Holiday season is upon us, friends. We all know what that means: it’s time to avoid hitting the scale at all costs. Face it: Americans indulge on all the sweet, savory, and candy coated delights that this time of year has to offer.
In the age of 1700-calorie burgers, fried foods, and chocolate covered everything, it’s hard to find a healthy diet regimen to fit your lifestyle, whether you are active or not. We’ve all heard about the nutritious value to salmon, blueberries, Greek yogurt, kale and water, but what can we do to break the traditional superfood mold?
While it may just be a marketing term for healthy foods jam-packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, I’m definitely buying into the idea after trying some of these myself. Check out this list of superfoods that you may not have heard of just yet!
Popular for its anti-aging and weight loss aid, the acai berry is becoming increasingly popular among the superfood market. The small purple berry is packed with antioxidants which help to fight off cancer and heart disease, something we can all appreciate as we grow older. I found that blending unsweetened acai berries into a smoothie with some sweeter fruits, like oranges or strawberries, is really good. You can avoid all the excess sugar found in fruit juices that way.
For those of us that don’t really appreciate seafood, chia seeds are a great swap. Containing fiber and calcium, they add plant-based omega-3 fatty acids into your diet, something you would normally find in fish. I’ve added them to smoothies. oatmeal, and salads before; the flavor is amazing. (Just be sure you buy the chia seeds intended for eating and not growing your Chia Pet!)
No, I’m not asking you to go into your grandmother’s fridge for the prune juice. Eating these dried plums can help to build bone density through cell stimulation. They might not be for everyone, but they are a good calcium alternative with yogurt or on-the-go.
Much like prunes, the high calcium content found in bok choy builds up protection in your bones over time. Adding this to a salad or steaming it is a great way to add an extra serving of vegetables to your diet. And ladies, this one’s for you: health experts say that it can help lessen PMS symptoms. You’re welcome.
One serving of scallops contains 35 grams of protein and only 1.4 grams of fat. Hard to beat that kind of nutritional value in a lean protein. The protein/amino acids found in scallops help in maintaining healthy muscles as well as repairing damaged tissue. For men, one serving of these takes care of 65 percent of daily protein intake, while women consume 76 percent of their daily protein intake requirement.
Where I waitress, we add this delicious vegetable to our Thai Shrimp Salad, part of the low-calorie portion of the menu. Edamame is a great source of plant-based protein, fiber, and cholesterol-lowering phytosterols. Top any salad off with these for a little extra flavor!
Research studies across the world have shown that kiwifruit reduces asthma-related wheezing and coughing. With a high Vitamin-C content, one kiwifruit covers 110 percent of your daily intake of Vitamin C. (I don’t think even orange juice can match that.)
Yes, you heard that right, and just in time for all of those holiday turkey carvings. With 20 grams of proteins at just 90 calories per 3-ounce serving, you can load up on the turkey during the holidays this year. Just be ready for the turkey-coma to follow. (The tryptophan in turkey does have a sedative nature to it, but science shows that this essential amino acid doesn’t cause as much sleepiness as we thought!)
This is just a small portion of the list of both mainstream and off the grid superfoods that are out there for those trying to swing into a healthier lifestyle or change up their diet. Each of these contains a unique nutritious quality and taste that can be added to just about any aspect of your diet. I’ve found so many lists on the web about superfoods, the facts and myths behind how superfood-esque they actually are, and which ones contain the most vitamins, minerals, and essentials for healthy living. This one is short, sweet, and to the point, but it has the most variety of any superfood list I have seen yet. Be sure to check it out before your next trip to the grocery store!
Featured image via How Sweet Eats.