5 Superfoods You Should Integrate Into Your Diet

Whether you’re on a weight-loss diet or following a weight-maintenance program, superfoods form the foundation of the eating plans we create at Nova Physician Wellness Center.

We support each person with nutritional counseling, helping them develop eating habits that promote optimal wellness throughout their life journey. 

If you have questions about diet and superfoods, call one of our offices in Fairfax, Vienna, and Ashburn, Virginia. Meanwhile, we hope this blog gives you some helpful tips about superfoods to integrate into your daily diet.

Why you need superfoods

When you limit your daily caloric intake, the only way to get all your essential vitamins and minerals is to stick with a meal plan that includes nutrient-rich foods. 

Superfoods make every bite count. They’re packed with vitamins and minerals, provide the most nutrients for the fewest calories, and they contain disease-fighting substances such as phytonutrients, fiber, and antioxidants.

Phytonutrients

Phytonutrients are biologically active compounds produced by plants. These phytochemicals infuse fruits and vegetables with their vibrant colors. More importantly, they help prevent chronic diseases. Different phytochemicals can fight cancer, eliminate free radicals, protect your heart, and slow down cellular aging.

Fiber

Both types of fiber, soluble and insoluble, support weight loss by making you feel full. Soluble fiber also lowers cholesterol, stabilizes blood sugar, and nurtures the good bacteria in your gut. Insoluble fiber speeds up bowel movements and prevents constipation.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which are molecules that damage cells, cause inflammation, and contribute to chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and conditions that cause vision loss. Superfoods are rich sources of antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, selenium, zinc, and phytochemicals.

Five superfoods to include in your diet

This list gives you a few good ideas for superfoods to include in your diet. In addition to one key superfood, we also recommend several foods that deliver similar nutritional benefits. 

1. Blueberries

Blueberries are packed with vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, and fiber. They also contain phytonutrients called flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants that support your cardiovascular health.

Flavonoids may stop cholesterol from damaging your blood vessels, prevent memory loss, lower your blood pressure, and limit DNA damage, which protects you from cancer and the effects of aging.

Other blue, purple, and dark red berries such as blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries offer similar benefits.

2. Salmon

The more fish you eat, the lower your risk of developing cardiovascular disease because fatty fish are full of omega-3 fats called EPA and DHA. These omega-3s guard against an erratic heartbeat, prevent blood clots from forming, and lower your blood levels of triglycerides.

Salmon isn’t the only omega-3-rich fish. Herring, sardines, oysters, rainbow trout, and tuna are also great sources of EPA and DHA.

3. Broccoli

Broccoli is super-high in vitamin C and vitamin K, plus it’s a good source of fiber, potassium, folate, and calcium. As a cruciferous vegetable, it’s a unique source of sulfur-based phytochemicals that may prevent cancer, help your body detoxify carcinogenic substances, and fight inflammation.

Other cruciferous vegetables that you can enjoy as superfoods include Brussels sprouts, kale, and collard greens.

4. Oats

Oats do such an exceptional job of lowering your cholesterol that they were the first food to receive permission from the US Food and Drug Administration to carry a food-specific health claim: Their soluble fiber lowers the risk of heart disease.

The complex carbs in oats are a healthy way to boost your energy while holding your blood sugar steady. Oats are also high in protein, magnesium, and manganese.

You’ll get similar benefits from most whole grains, including brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat, and barley.

5. Walnuts

People who regularly eat nuts have a lower risk for developing cardiovascular disease and having a heart attack. Walnuts are especially good for you because they contain a plant-based form of omega-3 fat.

All nuts contain unsaturated fats that lower your cholesterol. They’re also packed with vitamin E, potassium, protein, fiber, and phytonutrients.

Nuts are tricky, however, because they’re high in calories. With just one handful containing about 160 calories, it’s easy to quickly wreck your daily calorie goals. If you include nuts in your diet, be sure to factor the extra calories into your daily intake.

If you have any questions about your nutritional status or how to plan a nutrient-rich diet that works for your unique needs, call Nova Physician Wellness Center, book an appointment online, or ask us about telemedicine options.

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