Blueberries, kale, salmon, tomatoes, and others. You’ve probably heard, or read, many different things about the nutritional benefits of these everyday ingredients that most magazines or online articles commonly label as superfoods. While there’s no official scientific definition of a superfood, people have generally accepted that superfoods are those foods that contain high levels of much-needed vitamins and minerals. They can also be a source of antioxidants – substances that shield the body from cell damage and help prevent disease.
Most of these superfoods are fruits and vegetable. Most likely, however, if you’ve been eating blueberries as dessert or tomatoes as part of a main course, you’ll get too used to eating them that way.
Luckily, there are various ways for you to enjoy these superfoods – particularly the ones that you can get from fruits and vegetables. You can enjoy them as smoothies! Here are some of the best ways to make a superfood drink or a smoothie that you’ll surely enjoy.
Blueberrie might be the first thing to come up when you search for a superfood, just because they are extremely healthy and nutritious. Its nutritional value makes it highly beneficial to the body.
These berries are full of phytonutrients that neutralize free radicals (agents that cause aging and cell damage). In addition, blueberries are good sources of vitamin K. They also contain vitamin C, fiber, manganese and other antioxidants (notably anthocyanins). The antioxidants in these berries may also protect against cancer and reduce the effects of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
Blueberries are so rich in phytonutrients that they provide as much antioxidant protection to the body as 1,733 IU of vitamin E and more than 1200 milligrams of vitamin C. It is recommended that you to consume 1 to 2 cups of blueberries daily to obtain the full health benefits of this amazing fruit.
Phytonutrients are non-vitamin, non-mineral components of food that have significant health benefits. Research has shown that phytonutrients help the body cells “communicate” with each other more efficiently, hence, preventing mutations at the cellular level. In turn, the proliferation of cancer cells is lessened, if not totally halted.
Making a Blueberry Smoothie
1 cup blueberries (frozen or fresh)
8 ounce plain yogurt
3/4 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Blend the blueberries, yogurt, milk, sugar, vanilla, and nutmeg in a blender until frothy, scraping down the sides of the blender with a spatula occasionally. Serve immediately.
Avocados have been cultivated for thousands of years, and are a known favorite of the Aztecs. They are originally native to Central America. This superfood has a TON of health benefits.
One of the most nutrient-dense foods, avocados are high in fiber and, ounce for ounce, they top the charts among all fruits for folate, potassium, vitamin E and magnesium. No doubt, avocado’s nutritional value makes it a powerful superfood.
The delicious healthy monounsaturated fat in the avocado is one of its biggest claims to being a superfood. The monounsaturated fat in avocados is oleic acid, which helps lower cholesterol. One study has found that after seven days on a diet that included avocados, there were significant decreases in both total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, as well as an 11 percent increase in the “good” HDL cholesterol.
Preparing a Creamy Avocado Smoothie
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 cups crushed ice
2 ripe Hass avocados, pitted
Blend the milk, sweetened condensed milk and ice in a blender until very smooth. Add the avocado flesh and blend again until smooth. Be reminded that the mixture could be quite thick; add cold water a few tablespoons at a time, blending after each addition, until the mixture is pourable. Taste and add more sweetened condensed milk as needed if you want it sweeter. Serve in chilled glasses with straws.
Grapefruit is considered a fat burning superfood that aids in weight loss. Grapefruit is a citrus fruit that was discovered in Barbados in the 18th century before being transferred and re-planted in Florida.
Grapefruit is loaded with Vitamin C as well, offering a good 59% of the daily recommended intake. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that your body can only get from the food you eat. Vitamin C is necessary for proper growth and repair of tissues, and it plays a role in preventing heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, osteoarthritis, boosting immunity, as well as other health conditions. Grapefruit also contains pectin which has been known to reduce cholesterol.
It is also known that Grapefruits are high in fiber and only about 40-50 calories – making it a healthy snack alternative. In addition, it consists of about 90% water, making it not only a great snack but a great pre-meal appetizer. The volume of water helps you feel full and works as an appetite suppressor.
What makes this fruit a fat burning superfood is that it takes more calories to digest grapefruit. It stimulates the release of cholecystokinin, a hormone that regulates digestive juices and acts as a hunger suppressant.
Grapefruit Smoothie with Banana and Apple
1 small pink grapefruit, peeled and segmented
1 banana, peeled and chopped
1 mango, halved, stoned and flesh chopped
200g (7oz) natural yogurt
Handful of ice cubes
Blend the grapefruit, banana, mango, yogurt and ice cubes in a blender until frothy.
Have the smoothie chilled from a freezer for about 30 minutes before serving.
Superfoods are not all just fruits – in fact, a lot of superfoods are vegetables, crops or seeds. As such, one of the most nutritious green superfoods is kale, with its many other benefits for the body on top of it being a good source of essential nutrients.
Kale is a nutritional powerhouse packed with antioxidants such as vitamin C, beta-carotene, kaempferol and quercetin. It also contains several glucosinolates including glucobrassicin, glucoraphanin and sinigrin. When you eat kale, these compounds are converted into isothiocyanates in your digestive tract.
Research suggests that isothiocyanates may help prevent cancer and, in some cases, even suppress the growth of tumors. Isothiocyanates work their anti-cancer “magic” by eliminating potential carcinogens from the body, by conferring protection against DNA damage, and by stimulating apoptosis (self-destruction) of cancerous cells. Most of the research related to isothiocyanates, kale and cancer has focused on colon cancer and breast cancer, but there’s also evidence that kale and other foods that contain glucosinolates may also provide protection against prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, and bladder cancer.
The health benefits of kale go well beyond providing a truckload of vitamins and minerals; this superfood is packed with phytonutrients such as glucosinolates and flavonoids. Thanks to its broad nutritional profile, kale is thought to help fight cardiovascular disease, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis; prevent several types of cancer and premature aging of the skin; and promote the health of the urinary tract.
Some people might not find eating this powerhouse food straight up, but luckily, you can find the best way to prepare the best green superfood drinks here.
How to Prepare Kale and Banana Smoothie
2 cups chopped kale
1/2 cup light unsweetened soy milk
1 tablespoon flax seeds
1 teaspoon maple syrup
Place the banana, kale, soy milk, flax seeds, and maple syrup into a blender.
Cover, and puree until smooth. Serve over ice.Read More