Healthy eating habits have been linked to a lower risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer, according to studies conducted over the years. However, some foods stand out enough to receive special attention, even earning them the moniker ‘superfood’. These so-called superfoods provide a number of vital nutrients that can boost your meals and snacks and improve your overall eating pattern. Here are six of them that I swear by and add regularly in my diet.
Almonds: This tree nut has been a part of the Indian household for centuries. Regular consumption of almonds may help in leading a healthier lifestyle as they contain several nutrients including vitamin E, magnesium, protein, riboflavin, zinc. Almonds are good for your heart health as they help lower total and LDL cholesterol and reduce levels of heart damaging inflammation. Almonds are also an excellent addition for those trying to manage Type-2 diabetes as they can help lower the blood sugar impact of carb-rich foods that they are eaten with. Almonds are also rich in Vitamin B2, Vitamin E, magnesium, and phosphorus: nutrients known for their role in energy release from food. Just what you need to keep you active for longer everyday.
Leafy greens: Growing up, our parents and doctors always tried to impart the health benefits of including greens in our diet. With good reason, indeed. For, leafy greens are high in calcium and vitamins A and C. They are also a good source of phytochemicals—plant-based compounds that are beneficial to our health. They enhance the diet with fibre as well. There are multiple ways you can include leafy greens in your diet. Toss them into a salad, make spinach dal to be had along with your rotis, or just rustle up a simple spinach soup.
Sweet potato: Sweet potatoes are a type of root vegetable that are rich in fibre, potassium, and vitamins A and C. They are also rich in antioxidants and fibre, which shield your body from the damaging effects of free radicals and support a healthy digestive system and brain. They are also very high in beta carotene, which strengthens your immune system and promotes healthy vision when converted to vitamin A. One of the easiest yet best ways to enjoy the superfood is to bake a batch of sweet potatoes, whole or as slices.
Turmeric: Turmeric has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine and contains many nutrients that are beneficial to health, such as calcium, vitamin C, manganese and iron. Apart from these nutrients, curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is also believed to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities, which may help with a variety of medical issues. One of the ways I'd suggest you consume it is by preparing turmeric milk.
Olive oil: Monounsaturated fatty acids, polyphenols, and vitamin E are all found in in olive oil: all of them are nutrients that can help lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other inflammatory illnesses. Olive oil also has high concentrations of polyphenolic chemicals and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). The simplest way to include it in your diet is to add a teaspoon on top of your favourite salad.
Legumes: Legumes are a good source of plant-based protein, fibre, and folate. They may help lower the risk of heart disease, according to studies. Studies also show that they provide numerous health advantages, such as better control of type 2 diabetes, lower blood pressure, and lower cholesterol. Alfalfa, lentils, peas, beans (including soy), and peanuts all fall under the legumes category. To enjoy their wholesome benefits, try and add them as a component of your daily meals.
Yasmin Karachiwala is a leading fitness expert and pioneer of the Pilates physical fitness system in India.