Superfoods 101

What do pomegranates, goji berries and acai berries all have in common? They are all superfoods. Unfortunately, what they also have in common is their high price and relatively low availability. How, then, are we supposed to get our hands on these “superfoods?” Well, what some people may not know is that not all superfoods are found in the Brazilian rain forests, or along the Amazon basin. In fact, some of the most nutritious superfoods can be found growing in your own backyard. Here, then, is a list of 5 of the best, and most readily available, superfoods.

5.) Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Olive oil contains a large amount of monounsaturated fatty acids which help lower bad cholesterol (LDL’s) and raise good cholesterol (HDL’s), thus preventing hardening of the arteries as well as cardiovascular disease. Olive oil also contains large amounts of Vitamin E and Omega-9 fatty acids which aide in a healthy metabolism, improve immune function, and help prevent certain types of cancer. The easiest ways to incorporate olive oil into your diet is to replace it with other types of cooking oils (i.e. canola oil). It can also be used on salad, or used as a “dip” with bread.

4.) Apples – Apples are sometimes seen as the perfect food, and with good reason. There are so many varieties, it would be hard not to find at least one species that satisfied your taste buds. More important than the taste is what’s inside. Apples contain no sodium, no cholesterol, and no fats. Instead they contain potassium, which helps to maintain healthy weight and blood pressure, pectin, which prevents gallstones and reduces the chance of getting colon cancer, and tannins which combat against gum diseases. Though there are many ways to eat an apple, the best way is to eat it raw and unpeeled, as most of the nutrition is found in the skin. But beware, not all apples are created equal. Due to the differences in the ways the apples are grown and cared for, organic apples can have up to ten times the nutrition of commercially grown apples.

3.) Spinach/Kale – Spinach and kale can be thought of as the “super vegetables.” They are an excellent source of phytonutrients, which have been proven to prevent many types of cancers. With that, they also promote lower cholesterol levels and contains a large amount of fiber which can help cleanse the colon. What most people may not know is that spinach and kale have very high levels of calcium, and because the calcium in kale and spinach is low in oxalate, it can