9 Superfoods That Could Save Your Life By Melissa Pheterson
Posted Feb 19 2010 5:06pm
Fill Up on These Powerfoods
These nine superfoods – which include fats, carbs (gasp!) and even chocolate! – will infuse you with energy, help prevent disease and can help you look younger and potentially add years on to your life.
“No wonder Valentine’s chocolates come in heart-shaped boxes,” says Deborah A. Klein, author of 200 Superfoods That Will Save Your Life (McGraw Hill).. Dark chocolate has been shown to protect your ticker by lowering
blood pressure, with antioxidants to boost immunity. “Twenty semi-sweet chocolate chips can satisfy your chocolate cravings so that you don’t give in to a while chocolate bar.” Toss a Ziploc-full in the freezer, then enjoy without guilt. After all, it’s your life.
More Cheese, Please
Part-skim ricotta cheese is a delicious way to strengthen your bones, according to Klein, while rebuilding muscles and organs. “This low-sodium, high-calcium protein source is a great replacement for cream cheese.” Spread on waffles and toast with a sprinkle on cinnamon, or fold into spaghetti sauce to bolster the protein component of a pasta meal.
Sweet on Potatoes
There’s a reason sweet potatoes rank the most nutritious of all vegetables. “Their levels of Vitamin A are off-the-charts,” says Klein. “They’re also a disease-prevention powerhouse food,” rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. And they’re a great form of starch, supplying the glucose needed to fuel our brain, muscles and organs. It’s a tasty reminder not to cut carbs; they’re essential to optimal health.
Hot for Health
Hot peppers add zest to your dinner while punching up immunity, says Klein. The source of their heat, called capsaicin, plays a role in curbing obesity, fighting cancer and diabetes, and inhibiting the nasty bacteria that induce stomach ulcers. Remember to wear disposable gloves when handling these hotties in the kitchen.
“Turnip greens are a great food for heart, bone and eye health,” says Klein. Packed with vitamins, antioxidants and even calcium, turnips bolster the linings of blood vessels to keep blood pumping efficiently, deterring any hardening of the arteries that might lead to heart disease.
Boasting all the virtues of seafood without the excess mercury, low-calorie haddock nourishes the brain with omega-3 fatty acids and destroys the triglycerides that threaten heart health. This white fish also has anti-inflammatory properties and helps slash the risk of hypertension, says Klein. Its quick-cooking fillets make for an easy weeknight dinner.
It’s crunch time! This fiber-filled fruit can reduce allergic reactions, protect against cancer and diabetes, lower cholesterol and relieve both constipation and diarrhea. No wonder it’s the teacher’s pet. And with the range of varieties in the markets, from teasingly tart to super-sweet, you’re bound to find the apple of your eye.
“Walnuts are the supreme heart health food,” says Klein, citing their rich supply of omega-3 fatty acids. “Enjoy a quarter-cup a few times per week for high-fiber satisfaction, protein and great anti-inflammatory power.” Walnuts also provide ellagic acid, a potential trove of anticancer prevention.
Blueberries, Berry Good
Last, but certainly not least are blueberries. They’re actually ranked first in antioxidants among all other fruits and vegetables, blueberries are “high-octane fuel” for the body’s health, says Klein. Blueberries also prevent bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract walls, helping avoid those dreaded UTIs.