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Spring Clean Your Diet: 5 Superfoods to Love 

posted: 03/10/17
by: Katie Morton

This spring, one of the best things you can do for your health is take stock of your diet. Experts agree that many traditional diets fail because the word diet is so restrictive--it's mentally and physically daunting to have to cut out entire food groups or completely overhaul your habits.

The good news is that small, consistent changes can add up to big benefits in the health department. Simply adding a few key foods to your diet can make your body and mind much healthier. And that's where superfoods come in.

Superfoods are whole foods that pack a ton of nutrients. Not only are they nutritious, they also provide protective benefits against diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, and neurological disorders.

Here are five doctor-recommend superfoods that are loaded with antioxidants, protect against disease, and taste delicious.

1. Wild-Caught Salmon

Wild-caught salmon is one of the healthiest foods in the world. Salmon has been shown to prevent heart attacks, reduce inflammation of bones and joints, boost eyesight, and improve skin health. Perhaps even more impressive is that the Omega-3 fatty acids in salmon have been shown to potentially reduce the risk of cancer and stroke, and protect and repair the brain and nervous system from degeneration.

Salmon is also a nutritional powerhouse, containing high levels of B-vitamins, potassium, antioxidants, and a whopping amount of low-fat protein. Experts recommend adding two servings of salmon to your diet per week for the most impact.

2. Citrus Fruits

Both sweet and tangy citrus fruits are rich in vitamins, beta-carotene, and antioxidants. A single citrus can provide more than 100 percent of the recommended daily dose of vitamin C. Citrus fruits are also packed with flavonoids, which help regulate optimal cholesterol levels by boosting good HDL levels and suppressing bad LDL levels.

Additionally, the antioxidant limonoid, found in citrus, can guard against stomach, breast, colon, and lung cancer. Add a serving of citrus fruit--such as orange, lemon, lime, and grapefruit--to your diet each day for improved immune function and protection from various diseases.

3. Nuts

Nuts pack a healthy wallop of protein, fiber, and essential good fats in each serving. All of the various types of nuts--including almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, and macadamia nuts--can help protect your heart and lower your cholesterol.

Since up to 80 percent of nuts are fat, nutritionists recommend eating nuts in moderation. The best way to incorporate nuts into your daily diet is by substituting them for other high-fat, less-healthy options, such as animal products or full-fat cheese.

The American Heart Association recommends eating four servings of nuts each week. Note: A serving of nuts equals one-and-a-half ounces of shelled nuts or two tablespoons of nut butter.

4. Garlic

Garlic's health benefits have been known for centuries. For hundreds of years, garlic has been used as both food and medicine. Garlic is known to have both antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Current studies demonstrate the powerful health benefits of garlic, including regulation of blood pressure, prevention of heart disease, and protection from certain types of cancer. Garlic also contains antioxidants, vitamins B and C, and manganese. Adding small amounts of garlic to your daily diet can help you reap the benefits of this superfood.

5. Avocado

Avocados are chockfull of healthy monounsaturated fats, which help to lower cholesterol and protect against the formation of plagues in the body. The fat in avocado can also help your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Avocados can even help you maintain your weight and get glowing skin! One half of a raw avocado added to your diet each day can boost your nutrient level and provide these key benefits.

Incorporating superfoods to your diet can help you live longer, feel better, and look healthier. Even small amounts can result in huge overall health benefits in the long run. So, when making or ordering your next meal, remember, add some extra superfood in there!