As the seasons begin to change, it’s imperative to take care of your body and make sure your diet includes the proper nutrients. That’s where superfoods come into play—foods that are nutrient-rich and help to keep us healthy and feeling good. While hitting the gym is one way to keep our immune system in working order, eating the right food is just as important, especially in the colder seasons when there are more germs flying around.
Superfoods supply us with the fuel needed by the body to function; bottom line is that when your body is nourished properly, you stay healthier. Here are a few powerful superfoods to keep you functioning your best at the gym, at work and beyond.
- Berries: From blackberries to raspberries and blueberries, there are a slew of different types. These tiny powerhouses contain fiber to keep you satisfied and maintain your digestive track. In fact, raspberries contain ellagic acid (a compound with anti-cancer properties). Blueberries contain anthocyanin’s, (an antioxidant that helps keep memory sharp) and a cup of strawberries contains a full days worth of vitamin C, which boosts your immune system. Add a handful of mixed berries to your protein shake, morning oatmeal or greek yogurt.
- Eggs: A rich source of protein that does more for your body than keeping you satisfied, but make sure you’re eating the entire egg. The yolks contain lutein and zeaxanthin—two antioxidants that help keep eyes healthy—so don’t skimp on these typically-thought-to-be-bad-guys. Add a couple eggs to your salad for extra protein.
- Oatmeal: A wholegrain breakfast that’s high in fiber, antioxidants, and tons of other nutrients. Oatmeal can also help lower cholesterol levels, aid in digestion, and even improve metabolism. Try steel cut oats for a nuttier, super hearty breakfast.
- Nuts: Extremely high in poly and mono-unsaturated fats, eating a handful everyday can help decrease your “bad” LDL cholesterol levels and maintain your “good” HDL level. Pack a bag for your mid-afternoon work snack or add a few to your salad for an extra crunch.
- Quinoa: This is one of the only grains or seeds that provides all nine essential amino acids our bodies can’t produce themselves. Quinoa is also a whole grain packed with protein and fiber. Try quinoa in place of white rice for increased nutritional value.
- Sweet potatoes: They’re packed with alpha and beta-carotene, converted to vitamin A by your body; vitamin A goes to keeping your eyes, bones and immune system healthy. Just one sweet potato provides four times the necessary vitamin A needed by your body as well as a solid dose of potassium, manganese and B6. Try slicing sweet potatoes into french fry sizes add a dab of olive oil and bake to a crisp.
- Broccoli: This green powerhouse packs vitamins C, A and K (which helps with bone health) and A, as well as folate. Broccoli also 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 (according to Eatingwell.com). Add broccoli to your salad or steam it for dinner.
- Tea: Hot or iced, tea is packed with an antioxidant—flavonoids—which may help decrease Alzheimer’s, diabetes and some cancers, plus improve the health of your teeth, gums and bones. Try a cup of green tea in the morning to add energy to your day, and an oolong variety after a large meal to help your food digest.
- Spinach: Spinach is filled with important nutrients: vitamins A, C and K—as well as some fiber, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium and vitamin E. Spinach is a good source of folate, and a water-soluble B vitamin that helps produce DNA and form healthy new cells. Swap in spinach for your iceberg or romaine lettuce.
- Yogurt: This calcium-rich food helps maintain strong bones and gut-health. Yogurt is extremely rich in probiotics, which is healthy bacteria that kills off the bad bacteria and fights to keep you healthy. Greek yogurt with a bit of granola is an excellent mid-afternoon snack with protein, calcium and so much more.