Superfoods: Food as Medicine
Superfoods is a recent term often used to classify foods that offer tremendous dietary and healing potential. They are nutritionally dense, thus represent a uniquely promising piece of the nutritional puzzle.
Put differently, superfoods are potent sources of essential fatty and amino acids. They also have antioxidants, enzymes, minerals, vitamins, clean protein, good fats and oils, and other nutrients. Best of all, these foods deliver anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. These are the aspects that help protect against arthritis, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and even depression.
Although the benefits of superfoods are wide-ranging, you need to keep in mind that not all food used as medicine are created equal. They are different and do not provide the same benefits. That’s why you need to use different food as medicine in your diet. Here are everyday superfoods to use in your diet.
Legumes, or pulses, are rich in fiber, protein, various minerals, and many vitamins. They earn the “food as medicine” label because they help prevent some chronic conditions, such as blood pressure and cholesterol. Due to their ability to improve feelings of fullness, eating legumes often may also support healthy weight loss.
Some of the common legumes include peanuts, peas, lentils, alfalfa, and beans.
Although eggs are known for their high cholesterol content, they emerge as one of the healthiest foods in the nutrition world. They are not only rich in proteins but have nutrients such as phosphorus, iron, vitamin A, selenium, choline, and B vitamins. With all these nutrients eating eggs regularly will help reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
They also contain unique antioxidants, which play a significant role in promoting eye health and protecting vision.
Green tea is a caffeinated beverage with Chinese origin. It is rich in antioxidants, which helps protect your body against chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart diseases. Green tea also contains polyphenolic compounds that have practical anti-inflammatory benefits.
Berries are a nutritional powerhouse of antioxidants, fiber, minerals, and vitamins. They not only help improve digestion but also play a significant role in preventing diseases, cancer, and other inflammatory conditions.
Common berries include, among others, cranberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries. The good thing about berries is that they are ideal to use in a smoothie or on a salad.
Cold Water Fish
Mackerel, sardines, herring, and wild salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are known to help reduce cholesterol, prevent heart disease, and calm the body’s inflammatory response.
Eating cold-water fish 3-4 times a week can also help prevent several inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis and asthma, as well as depression. For those who don’t eat fish, fresh fish oil capsules may be a better alternative.
Dark Green Leafy Vegetables (DGLVs)
Dark green leafy vegetables offer an excellent source of fiber, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc, and folate. What makes many people use this food as medicine is its ability to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.
In the nutrition world, DGLVs include spinach, turnip greens, collard greens, Swiss chard, and kale, to name but a few. They all offer opportunities for a variety of culinary applications. These include adding them to your favorite soups, curries, stir-fries, smoothies, and salads.
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