You’ve probably heard the term “superfood” used quite a bit in the health food world, but what does it actually mean?
by Dr. Partha Nandi
A “superfood” refers to a food that is rich in nutrients and extremely beneficial to your well being. In most cases “superfoods” include organic, plant-based, whole foods. In today’s processed and fast foods diet, superfoods can at times be few and far between. But when it comes right down to it, these superfoods are exactly what your body truly needs and craves. Not only do these foods provide you with the vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function properly, or help you maintain a healthy weight, they have countless other benefits as well. Superfoods can help prevent diseases, improve your mood and energy, support your gut health and so much more.
It is important to note that even for those foods that we deem “super”, there is no single food that holds the key to good health or disease prevention. Remember variety is the spice of life! Have fun and add a variety of superfoods to your weekly meals.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF AVOCADO
The avocado contains a great amount of lutein which is a carotenoid that works as an antioxidant. Lutein helps to protect against eye disease. Research has found that the avocado also contains the related carotenoids zeaxanthin, alpha-carotene and beta carotene. The avocado also aids in the body’s ability to get more of these nutrients from other foods. Because carotenoids are soluble in fat and not in water, eating carotenoid packed foods like fruits and vegetables along with avocados helps your body absorb the carotenoids. Eating just half an avocado will give you nearly 3.5 grams of fiber. The fiber consists of both soluble and insoluble fiber, which aids in keeping your digestive system running smoothly. Studies have shown that soluble fiber slows the breakdown of carbohydrates in your body. This helps to make you feel full for a longer time.
Studies and research have shown that the avocado also contains oleic acid, which is a fat that activates the part of your brain that makes you feel full. Researchers believe that oleic acid helps to create a greater feeling of satiety than less-healthy saturated fats.
Consuming one cup of avocado supplies you with nearly 1/4 of your recommended daily intake of folate. Folate has been found to help cut the risk of birth defects. Studies have shown that eating avocados may help to protect your unborn baby. High folate intake has also been studied and results have shown that it is associated with a lower risk of heart disease and heart attack.
Avocados are High in the Mineral Potassium
Low potassium levels can lead to high blood pressure, which raises your risk of heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease. Research has shown that the avocado contains more potassium than the banana and can help normalize blood pressure and lower the risk of kidney failure and heart disease.
A beneficial food to eat, oleic acid and dietary fiber in avocados are key when it comes to normalizing blood sugar levels which is great for heart health and helping to reduce the risk of diabetes. Research is being done now to discover if there is a correlation between eating avocados and reducing arthritic pain. Researchers believe that because avocados contain high levels of monounsaturated fats, phytosterols, and antioxidants such as Vitamins E, C and a variety of carotenoids, avocados may help reduce the inflammation that leads to arthritis.
Download Dr. Nandi’s Superfoods Cookbook on his website in its entirety for FREE.
HEALTH HERO CHALLENGE
Take the first step. I challenge you to make one small change – swap out one processed food snack or meal with one of our superfood alternatives once a week. This small change will have a big impact on your overall health.
• Almonds • Avocado • Beets • Blueberries • Cumin • Ginger • Peas • Watercress • Lentils • Quinoa • Cacao • Turmeric • Mushrooms • Garlic • Pomegranates
Goji & Mango Guacamole
- 3 ripe avocados
- Juice of 1-2 limes
- Coarse sea salt
- 1 ripe mango, diced
- ⅓ cup dried goji berries
- ⅓ cup diced red onion
- ½ – 1 jalapeño, chopped
- Handful of chopped cilantro
- Tortilla chips
- Place goji berries in a small bowl with a bit of water for just a few minutes until they plum up.
- Remove the avocado pits and scoop each avocado into a medium bowl. Add generous squeezes of lime and plenty of sea salt. Lightly mash the avocado with the back of a fork.
- Stir in chopped mango, goji berries, red onion, jalapeño, and cilantro. Add salt and pepper (and more lime if necessary), to taste. Serve immediately.