Have you heard the phrase “superfoods?” Maybe it conjures up ideas of weird things you can’t find at the neighborhood grocery, and who knows what the heck they are and what to do with them? Healthy eating doesn’t have to be so complicated. Here are 6 nutrition superstars that are available at your nearest grocery store.
- Garlic – you’re probably already using this one and didn’t even know you had a superfood in your kitchen! It contains a sulphur compound called allicin, which is released when you cut or smash the cloves. Garlic has protective effects on the cardiovascular system, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-bacterial effects, and anti-cancer properties. If you have a bleeding disorder or take blood thinning medications, be sure to talk to your doctor before increasing your garlic
- Ginger – you may have heard of the numerous studies that have shown ginger’s anti-nausea properties, helpful for motion sickness, pregnancy and post-operational nausea. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, stimulates circulation, and inhibits rhinovirus, which causes the common cold, and also bacteria such as salmonella. Drink it in a tea, or add it to vegetable or meat dishes for a tasty health boost. And I bet you already thought of this – mix some garlic in too, to double the anti-inflammatory and illness prevention benefits!
- Leafy greens, including, but not limited to, kale – kale is a superfood trend right now, but other leafy greens are powerhouses in their own right. And if you don’t like kale, IT’S OK! You don’t have to eat it. Romaine lettuce, spinach, collard greens, swiss chard, broccoli and cabbage are all loaded with vitamins and minerals, have few calories and lots of fiber. That fiber content will help you fill up faster and keep your pipes clean and the nutrient content will help you stay full longer. Eat lettuce in a salad (careful with the dressing!), sauté the others with a bit of olive oil and garlic or use the leaves instead of bread to make wraps.
- Cilantro – In addition to having a high ratio of vitamins A and K, cilantro helps with memory and also to pull heavy metals out of the body. Why is this important? Heavy metals, such as mercury (from fillings and some fish), lead and aluminum, accumulate in the body, and have been implicated in a wide variety of disorders, including immune dysfunction, neurological and memory issues like dementia, cardiovascular disease, chronic fatigue syndrome… the list goes on. Mix cilantro up with chopped up tomatoes and onions to make pico de gallo, and eat it as salsa on tacos or (non-GMO) tortilla chips. And if you want to get really crazy, grow some in a pot on your patio, so it’s always there for the picking!
- Blueberries – for just 84 calories per one cup serving, these tasty little morsels are full of fiber (4g) and have 24% of the US RDA of vitamin C and 35% of the RDA of vitamin K. Vitamin K helps us to absorb vitamin D, which most of the US population is deficient in. They also have potent antioxidant capacity, protecting cells from damage, and they may have anti-aging and anti-cancer effects. Eat these babies straight out of the container for a nutritious and delicious snack. Word to the wise – if you can afford organic, please buy them, as blueberries have one of the highest pesticide contents of any fruits. For more information about which foods are most important to eat organic, check out the Environmental Working Group’s list of the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15.
- Apples – You’ve heard the saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” True story, especially when it comes to cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. Oh, and constipation. They have lots of fiber. Eat one today.
So there you have it – food as medicine, easily available in the grocery store where you shop anyway. Pick some of them up for easy and mouthwatering improvements to your overall health! And if you want to explore more healthy lifestyle habits along with a tribe of like-minded folks, join my closed Facebook group Living Happy, Living Healthy!