Maui Food and Dining

A Guide to Tasty and Healthy Super Foods

December 8, 2010, 4:01 PM HST
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Can foods really make a difference in your health? Well, many researchers seem to think so. In fact, some aptly named “super foods” have been proven to lower cholesterol, reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer, and some have even been shown to improve mood and sleeping habits.

Instead of popping a pill, it is possible to improve your health by simply making a trip to your local grocery store or farmer’s market.

Perhaps the best thing about super foods, besides their health benefits, is their taste! Yes, it’s true! Super foods are as tasty as they are beneficial for our bodies! Here our comprehensive list of some of the best super foods:

  • Blueberries – Need a shot of antioxidants? Eat blueberries! These berries are small, but they sure are packed with plenty of health benefits, including phytoflavinoids, vitamin C and potassium, therefore making them the choice for lowering your risk of cancer and heart disease and decreasing inflammation. What most people don’t know is that inflammation is the starting point of most chronic diseases, so fighting inflammation naturally, at its origin, can stave off a number of chronic diseases. Work up to at least a half cup of blueberries a day for the maximum antioxidant effect.
  • Soy – Here’s a super food to which not many of us pay any attention. However, there has been significant research done on soy and it appears that this super food packs a punch when it comes to protein. Instead of soy powder, choose tofu, soy milk or edamame to get the most benefits from soy.
  • Whole grains – Any type of whole grains, whether you find them in a cereal, bread or pasta, do wonders for your blood cholesterol. In fact, the fiber in whole grains has also been shown to keep blood sugar levels in check. Best of all, whole grains keep us feeling fuller for a longer period, thereby helping us maintain a trim waistline.
  • Tea – Did you know your morning cup of tea may be doing more than waking you up? It’s true! Research has shown that both green and black teas pack a powerful antioxidant punch. Tea can lower cholesterol and some studies point to tea for reducing cancer risk.
  • Calcium – You may not think of calcium when you think of super foods, but the truth is that calcium really does a body good. It helps build strong bones, which staves off osteoporosis and some studies have even shown that calcium may help maintain our weight. Most experts recommend at least 1,000 mg of calcium for adults. Choose low or non-fat milk, yogurt and cheese for your calcium-rich diet.
  • Dark chocolate – Women everywhere rejoice! Dark chocolate is now considered a super food, thanks to its antioxidant-rich qualities. What can chocolate do? Researchers have found that it may lower blood pressure and reduce the risk for certain kinds of cancer. Before you grab that candy bar, however, remember that not all chocolate is created equal. To get the most benefits from your dark chocolate treat, aim for chocolate that is packed with at least 60 percent cocoa. In other words, the darker chocolate is always better in terms of health benefits.

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