are four incredible superfoods that can benefit just about anyone’s diet.
Best Superfoods for Your Diet
1. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are a traditional food in central and South America and, yes, these are the same seeds known for the association with the Chia Pet. However, more than an answer to ceramic statue baldness, chia seeds are very nutritious and loaded with protein, amino acids, and omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. They have a very mild flavor that is slightly nutty but mostly neutral. Chia seeds can be eaten alone or added to smoothies, protein shakes, yogurt, cereal, or salads.
When they’re hydrated or mixed with water they form a gel-like consistency. As an ingredient alternative for your favorite recipes, chia seed gel can replace as much as 25 percent of oil or eggs and produce a more nutritious product without sacrificing flavor or texture.
2. Goji Berries
Goji berries have been a component of traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Goji berries are one of several exotic berries, including pomegranates, mangosteens, and acai, that have become very popular in recent years and rightfully so- these things are packed with healthy goodness and loaded with antioxidants.
A Swiss study found that a 90-day goji berry supplementation plan increases antioxidant levels and offers elderly subjects an edge against macular degeneration. Additionally, National Taiwan University conducted a study that found goji berries might help protect diabetics from diabetes-induced eye damage.
Goji berries are available dried or as a juice and are great as a standalone snack, added to recipes, or sprinkled onto a salad. When selecting goji berries, always go organic and also know that wild grown berries have been shown to contain higher antioxidant levels than berries that have been cultivated.
3. Coconut Water
In classic Indian culture, the coconut palm is called "Kalpavriksha," or, "the all giving tree" because the fruit and coconut water offer many therapeutic benefits to human health. Coconut water contains a unique composition of sugars, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and phytohormones. This healthy blend gives coconut water hydration capabilities that have gotten it a lot of attention as being a healthy, natural alternative to sugar-laden sports drinks. It makes sense, coconut water has less sugar, acidity, and calories than soft drinks. Coconut water is also higher in electrolytes. When you’ve been exercising and sweating, you’ve lost more than water and rehydrating with more than water is necessary. Persons who consume it after exercising often experience less uncomfortable "fullness" than with regular water, soft drinks, or sports beverages.
Simply put, coconut water is a natural refreshing beverage that is better for your teeth and better for your health. Next time you’re faced with the decision of coconut water vs. a sports drink, try the coconut water!
Enjoyed by people all over the world, mulberries are delicious and nutritious. They are a great source of protein, vitamin C and K, fiber, and iron. Additionally, mulberries are a great source of the antioxidant resveratrol. Research published by the University of Texas Health Science Center credits resveratrol for positive effects on age and longevity. Mulberries also contain alkaloids that activate macrophages, the white blood cells that stimulate the immune system.
Enjoy mulberries as a snack all by themselves or add them to your favorite trail mix. If you live in a warm climate and are lucky enough to have mulberry trees nearby, you can enjoy the fruit fresh off the tree!
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.