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What superfoods should I add to my grocery list?
One thing you want to put on there is salmon or lake trout or maybe mackerel if you like it and that’s going to give you your omega-3 fats.
What are the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids?
Omega-3 fats are healthy for your brain, fabulous protectors for your heart and they also reduce inflammation and these days there a lot about the inflammatory response and how harmful it is and can raise risks for many diseases, including heart disease, so you want to have those omega-3s.
What if I don’t like fish?
The fish fat is the best form of omega-3 to get, so you could throw some walnuts or flaxseed into your oatmeal in the morning, use a little flaxseed oil or you could get fish oil tablets, but you want to make sure you get something that says “molecularly distilled.”
What about fruit? Which are superfoods I should be eating?
Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants and they have something, what they call anthocyanocides, which preserve your vision. And, blueberries have been found to have a very positive effect on your memory.
What vegetables should I include in my diet that are superfoods?
Another superfood down that vegetable aisle is broccoli. It’s loaded with nutrition, including beta carotene and vitamin C, folic acid. It also has the antioxidant lutein which can delay the progression of age-related macular degeneration. This is a form of blindness that affects many older people. So that lutein in there will protect your eyesight. And it has another phytochemical called sulphorophane, which has a lot of anti-cancer properties.
What do these anti-cancer properties do?
They prevent, and help prevent, colon cancer and there’s something else in there called isothiocyanates, which stimulates your body’s own production of its own cancer-fighting substances.
What if I don’t like broccoli?
If you don’t like broccoli, all the other vegetables in the crucifers family will do, which would include things like cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, kale — all contain a lot of the similar properties that broccoli does, so you’re not just stuck to the little green trees.
What are the benefits of these vegetables?
The crucifer vegetables as a group appear to lower cancers of the stomach, esophagus, lung, throat, endometrium, pancreas and colon. How could you not have those in your diet?
Are tomatoes a superfood, too?
Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C and vitamin A and they contain lycopene.
What is lycopene?
This is a phytochemical that can neutralize those oxygen molecules that want to damage cells. It’s found that lycopene will reduce risk of prostate cancer. The interesting thing about this is cooked tomatoes actually have more lycopene than raw tomatoes, so the more concentrated the tomato gets, so let’s say you go from tomato, tomato juice, tomato sauce, tomato paste as you get more of the water out the lycopene gets more intense and so cooked tomatoes actually have more lycopene than you know, cup for cup, than fresh tomatoes so this is a great reason to eat spaghetti and the occasional pizza.
How do you get all of these superfoods incorporated into your diet?
First of all, go down the fresh part of the shopping aisle and pick a lot of fruits and vegetables, bring home really healthy fish, add beans, oatmeal for the soluble fiber, you’re going to have a diet that will enhance your health, minimize the deleterious effects of aging, protects you against heart disease and cancer, enhances your brain health. How can you not include superfoods in your diet every day?
For More Information
To learn more about Sharp's nutrition services or to find a Sharp-affiliated physician, search for San Diego doctors or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm. To find general information about nutrition, read the Nutrition News archive.