Super foods are aptly named! Although it may seem like a marketing gimmick, super foods are given their superlative because they have several times more valuable nutrition than their average, everyday counterparts.
Many super foods are also part of the flavor cornerstones in some of the most popular traditional cuisines around the world, which just goes to show that what’s naturally delicious is usually good for you (in moderation).
Sure, super foods might not prevent oncoming traffic collisions, but they do help the body accomplish similar feats on a molecular scale, which can definitely help save your day!
Farmed (not wild) salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help lower blood pressure and improve blood vessel health. Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat which are integral parts of cell membranes throughout the body. These fatty acids are also key in the body to produce hormones which regulate blood clotting, artery contraction and relaxation, and inflammation.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown in research to help prevent heart disease, stroke, cancer, and other serious conditions. And, for the love of meat, grilled, smoked, or even raw salmon is delicious. Now you know that the creamy, fatty taste is also great for your heart! Time for some salmon carpaccio…
Anchovies are another great source of omega-3's, and despite their size, they still provide almost half of what salmon can, per serving. Recent studies (conducted in Italy, of course) show that heart attack survivors are less likely to have repeat attacks, strokes, or die of sudden deaths when taking 1 gram of omega-3 fatty acids per day!
Another great reason to get quality anchovies. Seriously, the cheap stuff they use at your local pizzeria is the reason why anchovies get a bad, smelly rap. If you can get your hands on fresh anchovies, they’re also delicious grilled whole.
Fresh-chopped garlic creates allicin, a chemical which helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Allicin is known to help improve blood vessel health and ease inflammation, which in combination with lowering blood pressure and cholesterol can help prevent atherosclerosis, heart disease, and eventual heart attacks.
Garlic may not actually ward vampires, but it’s certainly good at protecting your health. Chop or slice fresh garlic to make sure that allicin is present in your seasoning portions! Apparently, garlic only produces high levels of allicin as a defense mechanism against predators. Not that you’re popping whole cloves down the hatch, but just in case...
Walnuts are great sources of protein and other minerals, and are also high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, including omega-3’s! Including the health benefits listed above for salmon and anchovies, walnuts also contain alpha linoleic acids (ALA). Research supports that ALAs help reduce heart arrhythmia, or irregular heart beating, which can lead to heart attacks or strokes.
And it’s probably one of the best toppings or additions to so many delicious foods! Walnut banana bread, chopped walnuts in salads, oatmeal walnut cookies… the list goes on.
The classic cure to scurvy. Turns out the vitamin C in oranges also helps prevent the oxidation of cholesterol, a major source of plaque buildups in arteries! Plaque accumulation blocks blood flow which can cause heart attacks or strokes. Studies show that drinking orange juice or eating oranges daily can significantly lower cholesterol levels, even possibly more than cholesterol medication!
Also, who doesn’t enjoy a glass of fresh orange juice? People who hate puppies, perhaps.
No, Grandpa! Not the prunes! Yes. Prunes. High in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, prunes help reduce inflammation, lower blood sugar levels, and lower cholesterol levels, which significantly contributes to preventive cardio health care. Making good ol’ grandpa as stubborn as possible, that’s for sure.
This is perhaps the only super food on this list that is questionable to the taste, but they’re certainly not inedible, and for the benefits, it’s well worth having a few a day!
Check out the Bello or FITTO app for more recommendations on super foods, how to use them in recipes, and more!