The term superfood has become synonymous with a healthy lifestyle. These foods are known to contain higher doses of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other qualities beneficial to the body. It's important to know that there isn't one superfood that contains everything you need, and nutritionists advise that you build a super plate. In independent living communities, nutritionally balanced meals are a must to keep up good health and vitality. With that in mind, these are the superfoods you can look forward to in spring and summer.
Acai is a drupe and is found on the acai palm trees. These fruits aren't that great to eat like you would a blueberry or grape. Instead, the seed is removed, and the entire fruit is mashed into a paste. Some of the favorite uses for the paste include ice creams and smoothies. Acai is regarded as a superfood because it contains high levels of calcium and vitamin C. It's also got a surprisingly high fat content of 5%, with low sugar levels, and it's available year-round.
Avocado is more than just a delicious toast or taco topper. It also happens to contain high levels of fat, has more potassium than bananas and is high in fiber, which promotes that fuller-for-longer feeling. It's packed with nutrition and contains 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Avocados are seasonal and reach their peak in summer.
Eggs are incredibly versatile and can be eaten as is or used in dishes to add moisture. They work as a binding agent and can leaven foods. Eggs are high in fats and protein, which is important to fuel the body and encourage muscle growth and repair. They contain high levels of vitamins such as D and B12, minerals like iron and iodine, and carotenoids. Eggs also contain all nine amino acids, which are critical for the proper functioning of your body. The best part is that they're available year-round.
Garlic might have a reputation as the ultimate defense against vampires, but its superfood qualities are worth considering too. Garlic has long been used in the treatment of ailments such as tummy upsets and infections. However, this punchy bulb also contains a heap of great components such as bioactive compounds. These give it those antioxidant, antibacterial and antimicrobial qualities. It includes vitamin C and minerals such as manganese, calcium, phosphorus, selenium and magnesium. Garlic is farm-fresh in the height of summer, but proper storage gives it an all-year shelf life.
Eastern culture has long heralded the goji or wolfberry for its nutritional value and apparent life-lengthening qualities. Its peak harvesting season is summer, and it can be eaten fresh, cooked or dried. It's often used in smoothies or as a cereal or fruit salad topper. Goji berries include vitamins A and C and minerals such as magnesium, zinc, copper, potassium and iron. They're often used to support the immune system and to aid neurological and metabolic syndrome treatment.
The popularity of mangosteen is slowly increasing after the United States banned it for some time due to worries that imports might bring in fruit flies. This has since been lifted, and supermarkets are slowly starting to stock this superfood. High in vitamin C, B1, B2 and B9 and minerals such as manganese and copper, mangosteen has a super ingredient called xanthones. Xanthones are anti-inflammatory and anti-aging and are believed to have cancer- and diabetes-fighting qualities. Mangosteens are at their peak in summer.
You don't have to wait until winter to add this superfood to your dishes as some varieties of pomegranate are already available in late summer. Known as heart food, pomegranate is famed for its polyphenols, which are antioxidants known to support the heart and prevent cancer. If you find yourself craving the fruit out of season, the juice is also a common addition to a healthy diet and contains B vitamins, vitamin C and vitamin K. If your diet is low in folate, pomegranate is a great choice to add to your diet.
What better way to spend those hot summer days than with a light salad and some salmon? Salmon is packed with flavor and high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to reduce the risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Health care providers often suggest that salmon be included in diets when triglycerides and blood pressure are too high.
Seaweed has a strong, salty flavor that adds some punch to salads and broths. It also happens to have several health benefits, such as strengthening thyroid function and supporting gut health. It contains vitamins such as A, C, E and K and minerals such as iron, manganese and copper. Seaweed contains flavonoids and carotenoids, which protect the body against free radicals.