Top Ten Super Foods
Exceptionally rich in heart-healthy omega-3, walnuts made history in 2004 when they became the first food that the FDA allowed to make a qualified health claim: “Supportive but not conclusive research shows that eating 1.5 oz of walnuts per day, as part of a low saturated fat and low cholesterol diet, and not resulting in increased caloric intake may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease."
Among the fruits with the highest level of antioxidants, blueberries have been linked to lowering cholesterol, reducing diabetes risk, slowing the aging process, improving motor skills and supporting urinary and vision health. The compound, anthocynanin, gives blueberries their color and may be the main component of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Buy fresh from mid to late summer and frozen at Costco and Trader Joes for less than $2 a lbs. Eat a cup a day.
Low in calories and saturated fat, and rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, salmon has certainly received a lot of press this past decade. Research showing anti-inflammatory and cancer prevention properties are impressive. Its role in diabetes and Alzheimer’s prevention as well as its overwhelming cardiovascular benefits makes this fish a winner in every category. Look for wild salmon vs. farmed to avoid contaminants such as PCBs. Eat as much as you like.
Study after study seems to support the benefits of including green tea in your daily life. Studies are pointing towards its cancer risk reducing properties, its potential in decreasing incidence of stroke and heart disease, and its role in reducing inflammation associated with several types of IBD (inflammatory bowel disease). More recent research is indicating that green tea may help prevent type two diabetes and osteoporosis. 1-5 cups a day.
Loaded with vitamins such as A, B-6, B-12, and K and minerals such as calcium and potassium, broccoli is continuing to earn top honors as a nutritional superstar. Its unique claim to fame comes from its cancer-fighting properties, activated by phytochemicals indole-3-carbinol and sulforaphane. Organic and local produce may be more expensive but it is well worth the investment. A study at Oregon State University found that Organic Broccoli had over four times the amount of potential cancer fighting nutrients than non-organic broccoli. Eat as much as you like.
Turmeric, (anti-inflammatory and may reduce cancer risk and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s),cinnamon (studies show it can help lower cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar), and ginger(supports digestive health, is anti-inflammatory, and looks promising for cancer prevention) were stars of the decade, reminding us that flavoring our foods beyond salt and pepper can add great taste as well as outstanding health benefits.
The pomegranate has been long revered as a symbol of fertility and abundance. In modern times, the focus has shifted to its remarkable health benefits. Rich in antioxidants, the pomegranate research has shown its promise in reducing heart disease, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, and reducing the risk of certain types of cancer. Eat as much as you like.
This decade brought us the guilt-reducing research showing us how chocolate, yes, chocolate, could actually be considered a health food. Benefits to our cardiovascular system and our moods have been researched, as well as cancer-protective properties and mood-enhancing effects. Buy Fair trade or small production to avoid contamination of allergens and "other" substances. Eat small amounts
Lactofermented foods such as homemade or unpasturized pickles, saurekraut and kimchi greatly enhance the nutritional value and digestability of these foods along with the fresh foos they are eaten with. Go to http://www.wildfermentation.com/ for more information.
In addition to protein, vitamins such as B-2 and B-12, minerals such as calcium and magnesium, yogurt consumers also enjoy the benefits of probiotics. Probiotics are known as the “good bacteria” that can reside in the intestines, offering immune and digestive support. Research has shown improved vaginal health among women consuming yogurt, and the cholesterol-lowering properties of yogurt look promising. Plain yogurt with active cultures such as locally produced Nancy's is recommended. Eat up to a cup a day.
For more information visit: The World’s Healthiest Foods web site:www.whfoods.com
The majority of this list gleaned from the original by Patricia Fitzgerald
Wellness Editor, Licensed Acupuncturist, Cert. Clinical Nutritionist, Homeopath, Author