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Superfoods to the Rescue

June 11, 2012

Imagine a food powerful enough to help you lower your cholesterol, reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer, and as an added bonus, give you the energy to get through a busy day. And unlike prescription drugs, there is no worry about side effects or extreme costs.

If this sounds too good to be true, it isn’t. These life-altering superfoods are available in your local supermarket and they can be mixed into many of your favorite dishes. The superfoods listed below have become increasingly available year-round but are at their nutritional peak from April through July. So stock up on these superfoods this summer and you may just see the benefits for yourself.

PEAS

As a kid, you might have heard mom say “eat your peas” while at the dinner table. Mom was right again! These little gems are jam packed with nutrition. Whatever pea you choose, know they are filled with eye-catching vitamin A, immune-supportive vitamin C, energy-supporting B vitamins, and bone-building vitamin K.

Additionally, peas are good sources of fiber and protein, supplying your body with energy while keeping you feeling fuller for longer periods of time.

Peas also supply a significant amount of lutein, an antioxidant that may play an important role in protecting our eyes and eyesight. Lutein works by acting directly as a kind of natural sun block, and also by neutralizing free radicals that can damage the eye.

ONIONS

While onions may bring a pungent aroma to your kitchen, they will also certainly bring delight to your taste buds. This kitchen stable is known for its versatility, as onions can be sliced and diced into everything from soups to omelets.

In addition to their trademark flavor and usefulness in cooking, onions are rich in fiber, minerals, vitamins C and B6. Evidence from human studies suggest that onions may help increase bone density and could be of special benefit to women of menopausal age who are experiencing loss of bone density.

There is some evidence to suggest that women beyond the age of menopause may be able to lower their risk of hip fracture through frequent consumption of onions.

ASPARAGUS

In spring and summer, asparagus can be found in abundance in many grocery stores, restaurant menus, and farmer’s markets. Asparagus is rich in antioxidants, vitamin A and vitamin C, and is an excellent food source of glutathione, a phytochemical found naturally within the green spears. Glutathione assists in the repair of damaged DNA, is an active protector of our immune function, and is one of the body’s most potent cancer fighters.

Asparagus is high in fiber, low in calories, and has no sodium, cholesterol, or fat. Just 5 stalks of asparagus provide an excellent source of folic acid, a B vitamin that is associated with a decreased risk of neural tube birth defects.

STRAWBERRIES

From breakfast to dinner, the bright red color and sweet juiciness of this superfood can brighten up any dish. Chances are you love strawberries for their great taste-but know you are also getting endless health benefits when eating them. Strawberries are an excellent source of antioxidants, and vitamin C, and are a good source of potassium, folate and fiber.

The plant nutrients found in strawberries, particularly polyphenols, have antioxidant capabilities that can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. These two harmful processes have been linked to major health challenges, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, diabetes, and obesity.

SUPERFOODS: EDIBLE ENERGY

As a busy society, we are constantly looking for the quick fix to health, in the least amount of time. This quick solution to optimal health might be right at our fingertips- and in the main aisle of our grocery stores. When it comes to everyday solutions to keeping your energy up, try adding these to your lunch box or dinner plate. They are guaranteed to help get you through your busiest days and support your health at the same time.

 References
1. Larson Duyff, Roberta. American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2002. Print.
2. Wetli, Herbert, Rudolf Brenneisen, Ingrid Tschudi, Manuela Langos, Peter Bigler, Thomas Sprang, Stefan Schurch, and Roman Muhlbauer. “A gamma-glutamyl peptide isolated from onion (Allium cepa L.) by bioassay-guided fractionation inhibits resorption activity of osteoclasts.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 53.9 (2005): 3408-3414. Print.
3. “Consumer Information.” California Asparagus Commission. California Asparagus Commission, 2009. Web. 6 May 2011. <http://www.calasparagus.com/consumer/nutrition.htm&gt;.
4. “Health and Nutrition.” California Strawberry Commission. California Strawberry Commission. 2011. Web 6 May 2011. http://www.calstrawberry.com/health/guidelines.asp
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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 19, 2012 10:06 PM

    Great list of super foods! Strawberries are probably one of my favorite all-around foods. Such a great anytime treat.

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