"Superfoods" are becoming increasingly popular to add to your diet. Everyone knows the basic superfoods, like acai berry, salmon, and spinach, but here are a few superfoods you may not have heard of before.
Rich and overflowing with anthocyanins, which are the plant compounds that give black carrots their gorgeous color as well as their health benefits. Also an antioxidant, this functional food is not one you will want to miss. Try juicing them for a beautiful, purple colored beverage rich in healthy phytochemicals. You won't regret adding this super food to your diet.
Particularly the green dwarf variety, coconut water contains biologically active compounds that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capabilities. Coconut water has been used historically to treat diarrhea and for rehydration purposes. It might help people who have diabetes type 2, as diabetic rats who consumed coconut water had decreased HbA1c levels, and better blood glucose stability than control diabetic animals. Try buying a whole green coconut, which usually have holes in the top that you can pop a straw through, and drink the water straight from inside!
A bit like a cucumber mixed with a watermelon, this pickle-shaped vegetable has some incredible health benefits. Studies have shown that consuming an extract of bitter melon has helped people with Type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar better. A little bitter, this melon is best when picked early, and can be sautéed or sliced atop salads.
According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data gathered in the United States from 2001-2008, individuals who consumed avocadoes typically overall had better diet quality and nutrient intakes, not to mention a much lower risk of having metabolic syndrome. They also had lower body weight, and smaller waists, making avocado a true super food for weight loss. Avocado-eaters overall had better HDL or healthy cholesterol levels, than people who didn't eat the yummy green goody. Try slicing some avocado on your next sandwich, instead of mayonnaise, for a creamy condiment.
This food is a relative of wild cabbage, and has been consumed in India for thousands of years. Just like broccoli, this is a cruciferous vegetable, with anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory properties. You can find both red and green kohlrabi, and both of these varieties also have an anticancer effect as well. Sautee these just like you would cabbage or broccoli, just some water and salt and steam will do the trick!
People who consumed lemongrass tea every day for 1 month had lower systolic blood pressure levels overall at the end of the study. How does this work? Lemongrass tea appears to have a diuretic effect, which could reduce water retention. If you are not a fan of tea, try adding a stick of lemongrass to your next batch of chicken noodle soup. It's rather fibrous, so you don't want to eat the stem, but rather allow the lemongrass to infuse into your soup to flavor it.
6-shogaol, which is one of the active components of ginger root, can actually impair cancer development and progression of lung metastasis. How? It inhibits the secretion of a chemokine, which causes your cancer cells to remain cancerous. Other uses of ginger include treatment of knee pain in people who have osteoarthritis, reduction of prostate cancer, as well as promotion of healing from aspirin-induced stomach ulcers. It's super easy to grate ginger atop salads, add to fresh salad dressing, brew a ginger tea, or eat what comes with your sushi plate. You can also add it to your next stir fry meal.
If you're cholesterol levels could use a little work, these little seeds might work wonders for you. Chia seeds-yes, the same ones that are used to grow a chia pet-are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, which is why they can improve your lipid profile. This makes them a true super food for your diet. Chia seeds need the opportunity to absorb water to improve digestion. Soak them in coconut or almond milk, and add some papaya slices for a tropical treat you can eat with a spoon! Or add them to your next smoothie once you've already blended, and the chia seeds will soak up all the fruity goodness.
This fragrant spice is a polyphenol derived from turmeric, which is a member of the ginger family. Curcumin has been used as a culinary spice and therapeutic in India for thousands of years, forming one of the components of the well-known blend called "curry". It is antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antiangiogenic, and most importantly antitumorigenic. Curcumin actually prevents tumor invasion and metastasis in all kinds of cancer, such as lung, liver, stomach, colon, breast, and esophageal. Sprinkle curcumin on grilled meats, add to salad dressings or tomato sauces for a delicious ethnic flavor. Curcumin is truly a super food that's here to stay.