If you want to live a long and healthy life, experts will agree that there are some simple ways that can unlock the secrets to a healthy lifestyle. A balanced diet, exercise, restorative sleep and stress management are all important. Choosing a diet that is rich in superfoods is an easy step to improving how you look and how you feel.
So what are superfoods?
The theory is that certain foods can have a lasting and profound effect on our health and well-being. This isn’t a new “fad”…even Hippocrates wrote about the link between diet and health. All foods have some nutritional value, but superfoods are particularly high in certain vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and phytochemicals. Most physicians and dietitians believe that superfoods can prevent and treat disease including cancer, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, stroke, cataracts and skin diseases. Some superfoods will boost your immune system’s capability to prevent illness, improve your mental focus and productive output, counteract the negative effect’s of poor lifestyle choices, improve digestion, eliminate headaches and stabilize blood sugar levels.
Spotlight: Kefir, Blueberries and Walnuts
Kefir is less known than its cousin yogurt. Kefir, however, has rejuvenating and immune-enhancing properties that are making it increasingly popular. Adding kefir to your diet will have positive effects on your digestion. Kefir destroys harmful, invading bacteria while balancing the good and bad bacteria in the digestive tract. Kefir is believed to slow the growth of certain tumors and fight pneumonia with the live probiotic, Lactobacillus casei. Kefir is easier to digest than yogurt, boosts energy, helps to relieve skin disorders and promotes longevity. It has all the protein and calcium benefits of milk but is easier to tolerate for people with mild lactose intolerance.
Kefir can be found in health food stores and can be made at home with coconut water. Use kefir as you would yogurt…add to smoothies! Lifeway also makes a wonderful, delicious yogurt smoothie with kefir cultures.
Blueberries were one of the first fruits to be named a superfood. Blueberries are rich in antioxidant properties, high in Vitamin C and fiber. They contain the compound pterostilbene that has been found to be effective in reducing cholesterol and may help prevent diabetes and some cancers. They also contain anthocyanins which can help to prevent heart disease and memory loss. Blueberries can also prevent urinary tract infections and contain lutein and zeaxanthin to keep eyes healthy.
Blueberries are best eaten raw and can be added to boost the nutrient content of muffins, smoothies, pies and fruit salads.
Walnuts are known for their unusually high content of Omega-3 fats, fiber, B vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. An adequate and balanced intake of omega fats has been linked with protection from cardiovascular disease, cancers, arthritis, skin problems and nervous system diseases. Walnuts can lower bad cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure.
Purchase walnuts with their shells on, if possible, and store in the refrigerator. Walnuts should be consumed shortly after purchase because they do spoil easily. Eat walnuts raw as a snack and/or add to baked treats and breads.
Next month ~ Superfood Spotlight: Spinach, Oranges and Green Tea