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By Vince Beam, ATC/L, CSCS
Most everyone has probably seen a list of “must-have” super foods. Foods packed with phytochemicals that protect your heart, enhance your brain power and protect against different cancers. Gogi berry, acai juice, wheat grass, and seaweed are a few of the more exotic super foods. However, a recent surge in clinical research reveals super foods that can help lower your risks of everything from cancer and heart disease to macular degeneration and osteoporosis. The good news is that the new crop of super foods is much less exotic and thus more accessible and affordable. You can even grow some of them in your own garden. Here is a compilation of some of the more available and affordable super foods (sources: Cleveland Clinic, Web MD).
Barley. Barley is available at most health food stores. In fact it can be prepared similarly to oatmeal. This grain can blast LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, and triglycerides, lowering your total cholesterol an average of 13 points without affecting HDL, or “good” cholesterol levels. A cup and a half of cooked barley contains three grams of soluble fiber, the daily amount recommended by the Food and Drug Administration.
Macadamia nuts. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that when men with high cholesterol ate between one and three ounces of macadamia nuts per day for one month, their LDL dropped by 5.3 percent and their HDL rose by 7.9 percent. The nuts increased the amount of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids in the blood. One ounce is adequate for most people.
Lean top sirloin. A four ounce serving provides more than half the daily recommendation of zinc, a bone-protecting mineral. Low levels of zinc are associated with brittle bones in middle-aged women. If you prefer seafood, an Alaskan king crab leg is a great alternative.
Olive oil. Research shows that two teaspoons of olive oil (plus three grams of fish oil) everyday may significantly improve morning stiffness, joint pain, and fatigue. In addition, a high intake of olive oil may reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis by up to 61 percent.
Coffee. People who drank three to five cups of filtered java a day reduced their risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s by 65 percent, according to results from a Finnish/Swedish study of more than 1,400 people over two decades by the University of Kuopio and published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Other super foods that offer great benefits include: grapes, broccoli, collard greens, cauliflower, pears, apples, Low fat or fat-free plain yogurt, kiwis, sweet potatoes
As you can see from the list of foods, these items are available and affordable. Sirloin, baked sweet potato, broccoli and a fruit salad sounds like a delicious dinner and it is super for you. So, don’t think that because a food isn’t grown in exotic locations it can’t still be a “super food”. For more information on eating healthy call the Physical Therapy Specialists Clinic Wellness and Prevention Program at 800-695-5899 or email email@example.com.