Striving toward a better, healthier you? That involves exercising regularly, getting enough rest, and eating food that will nourish your body and give you the energy you need. One thing you should definitely do is cut down on junk food and replace them with superfoods that are packed with nutrients and are proven to be especially good for your well-being.
Here are just a few that you can easily incorporate in your daily meals. And while we’re not saying you should have every one of these items every single day, having at least a couple of them daily could put you on the fast track toward healthiness. You may not feel the benefits of these instantly, but your future self will definitely thank you for eating them!
Also known as moringa, malunggay is loaded with vitamins A and C, potassium, protein, calcium, and antioxidants that help prevent heart problems, diabetes, and cancer. These leaves are often served in soups and salads, but you can also add them to pasta or even juice them with other fruits and veggies for an extra-healthy drink. To get your regular fix of these supergreens, grow your own malunggay tree in your garden!
Popeye’s favorite leafy greens are chock-full of vitamin K, which is good for your bones and cardiovascular system; beta-carotene, which keeps your eyes healthy; iron, which boosts your immune system; and tons more nutrients. So don’t forget to toss some spinach into your salad, incorporate it into your omelet, pasta, or soup, or maybe even eat it on its own. If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try baking spinach breads and cakes?
Salmon contains good fat known as Omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential in keeping your heart healthy and strong and in preventing Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, cancer, and arthritis. It’s also a great source of protein without the high calories, so you can enjoy it two to three times a week without feeling guilty. Other alternatives to salmon include sardines, herring, and mackerel.
Kamote or sweet potatoes are a great substitute for your usual white potatoes, since these are rich in anti-inflammatory nutrients, blood-sugar regulating nutrients, and antioxidants. Plus, these are naturally sweet, so you can think twice about adding sugar, butter, or cream to this veggie. Cook up fries, mashes, casseroles, and pies. You may just discover that you no longer crave those fast-food fries.
If you’ve been steering clear of this hearty fruit because of its fat content, know that its benefits far outweigh its drawbacks. It contains monounsaturated fat—another good kind of fat that helps deter diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Also, it’s packed with fiber, protein, and other antioxidants and nutrients that keep your eyes and skin healthy and your heart functioning properly. Eat it on its own, as a dip, or in a salad or sandwich—but limit it to half an avocado a day.
Blueberries are among the best-known superfoods, because they are so rich in antioxidants and phytoflavinoids that protect you from cancer and heart disease and help fight off inflammation. They’re also believed to promote good vision and memory—and they taste delicious too! They’re great on their own or tossed in with your oatmeal or yogurt. Make a daily habit of these tasty fruits, or alternate them with strawberries, cranberries, or even the more exotic acai berries.
For a wholesome snack, munch on a pack of nuts instead of your favorite bag of chips. Nuts are a great one-stop shop for proteins, nutrients, fiber, and vitamins A and E, and they’ll leave you feeling satisfied and energetic. Opt for almonds, walnuts, and pistachios, all of which are said to lower cholesterol and prevent cancer and heart illnesses. Do remember to eat them in moderation, though!