By Betty Murray
It’s important to eat a healthy diet every day, but there are some foods—called “superfoods”—that provide even more nutrients and health benefits. It you want to look great and feel great, here are seven superfoods you should eat every day:
Water. Your body needs water to live. Period. You cannot expect your body and its systems to function correctly without water. Every day, through sweat and tears, you lose water, and that water must be replenished. Of course, the best option is to consume pure water, but you may also increase your water intake by consuming food and drinks with high water content (such as tea, cucumber, celery, peppers, lettuce and spinach, strawberries, cabbage, grapefruit, and watermelon).
Greens. Dark, leafy greens, such as spinach and kale are high in vitamins and antioxidants that your body needs to fight illness, stay healthy, be strong, and reach peak function. In addition to kale and spinach, Swiss chard, broccoli, and asparagus are other great green veggies you should incorporate into your diet.
Nuts. In moderation, of course, nuts are an excellent source of healthy fats and polyphenols that promote a healthy heart. They are also high in protein, fiber, monounsaturated fats, and antioxidants, and can help keep your cholesterol low. Some of the best nuts include peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, and some pine nuts.
Blueberries. This sweet, tiny fruit contains more antioxidants that at least 40 other common fruits and vegetables. The antioxidants in blueberries can help protect against heart disease, cancer, memory loss, urinary tract infections, and age-related vision loss.
Garlic. With antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties, garlic is one of the best foods to fight disease and illness. It also has many heart health benefits, and can drastically reduce your risk of cancer. All you need to do is eat at least one clove of garlic a day to get the health benefits of this superfood, so chop or crush it up and add it into your next meal.
Olive oil. Olives contain one of the healthiest fats in the world in their oil. Olive oil lowers bad cholesterol (LDL), raises good cholesterol (HDL), and can protect artery walls from a buildup of cholesterol. Olive oil also contains high amounts of antioxidants. The healthiest olive oils are virgin, extra virgin, or cold-pressed oils.
Flaxseed. If you need to up your fiber intake (and who doesn’t?), eating just a tablespoon or two of ground flaxseed a day will do the trick. Flaxseed is also linked to lower rates of certain hormone-related cancers, including breast cancer. Flaxseed also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help prevent acne and asthma. (Be sure you’re consuming ground flaxseed to get all the health benefits!)
Eat this one superfood with every meal:
Spinach is one (of a handful) of superfoods you could eat with any meal. Because of its subtle taste, spinach is very versatile. Throw it into a smoothie, sauté it with your eggs in the morning, or eat it as a healthy side or salad with your lunch or dinner. The more spinach you can fit into your diet, the healthier you will be. There’s no such thing as too much spinach!
Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.