By Jerry Del Priore
Much has been written and said about Superfoods, a marketing term used to hype certain foods with conceived health benefits.
Supposed benefits aside, there are certain fantastic foods that are rich in proteins and complex carbs as well as power-packed with vitamins, minerals and other healthful components such as flavonoids – phytonutrients (plant chemicals) found in almost all fruits and vegetables that many have several health benefits, including fighting viruses, cancer, inflammation and allergies.
Below are nine such nutrient-rich foods:
One cup of uncooked amaranth contains 298 mg of bone-building calcium, 519 mg of magnesium, 15 mg of iron, 18 grams of fiber, ample amounts of B vitamins, fatty acids and 26 grams of protein, more than any other gluten-free grain.
An alternative to Quinoa, one cup of raw Teff boasts 519 milligrams of magnesium, and is a good source of iron and phosphorus. Plus, low in sodium and saturated fat, is gluten-free and high in filling fiber, which is helpful in curbing your appetite.
One cup of chickpeas yields 15 grams of easy-to-breakdown protein, a good source of iron and fiber, a trivial amount of fat and loads of B vitamins, which is important for metabolizing food for energy.
Your mother was right when she told you to eat your broccoli. A cooked cup of this green veggie contains 102 mg of vitamin C. Plus, it has a healthy amount of calcium, potassium, vitamin B6 and vitamin A.
In addition, broccoli is packed with the aforementioned phytochemicals – substances that provide plants with its color, smell and flavor. Research has shown that they may have several health properties, such as boosting the immune system and preventing cancer.
Sweet Potatoes –
Not only tasty, the colorful root vegetable is high in vitamin B6, a good source of vitamin C, D, and the minerals iron, magnesium and potassium (100 grams contain 337mg).
Furthermore, sweet potatoes are high in carotenoids — vibrant plant pigments, some of which the body can convert to vitamin A — that are potent antioxidants that may ward off some types of cancer and heart disease. It may also work to increase your immune response to a contagion (infection).
Plus, it has a low glycemic effect, meaning, though it’s sweet-tasting, its complex carbs do not spike the blood glucose level.
Almond Nuts –
Almonds are high in the minerals magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron, zinc, and selenium, as well as vitamin E (25 mg per 100 grams), and the B complex vitamins.
Plus, almonds are abundant in mono-unsaturated fatty acids like oleic, and palmitoleic acids that help in lowering LDL (bad cholesterol) and increasing HDL (good cholesterol) in the human body.
Be mindful, however, that the nut is high in calories, for people on a low-calorie diet.
For starters, Kale is one of my favorite leafy greens, and is low in calories, high in fiber, and boast zero fat. Not bad, right?
But it gets better: one cup of Kale contains 80 mg of vitamin C. The green veggie is also a good source of calcium, high in iron, vitamins K, A, and has a decent amount of omega-3 fatty acids.
In addition, kale is stacked with carotenoids and flavonoids.
The orange gourd is rich in fiber, and contains an ample amount of beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is vital for eye health and assists the retina in absorbing and processing light.
Additionally, pumpkin boasts lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that are believed to help avert cataracts and may even slow the development of macular degeneration – a deteriorating eye condition.
Pumpkin Seeds –
As healthy as the pumpkin itself is, so is its seed, which contain an abundance of nutritious nutrients.
One ounce (28-gram) serving sports: 1.7 grams of fiber, five grams of carbs, seven grams of protein, 13 grams of fat (six of which are omega-6s). Plus, 18 percent of the RDI or DV (Dietary Reference Intake or Daily Vaule, which is regulated by the FDA) of Vitamin K, 33 percent of the RDI of phosphorous, 42 percent of the RDI of manganese, 37 percent of the RDI of magnesium, 23 percent of the RDI of iron, 14 percent of the RDI of zinc, and 19 percent of the RDI of copper.
They also contain lots of antioxidants, and a fair amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids, potassium, vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and folate.
Until next time, get healthy, wealthy and fit (if you’re not already)!