I talk a lot about how eating a clean diet will have a tremendous impact on your health and longevity. Sticking to the basics of eating fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and lean protein, while minimizing processed grains and sugars is a great starting point. However, if we look deeper into specific health benefits of certain foods and do our best to supplement those foods into our diets regularly, we can do even more to ensure proper nutrition and wellness. Here I share five of my favorite “Superfoods,” which are easy to find at most local grocery stores.
Wild-Caught Alaskan Salmon
Very few foods have more healthy omega-3 fatty acids than salmon. These omega-3s have numerous health benefits, including cardiovascular support and nervous system stimulation. The key here is finding wild-caught salmon sources. Farm-raised and genetically-engineered salmon are fed a diet consisting of grains and legume feed, which does not allow the salmon to grow naturally. As a result, omega-3 fatty acid levels in these fish can be reduced by as much as 50% when compared to wild salmon.
Spinach is packed with healthy nutrients including vitamin K1 (good for veins and arteries), magnesium (helps with digestion and muscle aches), and calcium (builds strong bones). Spinach is also rich in antioxidants, which fight cancer. An important note for spinach is that it is best consumed raw, steamed, or lightly sautéed, as overcooking the spinach will leach out some of the healthy phytonutrients.
Avocados are packed with healthy fats, and also have qualities that help your body absorb other nutrients at a higher rate. They also help inhibit inflammatory responses from our bodies when we eat things like processed grains and sugars. One great feature of avocados is they are one of the safest foods to eat non-organically, as their thick skin helps keep pesticides and other chemicals from reaching the edible meat on the inside.
Eggs are the gold standard for protein absorption, meaning that our bodies can utilize the protein in eggs better than virtually all other food sources. A single egg contains up to nine essential amino acids, which our bodies can use for muscle growth and repair. The best source of eggs are “free-ranged” or “pastured” eggs, and keep in mind that “cage-free” is not exactly the same thing. Cage-free chickens may still be raised in large pens and pumped with antibiotic formula, while free-ranged chickens have the chance to live outside and feed on a more natural diet of grass, grains, bugs, and seeds.
Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are some of the best sources of cancer-fighting antioxidants, and are loaded with several other phytonutrients to reduce risk of heart disease, inflammation, and nervous system degeneration. Combine frozen berries with spinach and ice water or almond milk for a delicious superfood breakfast smoothie!
Yours in Health, Dr. Alex