What if you could reduce your cholesterol, reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer and improve your mood, with no side effects? These powerful superfoods are available right now at your local supermarket! What exactly is a superfood? It is a nutrient-dense food packed with vitamins and minerals designed to keep you healthy! It is fairly well-known that blueberries, broccoli, olive oil and tomatoes fall into this category, but here are five more superfoods that you may not have heard of (and an added bonus, they are all vegan!)
Goji Berries – Try these in anything that you would put raisins in: oatmeal, cookies, yogurt, ice cream, salads, trail mix, or by themselves. These berries are very rich in antioxidants and vitamin A, and have been suggested to fend off Alzheimer’s. They contain 18 amino acids and over 20 trace minerals and vitamins, such as zinc, iron, phosphorous, riboflavin (B12), vitamin E and carotenoids, and offer more vitamin C per ounce than an orange, and more beta-carotene than a carrot.
Amaranth Seeds – Amaranth is very versatile; it can be cooked as a cereal, like oatmeal, ground into flour, popped like popcorn, sprouted, or toasted. It can easily be mixed with other whole grains, and added to stir-fry or to soups and stews as a nutrient dense thickening agent. Amaranth is high in protein, folate and B6, as well as fiber. It contains vitamin C, and supposedly reduces cholesterol.
Mangosteen – A mangosteen is a fruit that grows on evergreen trees, and is grown mainly in Southeast Asia. Mangosteens are often used in Thai cooking, but can be eaten plain as well. The fruit itself is rich in vitamins A and C, and contains cancer-fighting antioxidants.
Chia Seeds – Chia seeds have a very subtle taste, making it easy to add them to many different dishes. You can sprinkle them onto salads, and sandwiches, or into soups. You can even drink your chia seeds in smoothies and other beverages. Chia seeds have and abundance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, protein, vitamin B complex, biotin calcium, potassium and fiber.
Flax Seeds – Flax seeds, like chia seeds, can be sprinkled onto several types of foods, and are great in baking. They are fiber packed, have omega-3s and lignans, and can help fend off cancer.
Remember, the word “superfood” does not mean “drop-everything-and-eat-only-this-food,” as many have come to believe by clever ad campaigns. These are simply foods that you may want to incorporate into your diet, whether to fill a gap, or as a substitute for an old stand-by. Don’t get crazy – always eat a balanced diet!