Eating a well balanced diet is good for your physical and mental health. Certain foods pack such a nutritional punch that they can help ward off inflammation, heart disease and even the common cold. Foods that are very nutritionally dense are often called superfoods. These particular foods contain concentrated amounts of antioxidants, fiber and valuable nutrients that help support heart and brain health. Here are 6 disease fighting superfoods that should be added to your regular meal plan.
- Berries – It’s no surprise that these brightly colored fruits top the list of antioxidant rich foods. Antioxidants help neutralize cell damaging free radicals. Free radicals come from pollution in the air and processed substances in food. Blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries can be found fresh or frozen year round. They are a delicious fruit to eat on a daily basis.
- Leafy greens – The vitamin C, beta-carotene, folate and magnesium in dark leafy greens help prevent type 2 diabetes and a host of other health concerns. Salad, stir fry and veggie based meals help support weight management and fight off various types of cancer.
- Legumes – Beans, chickpeas, lentils and peas are plant based proteins that help lower bad cholesterol and prevent heart disease. Whether canned or dried, legumes offer a surplus of folic acid and iron. Beans are an inexpensive plant based protein that go great in soups, salads and dips.
- Whole grains – The vital components of whole grains like folic acid, fiber and B vitamins are often processed out of refined white grains. It’s important to choose whole grain breads, rice, quinoa and oats. These important natural substances help lower cholesterol and maintain our digestive health.
- Fatty fish – Adding just two servings of fatty fish to your weekly meal plan can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Fish is a lower calorie protein compared to red meat and poultry. Tuna, salmon and halibut all contain omega 3 fatty acids which are the key components to lowing the risk of blood clots and promoting heart health.