by Successful Aging in Action! | 5.14.19
Superfoods Pack a Punch!
By: Emily Warren, MA and Teresa Amaral Beshwate, MPH
“Shiver me timbers, blow me down!” It was a superfood that launched Popeye, the most famous sailor man, into sudden greatness and simultaneously impressed his lanky love. Perhaps Popeye, famous for saying ‘I’m strong to the finish ‘cause I eats me Spinach’ was the discoverer of superfoods. Does your everyday fare propel you into Popeye-style spinach-powered greatness?
The term superfood was coined by nutritionists in the early twentieth century, but has only recently become commonplace. Superfoods are nutrient dense, especially healthy food choices, meaning that they pack a punch. While superfoods don’t instantaneously produce bulging biceps, they do deliver a variety of notable health benefits.
· Apples are rich in vitamin C which is good for our bones, skin and connective tissue. Vitamin C also helps to promote the absorption of iron. The fiber in apples helps to lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
· Nuts help to lower cholesterol and they have Omega-3 fatty acids which help to keep our hearts healthy. Nuts also contain fiber, which makes a person feel full and helps to prevent diabetes. Nuts contain vitamin E, which helps to stop the development of plaque in arteries.
· Beans are a low-fat source of protein and fiber. Fiber is not only helpful to relieve constipation it also helps to prevent heart disease and diabetes. Additional nutritional benefits included in beans are potassium, iron, zinc, folate and phosphorus.
· Blueberries are a low-calorie food filled with fiber and vitamin C. Studies have shown that blueberries may lower cholesterol, prevent atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), improve short term memory and may even improve bone health.
· Broccoli is a good source of Vitamin C and Vitamin A. It also contains calcium, folate and is a good source of fiber. All this good stuff that is packed into broccoli helps to prevent cell damage. Also, it may prevent heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.
· Salmon is a low-fat protein and an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acid. Salmon has been shown to help lower blood pressure, decrease triglyceride levels, and lower the risk of heart disease. It has also been linked to a reduced risk of colon and breast cancer.
· Sweet Potatoes are packed with vitamins A, C and B-6 in addition to potassium and fiber. Sweet potatoes offer 100% of the daily recommended value of vitamin A - a vitamin which promotes vision and health cell growth. Vitamin A may also prevent some cancers and aid in immune function. Sweet potatoes are fat free and low in calories.
· Quinoa (pronounced Keen-Wa) looks and is eaten like a grain, however, it’s actually a seed. It is a complete protein that is high in iron and calcium.
· Spinach is one of the most nutrient dense foods available. A one-cup serving contains over 20 nutrients and just 40 calories.
· Kiwis contain vitamin C, potassium, fiber and are a decent source of vitamins A and E. Kiwifruit is one of the few fruits and vegetables that contains vitamin E. Vitamin E has been shown to positively impact our immune systems and metabolism.
As French author François La Rochefoucauld eloquently wrote, “To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.” Maybe that’s what Popeye meant when he said, “I yam what I yam.”
Originally published in the Sept/Oct. 2011 Masterpiece Living Mosaic
Written by Successful Aging in Action!
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