Superfoods may not dress up in tights and capes, but many of them are rather colorful and easy to spot. That’s because one of the things that all superfoods have in common are phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are the substances that give plants their color, their nutrition, and their disease resistance.
Also, it goes without saying that all superfoods are “all natural.” You will not find anything processed or refined in a superfood. The other attributes that all superfoods have in common are antioxidants, high nutrition, and fiber. It’s a triple punch that adds up to maximum health.
As a group, all of the superfoods contain key nutrients that have been found in study after study to maximize health. For example, a Japanese study published in 2004 entitled Flavonoids in food and their health benefits concluded:
“The Flavonoids [found in superfoods] are shown to have antioxidative activity, free-radical scavenging capacity, coronary heart disease prevention, and anticancer activity”.
In addition to flavonoids, the superfoods are rich in Vitamins A, B, and C. Critical minerals such as folate, magnesium, and potassium are found in the superfoods as are the “good fats” such as Omega 3’s and Gamma-Linolenic Acid. Unfortunately, these are the same nutrients that are lacking in the diets of most American women.
All of the superfoods are a great way to improve overall health. Many of them have been proven in clinical studies to prevent or combat specific disease states such as Cancer, Heart Disease, even Alzheimer’s
- Tart Cherries – Tart Cherries may very well be the ultimate superfood. Tart cherries, not to be confused with sweet cherries, are found in the grocer in frozen, dried or canned form. Tart cherries like many of the superfoods on this list are rich in powerful antioxidants known as Flavonoids. Flavonoids are what give tart cherries and many other superfoods such as berries their deep rich color. The flavonoids in tart cherries have been shown to fight cancer, relieve pain, and improve memory. Tart cherries can be eaten whole, used in a variety of recipes, or juiced. A tempting dessert can be made by taking the frozen ones directly from the freezer and stirring them into yogurt or sour cream, for a healthy frosty treat with the antioxidant power to defeat more than a craving for ice cream.
- Green Tea – An ancient Chinese proverb says “Better to be deprived of food for three days, then tea for one”. The Chinese have long known of the medicinal and therapeutic value of teas, specifically green tea. The ancient Chinese used green tea to treat everything from migraines to depression. Green tea has been shown to boost the immune system, lower cholesterol, control blood pressure and improve the health of skin.
- Wheat Germ – The center of a kernel of wheat is a treasure trove of nutrition. Magnesium is an essential nutrient for women, especially post-menopausal women. And yet nutritionists say that three out of every four women do not get enough of this vital mineral. Just a half-cup of toasted wheat germ provides more than 50% of a woman’s daily requirement of magnesium. Magnesium reduces stress, prevents osteoporosis, and helps to regulate thyroid function, which can minimize some of the unpleasant symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes and night sweats. A recent Harvard study found that women who ate magnesium-rich diets cut their risk of developing diabetes in half. Wheat germ also provides bountiful amounts of vitamins, including 100% of your daily need for folic acid, 50% for vitamin E, and loads of other good stuff such as zinc and iron.
- Dark Chocolate – OK ladies, who says that a superfood can’t be decadent as well as delicious? Forget the milk chocolate junk food that has virtually no nutritional value, but nature’s rich, succulent, deep-dark desire is a treat and a bounty of antioxidant goodness. The level of antioxidants in dark chocolate outranks just about any other superfood. Rich dark chocolate, 70% Cocoa or higher, lowers cholesterol, reduces blood clots, and inflammation in arteries – and just is one of life’s greatest pleasures.
- Berries– Blueberries have been called the best food on the planet to keep your mind young and sharp. With as much antioxidant muscle as tart cherries, but able to be enjoyed much more readily, berries strengthen tissue defenses against free radical oxidation and inflammation, which are the underlying factors in most age-related conditions including Alzheimer’s. Polyphenols in blueberries have been shown to improve short-term memory. Studies have indicated that all berries lower the risk for breast and colon cancer in women. Adding just one cup of berries a day to your diet is a delicious way to improve your health. Frozen blueberries make a great frosty after-dinner snack instead of ice cream. Any tossed salad improves with a handful of raspberries. Be creative, add berries to salsas, muffin batter, and if you are going to eat pancakes or waffles, be sure they are whole grain and forget the syrup — top them with fresh blueberries instead.
- Broccoli – Broccoli is front and center in the war on cancer. Broccoli is particularly potent against lung, colon, and breast cancers. Like other cruciferous vegetables, it speeds up the removal of estrogen from the body, helping suppress breast cancer. It is also a super source of chromium that helps regulate blood sugar. Rich in calcium, broccoli also helps fights osteoporosis and bone loss in women.
- Pumpkin – You may know this vegetable for its central role in Halloween and Thanksgiving celebrations, but it’s no trick that pumpkin is also one of the greatest weight-loss foods ever. Pumpkins are loaded with phytonutrients, to keep your skin looking young and help prevent damage from sun exposure. Take some plain old canned pumpkin, throw in some healthy almonds and you’ve created one of the best tasting weight-loss treats around. It’s filling and delicious.
All human beings, both men and women, require similar nutrients to look and feel their best. Yet women do have certain unique nutritional needs, which fortunately are found in some delicious and tantalizing superfoods. These 7 foods address the special needs of a women’s body – but more than that, they also can be prepared in some truly taste-tempting creations.
A food that lengthens lives, satisfies your body’s needs, and your cravings as well? What else would you call that than a Super Food!