What Are Superfoods?
Superfoods or super foods, are functional foods that have the ability to lower cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease, help stabilize your blood sugar and reduce your risk of diabetes, even help prevent arthritis and depression. A healthy diet featuring these health-altering and mood-altering foods have been shown to help fight disease, and maybe even add years to your life. Our stores are filled with superfoods and natural and organic products that make it easier to lead a healthier lifestyle.
Berries have some of the highest antioxidant content of any fruit and are great sources of several phytochemicals that seem to help block cancer development. Rouses produce department is filling up with strawberries, which are a fabulous source of Vitamin C, anthocyanins and ellagic acid, which have both been shown in laboratory tests to inhibit the growth of some cancer cells.
Fish is a great source of protein healthy fats and doctors recommend eating at least two servings a week. The monounsaturated Omega 3 fats in fatty, cold-water fish like wild salmon can help lower your risk for heart disease, arthritis, stroke, depression and arthritis. While salmon gets most the attention, tuna, mackerel, even trout, catfish, and swordfish contain some Omega 3s. Canned sardines, salmon, tuna and anchovies are also high in Omega 3s.
Our advice for better health: Go Nuts! Walnuts are a great source of Omega 3 fats, while almonds are high in selenium and Vitamin E, and cashews are high in copper and magnesium. Pistachios are the new breakout superfood. Packed with copper, magnesium and Vitamin B to help strengthen your immune system, and monounsaturated fats that can help lower your cholesterol, a 1 oz. serving has much potassium as half of a large banana.
Beans & Lentils
High in complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber, beans, lentils and dried peas are low in fat and provide protein and phytochemicals. In South Louisiana and Mississippi, we always jazz up our beans, even when making healthier versions. That’s good news, at least when it comes to the vegetables we add: onions and garlic have anti-inflammatory properties and can help lower insulin peaks.
If you’re cooking lentils, add turmeric, a spice that is very high in antioxidants. Turmeric is what makes curries yellow. Look for it on our spice aisle.
We may love our coffee, but iced tea and even hot tea are also big around here. All teas are made from the leaf of the plant Camellia sinensis and contain polyphenol compounds known as catechins. These are antioxidants that naturally occur in all teas, no matter what color (color is determined by the oxidation). Green tea gets the most attention because of its high level of ECGS, a specific catechin that has been shown to lower cholesterol when consumed regularly.
Yogurt is high in calcium, which helps you build strong bones, and in some studies has been shown to help with weight loss. There is also evidence that calcium helps to naturally relieve the systems of PMS. But what makes yogurt, and Kefir, a drinkable yogurt, so special are the probiotics they contain. Probiotics are created during fermentation and help aid in digestion. Sauerkraut and Kombucha tea are two other great sources of probiotics,
Broccoli reduces your risk of heart disease, and increases the production of detoxification enzymes, which help the body rid itself of potentially carcinogenic substances. It also lowers blood pressure and the incidence of cataracts. Don’t overcook it, though; broccoli loses its protective health when cooked too long.
There’s a difference between sweet potatoes grown in northern states and those grown locally. Our sweet potatoes are “soft,” which means they are higher in natural sugar, more moist and have a bright orange flesh color. This “soft” type of sweet potato is often referred to as a yam. Whether you call it a sweet potato or a yam, this orange potato is a great source of Vitamin A, beta-carotene and Vitamin C.
Spinach and kale are low in calories and high vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, making them two of the most nutritious vegetables around. Whether you eat fresh spinach and kale in salads, steamed, or sautéed with garlic, these super greens are packed with B vitamins, Vitamin K, which is important in cardiovascular health and bone health, magnesium, potassium, folate, lutein (a carotenoid), calcium and fiber. They’re also a great source of Iron for vegetarians. In the South, we love all kinds of greens.Mustard greens have the most pronounced flavor, followed by turnip, then the mildest, collard.
For years scientists advised people with high cholesterol to avoid eggs, but recent studies have shown that an egg a day won’t change your cholesterol levels. Eggs are rich in protein and packed with minerals like calcium and magnesium and vitamins A, D, E, B6 and B12. A single egg provides 100% of the carotenoids essential for healthy eyes.
Dark chocolate helps boost endorphins and seratonins. It’s also rich in flavonoids or bioflavanoids, which are known for their antioxidant activity, and have been shown to improve blood flow, lower blood pressure, improve blood flow, boost overall heart and even boost your mood. Choose chocolate that is at least 70 percent cacao or coco.