Here they are: perhaps the most nutritionally potent, anti-aging, bang-for-your-buck super foods nature has to offer, as recommended by Mark. If you can shoot for getting these power foods into your diet on a weekly basis, you’ll be doing very well indeed. Bookmark the list or print it out and keep it on the fridge. There are dozens more powerful foods, of course, so be sure to add your favorite recommendations in the comments at the bottom of the post!
A six-ounce portion of grass-fed beef contains between 2 and 6 times the Omega-3 fats of regular beef and averages about 100 fewer calories. Grass-fed beef is a great natural source of protein and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Grass-fed beef is raised in superior conditions to regular factory-farmed steer. Here’s a great online resource.
Smart alternatives: naturally-lean grass-fed bison, organic or free-range pork, organic or free-range chicken; vegetarians can rely on nuts, tofu, tempeh, and a variety of beans
Wild salmon remains one of the world’s best sources of beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fats can only be obtained through your diet, and they help to nourish your brain, reduce your risk of heart disease, and improve overall health. Tuna is another good source for Omega-3’s. In general, choose wild, cold-water, and fatty fish to farmed, warm-water, and processed fish. If you want to learn more, here is some important information about mercury, pollution, and farmed fish. If you’re concerned about consuming fish, period, then consider taking a high-quality fish oil supplement.
We’ve blogged quite frequently about the terrific nutritional choice that is the egg: read more here. Eggs are rich in protein, vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. Choose the DHA (docosahexanoic acid) enhanced version available in most stores for an extra boost of Omega-3’s. Eggs are an especially great choice for vegetarians.
Though all berries (and most fruits) contain beneficial amounts of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants, blueberries are nature’s most potent free radical scavengers thanks to high levels of anthocyanidans and ellagic acid. They’re also quite high in fiber and relatively low in calories (about 80 calories per cup). Aim to get this cancer-fighter into your diet on a weekly, if not daily, basis.
Smart alternatives: cranberries, cherries, grapes, figs
Flax seeds are exceptionally high in alpha linolenic acid, a form of Omega-3 (your body has to convert it). They are also full of manganese, magnesium, and fiber. If you can handle the taste, a daily serving of flax seeds in your protein fruit smoothie or atop your salad is a smart nutritional choice.
Plain, full-fat yogurt (organic, and preferably raw!) is a wonderfully dense source of energy, calcium, and beneficial bacteria. Yogurt makes a smart alternative to the chemical vats that are processed dressings, sauces, and spreads. Yogurt is wonderful with fruits and vegetables alike. Here are some of our favorite yogurt recipes for any time of day.
Aside from being delicious, garlic is beneficial for heart health (particularly for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels). Garlic may also reduce blood pressure and appears to possess antibacterial properties. Garlic is rich in antioxidants as well. But avoid the grocery store’s ready-to-go powdered, peeled, and chopped stuff: fresh is absolutely best.
Also smart: leeks, shallots, scallions, onions, ginger
These little “cabbages” are high in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and calcium. But what makes brussels sprouts special is that they’re nearly 25% protein – higher than most vegetables and pretty impressive, actually! Of course, in terms of calories, they’re quite low (only about 50 calories per cup), so don’t go eliminating other protein sources from your diet just yet. Still, when coupled with nuts and eaten generously, this little sprout offers a nice amino acid dose for vegetarians. Like their cruciferous cousins, brussels sprouts contain indole, a cancer-fighting phytochemical.
Most nuts and seeds are naturally quite healthy (but remember that a peanut is not a nut!). But almonds – particularly raw and organic – are among the healthiest, offering protein, fiber, vitamin E, and many other vitamins and minerals. Nuts are great for snacking on instead of high-sugar or trans-fat-filled processed junk!
Broccoli is a cruciferous cancer-fighting vegetable. It is incredibly rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, yet low in calories. This delicious, sturdy and versatile veggie goes with nearly everything and soaks up tasty sauces and healthy oils quite well. Top with cashew butter, toss with balsamic vinegar and almonds, or bake with chicken and a touch of organic butter. Broccoli also contains indole (also called indole-3-carbinol or I3C), a substance which may stimulate healthy hormone production.
Anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants that may reduce your risk of certain cancers. And certain heirloom and “purple” tomatoes happen to be loaded with them. But even regular red and orange tomatoes come packed with vitamin C and lycopene. Enjoy this low-calorie sweet vegetable several times weekly.
If you’re going to eat a starchy vegetable, this is a brilliant choice. Sweet potatoes contain high levels of vitamin A (as beta carotene), vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, calcium, and iron. One serving of sweet potato has 7 grams of fiber.
Bell peppers are low in calories and provide plenty of vitamin C. But their real power comes in that you’ll get a generous serving of antioxidants each time you crunch (thanks to the colorful skin pigments). Don’t just go for green – mix it up! A red bell has nearly 10 times the beta carotene of a green bell.
Don’t be afraid of a little heat. Fight cancer with many of the wonderful varieties of spicy peppers available. Whether stewed, baked, charred, or chopped, check our guide to the many excellent and nutritious peppers you should enjoy frequently.
We’ve been reminding you about the importance of vitamin K lately. Swiss chard happens to be one of the best sources. This powerhouse green is chewy, substantial and richly flavored. You’ll enjoy this pungent leaf’s nutritional benefits, too: fiber, manganese, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, vitamin E, potassium, and plenty of other nutrients. It’s one of the most comprehensive greens, in terms of vitamins and minerals, so eat it regularly.
Smart alternatives: any dark, leafy green such as kale or spinach
Of course you must know by now: olive oil is one of the healthiest fats on earth! Drench your vegetables, salads, meats and eggs in plenty of olive oil daily to improve your heart health, reduce your risk of certain cancers, and balance your ratio of dietary fats.
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Flickr Photo Credits (CC):
Salmon, Blueberries, Yogurt, Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli, Sweet Potatoes, Peppers, Olives
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