Superfoods get their name from the very high levels of nutrients in a single serving of the foods. Some well-known, but obscure superfoods include things like goji berries and chaga mushrooms. If you’re like us, you can’t recall a time that you saw either of these at your local supermarket. However, superfoods do not need to be obscure or hard to find! In fact, you may have several in your kitchen right now! Today, we’ll be talking about three very common, but very significant superfoods that you probably already have and use.
You probably already use garlic in the base of many of your dishes! But we’re guessing you didn’t know that it has antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antiviral benefits. Garlic also boosts the absorption of other nutrients like iron when paired with iron-rich foods. Garlic is rich in selenium, manganese, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. And it is very low in calories- a one ounce serving (that’s a lot of garlic, by the way!) contains 42 calories, 1.8 grams of protein, and 9 grams of carbohydrates. Garlic is also great for your brain health! It contains antioxidants that may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia (1). Please note, if you are on any blood-thinning medications, speak with your doctor before increasing your garlic intake!
Pro tip: to preserve the enzyme activity, let the garlic rest for a few minutes after chopping or mincing and before cooking.
Many people know the fun fact that tomatoes are fruits, not vegetables, but, did you know that tomatoes are technically berries? That’s true! Tomatoes are also incredibly low in calories, high in antioxidants, and many vitamins. One medium sized tomato contains only 22 calories and is 95% water. Tomatoes are a good source of fiber as well, containing approximately 1.5g per average sized tomato. One commonly known benefit of eating tomatoes is that they are a good source of lycopene- this antioxidant is abundant in the tomato peel. The benefits of Lycopene include inflammation reduction (4), helps treat prostate cancer (2), helps control cholesterol levels (3), decreases risk of stroke (5), and more! The deeper red the tomato is, the more lycopene it will contain. Beyond the lycopene, tomatoes are rich in vitamin C, potassium, vitamin K, and vitamin B9 (folate). Tomatoes also contain high levels of beta-carotene, naringenin, and chlorogenic acid.
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Cinnamon has been a prized spice for thousands of years, historically it has been traded and bought for very high prices and was coveted by wealthy people for its taste and medicinal properties. Fortunately for us, today, cinnamon is very easy to get! Cinnamon is made from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum tree. Cinnamon gets its distinctive taste and smell from the oils in the bark, called cinnamaldehyde.
Cinnamon is highly anti-inflammatory due to the high levels of antioxidants and other anti-inflammatory properties it contains. These properties help reduce your risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome. Cinnamon can reduce your risk of heart disease by several means including: lowering LDL cholesterol (7) and reducing blood pressure (8). Cinnamon can also help your body improve your insulin sensitivity and lower your blood sugar (8). There are two types of cinnamon that you may find. Most supermarkets and other stores carry the ‘common’ cinnamon, cassia cinnamon. While this kind of cinnamon contains many health benefits, they are not as abundant as in ‘true’ cinnamon, or Ceylon cinnamon. You can usually find Ceylon cinnamon in health food stores, or you can find it online. If a label does not specify, most likely it is the common, cassia cinnamon.
How many of these foods do you currently have? Many of us already own all three! Will you be using these foods more now that you know they are super? Let us know how you’re planning on incorporating more of these superfoods into your diet!
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