Exactly what are “superfoods” and why do we need them? The answer is quite simple--superfoods are natural, nutrient-rich, power-packed sources of vitamins, minerals and electrolytes that contain fewer calories than processed foods. These foods should be a part of everyone’s regular diet, as study after study shows that diets rich in superfoods can help boost our energy and brain power as they strengthen our immune system.
Natural Energy-Boosting Recommendations
Go a Little Nuts
On those days when you just can’t get your “get-up-and-go,” energize yourself the natural way. Start out with a handful of almonds. It only takes 20 almonds to give you more than 40 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin E, a powerful immune-bolstering antioxidant.
For a quick mid-day energy boost, have a serving of fresh pineapple--nature’s pick-me-up. Pineapple is filled with fructose, fiber and water, exactly what your body needs to get going. In addition, the bright yellow fruit contains manganese, thiamin and B6 which help in carbohydrate metabolism and serotonin production for a natural “high.”
Get Your Grains On
Whole grains are not only filled with energizing nutrients like B vitamins, sinking your teeth into a piece of whole wheat toast supports you with manganese, protein, iron, fiber and magnesium. Complex carbs found in whole wheat absorb slower than simple carbs, allowing your blood sugar to remain stable for several hours, providing a longer, gradual release of natural energy.
Natural Brain-Boosting Recommendations
Two recent studies, one published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, and the other in the European Journal of Nutrition, both emphasize the importance of omega-3 fatty acids. The research suggests that consuming nuts, grains and fish containing omega-3s may potentially slow the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Foods like pumpkin seeds, soy beans and oily fish give you a dose of DHA and EPA, the essential fatty acids your body needs to enhance brain function and improve general wellbeing.
According to the AddNeuroMed-Project, a study conducted by at the Karolina Institutet in Stockholm Sweden, vitamin E may have a positive effect on cognitive decline, especially for senior citizens. Feed your brain with leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale and radishes for a natural dose of vitamin E. If veggies are not your thing, consider adding greens to juices and smoothies, or invest in a quality vitamin E supplement.
Say Tomato (or To-mah-to)
When it comes to your brain, there’s nothing rotten about tomatoes! In fact, tomatoes contain a powerful antioxidant called lycopene that may help protect brain cells from the damage of free radicals.
In addition to a eating a diet filled with fish, veggies and fruit, you can do your body and your brain good with a treat every now and then. The occasional chocolate splurge, cup of coffee sprinkled with cinnamon or a bowl of berries topped with grated coconut will make both your brain and your palette happy!