You’ve all heard of the superfoods in the spotlight, but you might be walking past some unsung heroes in the supermarket without even knowing. Yes, Kale, avocados, berries, and broccoli are all great! But here are 8 superfoods that have amazing bodily effects, and are easy to find but you aren’t eating yet.
1) Brazil nuts
Every health nut knows the benefits of almonds, but what about the cousin of almonds, the brazil nut! These nuts contain many essential minerals, fats, and even protein. This particular superfood is very high in selenium, which is usually found in soil and is naturally hard to find in diets. Selenium is an essential component of thyroid health. The selenium can also help slow the rate of age-related mental decline and could reduce the risk of heart-related conditions. That being said selenium can be toxic in very high dosages, therefore the maximum amount of brazil nuts recommended is 4, but it would take eating approximately 50 brazil nuts to cause an issue. Just one brazil nut contains more than your daily dose of selenium. You can find brazil nuts at your supermarket and select varieties of mixed nuts.
The next superfood you might already have in your spice drawer is turmeric. This spice is yellow in colour and has wonderful health impacts. Similar to ginger the spice is actually a root. It is smaller than ginger but while ginger is cut, turmeric is ground into a fine powder. The first benefit of turmeric is its anti-inflammatory properties. While acute inflammation can be good for the body (prevent bacteria from taking over), constant low-level inflammation is related to many long term western diseases like Alzheimer’s, heart disease and many other degenerative conditions. So next time you’re making a soup, potatoes, eggs, or anything else, spice up your recipe with some turmeric. Turmeric can even be made into a warm drink similar to tea (as pictured).
While mushrooms get a bad rap sometimes, it doesn’t discredit the fact that they are a sodium-free, fat-free, and cholesterol-free food. What’s better, mushrooms are also low in calories and packed with vitamins and fiber. Mushrooms come in so many different varieties, each can be worked into diets differently. Add button mushrooms to a stirfry, enoki to a pad thai, or opt for a meat-free portobello burger. Mushrooms are packed with antioxidants, an ingredient that can protect uncharged molecules in the body that harm healthy cells and can cause cancer.
You definitely walk past the dairy section of the grocery store not even knowing that kefir is there! Kefir is a milk derivative and is thinner than yogurt. It can be consumed as a drink, snuck into smoothies, or even eaten with granola and fruits. If you are looking for probiotics, look no further. Kefir is higher in probiotics than any yogurt; probiotics are necessary for gut health, weight management, and even mental health. Not to mention probiotics are a powerful antibacterial within the body, attacking E-Coli and salmonella. Kefir is also a source of calcium, great for bone density, and teeth health. Maybe next time you’re grocery shopping, moo-ve to the dairy section and pick up some kefir.
Seaweed, something you don’t really want to feel on your toes when you’re out swimming in the water, but maybe you want to eat it when it’s prepared. Seaweed is a staple in many Asian foods like pho, ramen, and sushi. Yes, you’re probably thinking of the nori sheets or seaweed sheets that hold your sushi together, but do you know the health benefits of it? Seaweed absorbs so many nutrients from the sea, think of it at the kale of the ocean. Seaweed has tons of fiber and antioxidants packed into a tiny 29 calorie snack. Seaweed also contains iodine which like selenium in brazil nuts can help maintain thyroid health. Iodine also can help neurodevelopment when pregnant, however consult your doctor to be sure it’s safe. Not sure where to get your seaweed dose? Almost all sushi is made with seaweed, seaweed salad, and most stores sell prepackaged seaweed (watch the sodium) that you can even crumble onto salads.
Lentils are a special legume, and relatively inexpensive. These secret superfood warriors are packed with cholesterol-fighting agents, protein, and fiber. With 9g of protein per serving it’s hard to question why they’re a staple in vegetarian diets. These small legumes are hardy, filling, and have a good amount of potassium and iron making them the perfect meat substitute. Add them to a soup or eat them spiced with some bread, or even make a salad. Honestly, the possibilities are endless; they are so versatile and tasty, they can be easily added into any diet.
You might be eating papaya already, but you could be missing out on plenty of nutrients packed into the seeds. Papayas alone are packed with vitamin A- a component of eye health. Papayas have also long been known to have skin and anti-aging properties. When eaten, you’ll get an antioxidant boost with vitamins A, C, and E. Papaya is also found in some skincare products because it has AHA, a natural element that removes dead skin and promotes cell turnover, a critical component to glowing skin. But what about the seeds? Like any seed, papaya seeds are loaded with fiber, a key to digestive health. Papaya seeds also aid in kidney function and can even reduce menstrual pain.
8) Flax seeds
Flax seeds have so many beneficial uses that barely anyone knows about. Note that our bodies can’t break down the hard exterior of flax seeds naturally so the seeds need to be milled or crushed in order to reap the benefits. But once they are, the benefits are endless. Flax seeds are high in Omega-3 which is a component in brain health. Flax seeds are also an incredible source of dietary fiber and high-quality protein. They can even help maintain blood sugar levels in diabetics! So start adding these little superheroes to your diet. They can be used as an egg replacement in vegan recipes because once prepared they congeal in the same way an egg is naturally. Flax seeds are also great in smoothies or oatmeal. Aside from health impacts flax seeds can be made into a natural and nutritive hair gel!
So after reading about these 8 secret superfoods, which are you most shocked about, and which ones are you going to pick up at your grocery store?
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