What are super-foods?
Find out what super-foods are and why they are good for you.
February 20, 2013 - Author: Diana Hassan, Michigan State University Extension
So what’s the craze about super-foods? These foods are considered multi-taskers – they contain multiple disease fighting nutrients that promote wellness, weight control and most importantly, they taste good. These foods are easy to prepare and include in everyday meals, and they don’t contain excess or “empty” calories.
If you have diabetes, you can still enjoy the benefits of these foods if you add them to your meals in appropriate portions and choose super-foods with a low glycemic index. Some of the super-foods that the American Diabetes Association recommends are as follows:
- Beans: Beans are very high in fiber and can provide you with a lot of key nutrients such as magnesium and potassium. Beans are considered starchy vegetables, but they are high in protein and low in fat.
- Dark green leafy vegetables: Vegetables like spinach, kale and collards are low in calories and carbohydrates yet they provide you with a bunch of vitamins and minerals.
- Citrus fruit: Includes oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit. These will provide you with soluble fiber and vitamin C.
- Sweet potatoes: They are considered a starchy vegetable, but they are full of vitamin A and fiber. They are also lower in Glycemic Index (GI) than regular white potatoes.
- Berries: Berries such as blueberries, strawberries and other berries are packed with antioxidants, vitamins and fiber.
- Tomatoes: Tomatoes are high in vital nutrients such as vitamins C and E and iron. You can eat your tomatoes the way you like them; raw, as sauce or pureed.
- Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids: Salmon is included. Omega-3 fats help lower the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, high triglyceride levels and plaque buildup in arteries. Aim at consuming six to nine ounces per week.
- Whole grains: Whole grains offer nutrients that may be lacking in processed grains. The nutrients include magnesium, chromium and folate. In addition, whole grains are a great source of fiber. Examples of whole grains include brown rice, oatmeal and pearled barley.
- Nuts: Nuts can provide you with sufficient healthy fats and protein in just one ounce. They also provide you with fiber and magnesium. Almonds, walnuts and pistachios are examples of nuts.
- Fat-free milk and yogurt: In addition to calcium, many fortified dairy products are good sources of vitamin D.
Don’t forget that how you prepare your meals matter. Stay away from breaded and fried foods and bake, broil or steam your fresh foods instead. Also, stay away from highly processed foods that may contain extra calories from added fats and sugars. Michigan State University Extension suggests adding flavor to your foods by experimenting with spices and herbs instead of salt.