Many of us have been forced to practice sheltering at home and social distancing to help flatten the curve during the pandemic. But even when we’re hunkered down at home, it’s still important to watch what we eat in an effort to boost our immune systems and remain healthy.
In our previous post, Nick Delgado highlighted how eating a whole-food, plant-based, oil-free diet rich in omega fatty acids is essential to staying healthy during this time.
There has never been a more opportune time to take advantage of superfoods. Nutrient-rich and a catalyst for good health and overall well-being, Inc notes that not only do superfoods optimize your immune system, but they also have inherent body-healing compounds, the capacity to reduce inflammation, and the ability to eliminate harmful bacteria. Superfoods are brimmed with disease-fighting nutrients and happen to come in delicious forms.
To help you incorporate more superfoods into your diet, here is a list of some of the best superfoods:
Chia seeds are sourced from the plant chia, a desert plant that belongs to the mint family. They’re mostly black, white, and brown, and are often sprinkled in various dishes. A PrettyMe article on the health benefits of chia seeds reveals that while they are poor in vitamin content, they’re packed with a bunch of minerals including but not limited to calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and zinc. What’s more, chia seeds are also rich in antioxidants and help the body maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
Research data curated by The Healthy reveals that strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries contain antioxidant properties that boost not only your physical health, but your brain health, too. In a study on women, it was found that those who munched on more blueberries and strawberries experienced slower cognitive decline. Since berries have high flavonoid content — antioxidants that cross the blood-brain barrier and positively affect areas of the brain linked to learning and memory — incorporating berries into your daily diet may help in improving your cognitive function.
Miso, a fermented paste that is typically comprised of soybeans, a grain like rice or barley, and salt, isn’t just a novelty ingredient featured in soups. In fact, long before its prevalence in the Western world, it was consumed regularly in Japan by locals. Fast forward to today, miso can be found in various dishes like salads, pasta, and sandwiches. As a fermented ingredient, it’s a great source of probiotics, which contributes to enhancing your gut health and immune system. It’s also rich in protein, minerals like manganese and zinc, as well as vitamins such as vitamin E, vitamin K, various B vitamins, and folic acid.
Love it or hate it, broccoli can contribute to your overall health. Eating Well notes how this green powerhouse is packed with vitamins, specifically A, C, and K, as well as folate. It also has a healthy dose of sulforaphane, which is a type of isothiocyanate that is known to fight cancer by helping to stimulate the body’s detoxifying enzymes.
A Harvard Health Blog article on superfoods claims that legumes, a broad category that includes kidney, black, red, and garbanzo beans, along with soybeans and peas, are an excellent source of fiber, folate, and plant-based protein. In fact, this plant family is associated with reducing the risk of heart disease. And while they’re not exactly palatable to eat on their own, you may want to get creative and add them into salads, soups, and casseroles, or make chili or bean-based spread like hummus.