Power foods, sometimes called super foods, are foods that are packed full of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. These foods provide a reliable source of energy throughout the day and protection against diseases.
What are some of the power foods with the highest nutritional impact?
• Peanut butter: Peanut butter contains carbohydrates, protein and fat, which helps you feel satisfied after you eat it. The fats in peanut butter are monosaturated. Monosaturated fats boost good cholesterol (HDL) while decreasing bad cholesterol (LDL). Peanut butter is also an excellent source of vitamin E, niacin, phosphorus and magnesium.
• Whole grain products: Whole grain products are products that haven’t been milled to remove the germ and the bran of the grain. The germ and the bran are the parts of the grain that are highest in B vitamins. Research shows that whole grains can reduce cholesterol, lowering the risk of heart attack and stroke. Whole grain foods include brown rice, whole wheat bread and oatmeal.
• Almonds: Almonds contain many nutrients like magnesium, manganese, vitamin E and riboflavin. They are also an excellent source of monosaturated fats. Research suggests that people who eat almonds every day significantly lower their risk of colon cancer and cardiovascular disease.
• Blueberries: Blueberries are packed full of compounds known as antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect the body from environmental toxins that break down tissues. Blueberries are also a first rate source of vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese.
• Watermelon: Watermelons are the best source for the antioxidant called lycopene, which research shows can reduce the risk of prostate cancer considerably. Lycopene also reduces the risk of developing macular degeneration and cardiovascular disease. While watermelon is the best source of lycopene, the antioxidant is also found in tomatoes and grapefruit.
• Salmon: Salmon and other fatty fish like tuna and halibut are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids act as powerful anti-inflammatories within the body. They also appear to lower elevated triglyceride levels, which improves heart health. They significantly reduce the stiffness and swelling associated with rheumatoid arthritis, and they’re important for neurological development in infants.
• Garlic: Garlic has powerful broad-spectrum antibiotic properties and is a potent antioxidant. Garlic also appears to be effective in lowering moderately high cholesterol levels.
• Turmeric: The active ingredient in the culinary spice turmeric is a substance called curcumin. The National Institutes of Health currently have 24 studies underway studying the benefits of curcumin. Curcumin appears to prevent liver damage in patients diagnosed with cirrhosis. Curcumin may also inhibit the growth of skin cancers like melanoma. Finally, populations that eat a lot of turmeric have much lower incidences of Alzheimer’s disease.
• Yogurt: Yogurt is a probiotic, meaning it contains a type of bacteria that is healthy for the intestines. Yogurt promotes regular bowel habits. It’s also an excellent source of calcium.