Are you trying to lose weight this year? Losing weight can be hard, since it involves making many changes to your eating and exercise habits. The key to losing weight is to take each step of your journey one day at a time. This journey includes trying new foods, like “super” foods, to make healthy eating more exciting and flavorful!
What are super foods?
According to the National Institutes of Health, super foods are those that contain a much higher concentration of nutrients, like vitamins and minerals, than most other whole or processed foods.
Many super foods contain substances known as “antioxidants.” Antioxidants work to heal the damage to cells that can lead to chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Antioxidants have also been called “anti-aging compounds,” since they seem to keep cells young and healthy.
What are some super foods I can add to my meal plan?
- Cocoa: Most of us love chocolate. But did you know that cocoa can be healthy? Cocoa contains flavonoids, a type of antioxidant. These anti-aging compounds also reduce the amount of the stress hormone cortisol in your body, which can help reduce belly fat.
- Pumpkin: One cup of pumpkin is less than 50 calories and contains 3 grams of fiber, which can help improve digestion and keep your blood glucose level stable. Pumpkin also contains the antioxidant beta-carotene, which keeps cells healthy.
- Leafy Greens: Collard greens, spinach, and chard are full of fiber. These green vegetables also contain vitamins A, C, and folate, which help cells and tissues grow. Healthy cell growth can give you good vision, healthy skin and teeth, and help your body fight illness.
- Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes are rich in fiber and are naturally sweet. Sweet potatoes also contain carotenoids, a type of antioxidant that keeps cells healthy and gives the potato its bright orange color.
- Carrots: Carrots are also rich in carotenoids and fiber. Roasted carrots cooked with olive oil, an anti-aging “good fat,” can pack a flavorful and healthy punch.
- Beans: Black beans, red beans, and >chickpeas are low in fat and great sources of protein and fiber. They can be eaten alone or added to soups, salads, or dips. Most beans contain healthy doses of iron and potassium.
- Oatmeal: Whole grains such as oats, rice, and bran are known to be rich in fiber. Did you know that oatmeal is good for your blood glucose, too? One cup of cooked oatmeal contains 4 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein, and has been found to slow the digestion of carbohydrate. Start each day with oatmeal to stay full and keep your blood glucose on track!
- Blueberries: Blueberries are low in calories and have high amounts of water soluble vitamins and fiber, as well as disease fighting phytonutrients. Eat blueberries alone or on top of yogurt, oatmeal, or salads.
- Almonds: Almonds are tasty nuts that contain fiber, iron, and calcium, to name a few nutrients. One-quarter cup of almonds contains less than 200 calories and lots of “good” monounsaturated fat.