1. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are so brilliantly orange, thanks to their alpha and beta carotene. The body converts these compounds into the active form of vitamin A, which helps keep your eyes, bones, and immune system healthy. These phytochemicals also operate as antioxidants, sweeping up disease-promoting free radicals. One medium sweet potato-or about 1/2 cup-provides nearly four times the recommended daily value of vitamin A, plus some vitamin C and B6, potassium, manganese and lutein, and zeaxanthin.
This green powerhouse packs vitamins A, C, and K (which helps with bone health), as well as folate. There is another reason broccoli frequently earns a top spot on “superfoods” lists: it delivers a healthy dose of sulforaphane, a type of isothiocyanate that is thought to thwart cancer by helping to stimulate the body’s detoxifying enzymes.
Oats are a breakfast staple and quite the superfood. Eating more oats is an easy way to up your fiber intake, a nutrient most of us don’t get enough of. Fiber is good for our guts and waistlines and keeps us full-all essential qualities in breakfast food. Plus, oats are whole grain, and plain oats don’t have any added sugar. So for a superfood meal or snack, start with plain oats and turn them into healthy meals and snacks like blueberry oatcakes, homemade granola to enjoy fruit and yogurt, or DIY energy bites with peanut butter.
What can’t nuts do? They’re packed with healthy polyunsaturated fats and magnesium, two essential nutrients for heart health. These nutrients may also offer protection against insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes. In addition, antioxidant compounds found in nuts, including ellagic acid and resveratrol, can reduce the wear and tear on your body from free radicals. In turn, this lowers inflammation, which may reduce cancer risk. Plus, nuts provide insoluble fiber, which studies suggest may help you stay healthy by feeding beneficial gut bacteria. Spread nut butter on toast, grab a handful of nuts for a snack, or make your simple trail mix.
Yogurt contains probiotics or “good bacteria” that help keep our guts healthy. It’s also rich in calcium. Just 1 cup of yogurt provides nearly half the recommended daily value of calcium and delivers phosphorus, potassium, zinc, riboflavin, vitamin B12, and protein. Choose Greek yogurt for an even more considerable protein boost, and whenever possible, reach for plain. Flavored yogurts tend to have lots of added sugar which adds calories without nutrition.
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