The following can be considered superfoods due to their outstanding nutritional value. They should be incorporated into your diet when possible unless you have specific food allergies or digestive problems:
- Fatty Fish: Several species of cold-water fish (e.g. salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring, and tuna) easily qualify as superfoods. They are high in the kinds of omega-3 fatty acid that can contribute to heart health by lowering triglycerides, raising HDL (good cholesterol), and preventing blood clots, which are often the direct cause of a heart attack. A study showed that men who eat fatty fish twice a week have 50 percent fewer heart-related deaths, and the American Heart Association recommends this level of fish consumption. Omega-3 fatty acids may also help lower high blood pressure, reduce a protein implicated in Alzheimer‘s Disease and benefit people suffering from Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Fish is also an excellent source of protein. Yet, large predatory fish, such as tuna, swordfish and shark, tend to accumulate pollutants in their fat, so consumption of them should be limited. Chunk light tuna contains lower levels of pollutants than solid white tuna and is thus preferable. Those men who do not eat fish regularly may supplement with fish oil capsules. Brands that specify purified fish oil are preferred although a recent study showed no contamination in any major brand. Flax seed oil is not an adequate substitute for fish oil because it does not contain the same balance of omega-3 fatty acids, and there is some indication that the type of fatty acid found in flax seeds may be associated with increased prostate cancer risk. Men with any problem in blood-clotting and those taking anticoagulants (“blood thinners“) should not take fish oil without their doctor's approval.
- Cooked Tomatoes: Cooked tomato products qualify as superfoods based on the scientific evidence. In a large study, men who ate large amounts of cooked tomato products such as tomato sauce, pasta sauce, tomato paste, and ketchup had about a third lower incidence of prostate cancer than those who ate few tomato products. The ingredient in cooked tomatoes thought to be responsible for reduced cancer risk is lycopene. Men with high levels of lycopene score better on the PSA blood level test, used to determine risk of prostate cancer. Unfortunately, many cooked tomato products are heavily salted. Since the sodium in salt can lead to high blood pressure with its related health problems, it is best to look for cooked tomato products that do not have excessively high sodium content. Read nutrition labels carefully. Men who do not want to eat large amounts of cooked tomato products may choose to take lycopene supplements.
- Nuts: The classification of nuts as superfoods is supported by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's approval of the claim that nuts may reduce the risk of heart disease. The recommendation is specific to almonds, walnuts, peanuts, pistachios, pecans, some pine nuts, and hazelnuts, because they contain limited amounts of saturated fats per serving. Nuts are also high in vegetable protein and fiber. However, because they are high in calories, they should be eaten in moderation and as substitutes for other food, rather than as additions to normal meals. It is also best to eat unsalted nuts because excess sodium intake can raise blood pressure which, in turn, can lead to several other health problems. Lightly salted nuts may be acceptable if you limit your overall daily sodium intake. However, it doesn't take long to adjust to eating unsalted nuts, which have plenty of flavor on their own.
- Green Vegetables: Various kinds of green vegetables qualify as superfoods because of their high vitamin, mineral, and fiber content. They are also high in anti-oxidents, although science has not yet confirmed how beneficial antioxidants are.
- Green Leafy Vegetables: Spinach, kale, collard greens, chard are high in vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, and are high non-dairy sources of calcium as well as lutein and zeaxanthin that keep the eyes healthy.
- Broccoli: Rich in folic acid, vitamins A and C, calcium, lutein, zeaxanthin, and cancer-fighting substances.
- Red Peppers
- Sweet Potatoes
- Garlic: Studies have shown that its consumption may reduce risk factors for heart disease such as total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. Other suggested effects include reduced risk of blood clots, lower blood pressure, and inhibition of cancer.
- Turmeric: This is a major ingredient in curry powder. Studies have shown that it can lower LDL cholesterol, reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease, and fight cancer.
- Cinnamon: This spice can lower total and LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, inflammation, and blood sugar.
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