We are what we eat—there is no denying this. If your goal is optimal health, avoid processed foods like the plague, and instead only eat fresh foods cooked using unprocessed ingredients.
In recent years, there has been an overuse of the word “superfoods”, a reference to foods that are extremely healthy. Walk down the aisle of any supermarket and you will find a bunch of pre-processed shelved foods next to each other with “super-healthy” labels.
However, how healthy can processed foods actually be? Processing denatures nutrients and as a result, the nutritional value of packaged food is far less than the real food. For this reason, try to stick with fresh foods and organic foods as far as possible.
Here is our list of top 5 superfoods, foods rich in a wide variety of nutrients and which can easily be included in any diet.
1. Organic Pastured Eggs
Pastured eggs (also called free-range eggs) are a great source of many nutrients which many people have deficiency of. One egg offers you:
• As many as 9 essential amino acids
• Zeaxanthin and Lutein (both of which are good for the eyes)
• High-quality proteins, nutrients which are important not only for building body tissues but also for their repair and maintenance.
• Chlorine (important for brain health and for nervous system and cardiovascular system)
• Vitamin B12
Soft-boiled as well as poached eggs are the best as they are as closer to the raw thing.
2. Raw Grass-fed Organic Yogurt or Kefir
Including yogurt or kefir is a great way to improve your energy levels and strengthen immunity. Kefir is extremely rich in good bacteria (probiotics).
Food preservation through lacto-fermentation is an ancient way of preserving food. Lacto-fermentation, besides preserving food, also makes the digestion of food easier and results in a substantial increase of the healthy flora in the digestive tract.
Maintaining a healthy balance of gut flora is very important from many aspects. For sure it helps improve digestion, but it does a lot more than that. Probiotics ensures the body’s various systems are kept healthy. Probiotics also helps the immune system differentiate between antigens that are not harmful and those that are harmful. This, in turn, ensures that the immune system does not over-react to harmless antigens unnecessarily which is the root cause of allergies.
By maintaining gut flora balance in the intestinal tract, probiotics can also help you to control your weight and reduce your risk to Diabetes Type 2 and mood disorders.
Pasteurized products DO NOT offer these benefits as the healthy enzymes are destroyed in the pasteurization process.
Apart from being rich in probiotics, fermented kefir is also an excellent source of:
• Beneficial yeast
• Essential amino acids (like tryptophan which has proven to relax the nervous system)
• Vitamin K
• Vitamin B1, B2, and B7
As fermented kefir provides plentiful amounts of vitamin B, it helps in maintaining optimal function of the liver, nervous system, and kidneys. This promotes longevity and healthy-looking skin.
Phosphorus, abundently present in fermented kefir, plays a key role in the optimal utilization of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats for cell growth.
Kefir is very easy to make just like yogurt. Kefir has many strains of healthy bacteria that are absent in yogurt, like Leuconostoc, Lactobacillus Caucasus, Streptococcus species, and Acetobacter species.
Avocados are an outstanding source of healthy raw fat and about 20 essential nutrients, the top ones being the following:
• Vitamin E and
• Folic acid
Even though avocados have a high fat content, it is surprisingly a good choice for anyone wanting to lose weight. This is because it promotes a feeling of fullness. You are likely to consume fewer calories in your subsequent meal if you had eaten avocado for the previous meal.
In addition to being a good weight-loss food, the avocado is also beneficial to heart health. It helps reduce the level of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, both of which when present in excess are a risk factor of heart disease.
Avocados are also rich in two important antioxidants: lutein and zeaxanthin. These two antioxidants have been found to be helpful in prevention of macular degeneration, which is the number one cause of severe vision loss in those who are over 60 years of age.
4. Raw Organic Almonds
Apart from being rich in plant components and phytochemicals, almonds are an excellent source of the following essential nutrients:
• Vitamin E
As almonds are rich in proteins and fiber, both of which fills you up easily, they serve as a good weight loss food. In one study, participants who ate 3 ounces of this healthy nut every day lost over 60% more weight than those on a low-calorie diet.
In addition to aiding weight loss, almonds are effective in lowering the level of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in the blood. LDL, as you may know, is associated with heart disease.
Magnesium is important for controlling blood sugar. For this reason, eating a handful of nuts daily is recommended for those with Diabetes Type 2 or who have an increased risk factor to this condition.
Another important health benefit of almonds is their ability to increase good bacteria in the intestinal tract, which in turn helps improve digestion as well as reduce the risk of several conditions and improve overall health.