“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” —Hippocrates
By Dan Cassidy—When the father of modern medicine said these words, it’s doubtful he knew just how important they would be thousands of years later.
It seems that most people in America and other developed nations somehow don’t “get” that eating proper food is a critical component of living a healthy life. Instead, our current food supply is over-processed and offers little in the way of nutrition, causing diseases and illnesses ranging from diabetes to heart disease and more.
But there are a group of “super” foods that can help people who are concerned about their health.
What are Superfoods?
Superfoods are a group of natural, nutrient-dense whole foods that truly are nature’s medicine cabinet. You won’t find these foods created in a processing plant. You probably won’t see them advertised on sexy television commercials either.
But if you start to include these foods in your diet, it’s likely you’ll experience improved health and wellness, from the inside-out.
So here they are, 37 superfoods you should start adding to your diet today!
1. Apples. Apples are packed with antioxidants and fiber, so they make a filling and sweet snack.
2. Blueberries. Possibly the smallest superfood on our list, blueberries pack a punch. They’re high in potassium, vitamin C, and healthy antioxidants that can lower your risk of heart disease, cancer, and inflammation.
3. Apricots. Rich in fiber, iron and copper, apricots pack a whole lot of nutrition into each bite. Apricots have also been shown to improve indigestion, earaches, and certain skin diseases.
4. Artichokes. This low calorie vegetable is naturally rich with fiber, vitamins C and K, folate, magnesium and potassium. Artichoke is also versatile and can be prepared in a variety of ways. No matter how you eat them, be sure to eat the leaves and not just the heart!
5. Olive Oil. Our friends in the Mediterranean do it right; olive oil has been proven to improve heart health due to its high content of monounsaturated fats. Olive oil is also anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-microbial.
6. Beets. Beets are loaded with fiber, potassium, and folate, and are free of saturated fats and cholesterol. Researchers believe the red pigment in beets – betacyanin – may protect cells against cancer.
7. Cabbage. Just one serving of cabbage contains 15% of your daily fiber, along with vitamins A, C, and K. Eating cruciferous vegetables, including cabbage, has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer.
8. Tomatoes. Tomatoes are high in antioxidants and can reduce risk of heart disease and osteoporosis, as well as minimize UV damage.
9. Bananas. At just 110 calories per serving, bananas are a great way to get in some potassium and vitamin B-6.
10. Carrots. Carrots are filled with beta-carotene which can improve eyesight and slow down aging cell growth.
11. Dark Chocolate. Dark chocolate is full of compound flavanols, which are a type of antioxidant that decreases inflammation, lowers blood sugar, and improves both positive and negative cholesterol levels. Just make sure you eat it dark, not the candy-coated chocolate found in most supermarkets or snack-shops.
12. Beans. Beans are a low-cost high-impact food that are high in protein and fiber and low in fat.
15. Mushrooms. Mushrooms can help us be healthier, fitter, happier, and live longer. So go make friends with your favorite fungi
16. Pomegranates. A symbol of fertility and health, the pomegranate is great tasting fruit that’s an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant, and can also help you lose fat.
17. Avocado. Avocados are packed with over 25 essential nutrients: vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, as well as lots of fiber, protein, and healthy fats.
19. Oranges. Eating oranges can help with arthritis, prevent kidney stones, and with ample amounts of calcium, contributes to healthy bones and teeth.
20. Broccoli. Mustard oils found in broccoli have been shown to fight the most malignant cancer stem cells. It’s also high in fiber and phytonutrients.
21. Honey. Honey’s antibacterial properties help guard against bacterial viruses like E. Coli and salmonella.
22. Oats. Oats are extremely high in insoluble fiber, and are a good source of low-glycemic complex carbohydrates.
23. Kale. Kale is packed with vitamins A, C, and K, not to mention fiber and calcium.
24. Brussels Sprouts. Brussels sprouts may not have been your favorite food growing up, but there’s a reason your mother made you eat them. These small vegetables can improve your digestion, lower cholesterol, and protect your DNA.
25. Figs. In only one half a cup of dried figs there are 7.3g of both soluble and insoluble fiber. This makes figs the perfect superfood for slowing digestion and keeping you full longer.
26. Bok Choy. This extremely nutritious cruciferous vegetable provides plenty of calcium and potassium, along with carotenoids (such as beta-carotene), which may improve eye health.
27. Pumpkin. More than just a Halloween decoration, pumpkins are a low calorie food with lots of vitamin A and fiber.
28. Oysters. Oysters are a low density, high energy food and a good source of lean protein.
29. Brown Rice. This high-fiber food has a lower glycemic index than white rice, so it will keep you full for longer without causing a dramatic increase in your blood sugar levels.
30. Edamame. These beans include all nine amino acids, as well as lots of vitamins and minerals that improve immune health and battle disease.
31. Salmon. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids as well as protein, selenium, and vitamin D, making this superfood a must have if you’re interested in protecting your heart’s health and improving your metabolism.
32. Spinach. Spinach is densely packed with nutrients, and although one cup can hold your entire daily dose of vitamins K and A, its only about 40 calories! Spinach can also be paired with most foods on this list in order to really reach maximum nutrient intake.
34. Tea. Tea has less caffeine than coffee but still performs as an agent against cancers, heart disease and clogged arteries.
35. Ginger. Ginger has long been used for curing ills of all kinds, from minor stomach pains to arthritis, and even migraines.
36. Turkey. Your favorite Thanksgiving meal is a low fat source of protein with vitamins B3 and B6, as well as selenium, which promotes thyroid health.
37. Walnuts. Walnuts are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, and are loaded with monosaturated fats, which can improve your heart health.
This story originally appeared on Inspiyr.com.
(Photo credits: top: Flickr / Satoru Kikuchi; middle/bottom: Shutterstock)