Want to give yourself a healthy jumpstart? Supercharge your body, mind, and soul with these super foods...
Purple carrots aren’t simply a novelty. Their unique color reflects their healthy phytochemical constituents. Not only does ‘Purple Haze’ have the vitamin A and beta-carotene of ordinary carrots—evident in its orange center—it’s also rich in anthocyanins, the antioxidant compounds that give blueberries their distinctive color and superfood health benefits. Studies have found that these blue and purple pigments can improve memory, enhance vision, protect against heart attacks, act as anti-inflammatories, and even help control weight.
Sure, they’re swell on salads, but cook them down and these plump little beauties can help save your skin. Why? Lycopene, the phytochemical that makes tomatoes red, helps eliminate skin-aging free radicals caused by ultraviolet rays. Your body gains the most sun-shielding nutrients when the vegetable is heated. Just a half-cup of cooked tomatoes or pasta sauce has 16 milligrams of lycopene; along with ample sunscreen, that daily dose should help keep you out of the red.
Berries are loaded with anthocyanins, powerful phytochemicals that give these delicious edible gems their vibrant purple, red and blue hues. A 2012 Harvard study found that women who ate at least one cup of blueberries and strawberries per week experienced a sizeable 2.5-year delay in mental decline relative to women who rarely ate berries. With that in mind (pun intended), try adding blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries to your yogurt, cereal, pancake and muffin batter.
Gluten free pancakes with a topping of fresh berries, doesn’t get any better!
Don’t be scared of these powerful, little fish just because they often come in a can. They are high in omega-3’s, contain virtually no mercury and are loaded with calcium. They also contain iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese as well as a full complement of B vitamins. If you can find the fresh ones, even better and so simple to prepare grilled or baked with fresh lemon juice. I grew up on these in the Mediterranean because they were my grandfather’s favorite and I can say he was incredibly sharp into his 90’s!
Grilled sardines with a roasted red pepper sauce marry two incredibly nutrient dense foods together.
High in calcium (a known weight-reducer), broccoli is also extraordinarily high in vitamins C, K and A. One serving of broccoli will also provide you with plenty of folate and dietary fiber, plus a variety of antioxidants. Broccoli is also one of the best detox foods you can add to your diet.
Jalapeno, habanero, cayenne and other forms of spicy peppers directly boost metabolism and circulation. In fact, eating hot peppers not only speeds up your metabolism, it also reduces cravings. This is related to its capsaicin content, a compound that stimulates the body’s pain receptors, temporarily increasing blood circulation and metabolic rate. If you have ever experienced a bout of intense sweating or your head itching after eating a particularly spicy dish, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. In fact, studies have shown that eating hot peppers can boost the metabolism by up to 25%, with the spike lasting for up to 3 hours.
Now check out the heart-healthy food that will put you in the mood.
This is not a sponsored post. Tips courtesy of Chef Mareya Ibrahim, the Fit Foodie and author of Eat Cleaner.