Wellness11 Amazing Brain Superfoods & Body Superfoods to Improve Health

11 Amazing Brain Superfoods & Body Superfoods to Improve Health


Some foods can actually be EXTRA beneficial to your health! We call these “Superfoods.” Superfoods are foods that are more nutritionally dense, and provide benefits beyond great nutrition. However, there is no real cut-and-dry criteria for what can and cannot be labeled a superfood. It is not a scientific term. The term “superfood” has become a kind of marketing term over the last 20+ years. There are a ton of different articles you can read on superfoods, and every superfood list is different.

Why this Superfood List is Unique

What is unique about my superfood list is I’m listing out various essential minerals and vitamins you get from each food and providing more detail on health conditions these foods help prevent.

I will share which superfoods are great for physical health along with brain superfoods. I have pulled together some popular foods that are most often labeled as superfoods by nutritionists and health experts alike. But, these shouldn’t be the only healthy foods you eat. The key to a healthy diet is to eat a variety of highly nutritious foods.

Incorporating more superfoods into your diet will help you get more of the vitamins and nutrients you need to be healthy. If you read my blog on Supplements, you probably read about essential vitamins and minerals we need everyday for optimal health. To make it easier on you, I have listed them again below.


Essential Minerals and Vitamins

Essential Minerals: calcium, copper, chloride, chromium, fluoride, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, sulfur, and zinc.

Essential Vitamins: Vitamins A, C, D, E, K, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6, B12 (cyanocobalamin), and Folate (folic acid and B9).

Omega 3 and Omega 6 are Essential Fatty Acids 
In animal and human studies, omega-3 fatty acids have shown a beneficial effect on cardiovascular health (lowering cholesterol, regulating heart rhythms and blood pressure, preventing blood clots, decreasing inflammation) (Harvard). Omega 6 most people get enough from their food. However, Omega 3 many struggle to get enough into their diet.

Not consuming some of these vitamins and minerals can cause a deficiency. Being deficient can contribute to a chronic health condition later on in life. As I talk about the different superfoods, you will see that I mention some of the health issues that these foods can help with. Our diet is a major contributing factor to whether or not we end up with something like cancer, diabetes, dementia, Parkinson’s, heart disease, etc. Also note how I mention some of these foods prevent inflammation. As I mentioned in previous blogs, it is a leading cause of many modern illnesses.


11 Superfoods

Note: Choose organic foods for the maximum benefits. If you can’t afford to then at least try and utilize the Dirty Dozen List. In addition, foods that are fried, caked in vegetable oils, and packed with sugars in a processed form will not give you those healthy nutrients you are looking for.

Here are some of the most popular Superfoods and Best Power Foods for the Brain:

to An image of salmon on a plate to talk about its benefits as a superfood and the essential vitamins and minerals in contains.1. Fish (Salmon)

Note: choose wild-caught fish not farm-raised.

American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least twice a week for heart health. Fish will lower risk of strokes, high blood pressure, heart attacks, etc. It also helps lower cholesterol. Salmon specifically is excellent for brain health being high in Omega-3 fatty acids. It can help build cognitive intelligence in children and is great for expecting mothers to consume.

Health Conditions Salmon May Help with:
Omega 3s in salmon are often used in treatment for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Which could mean a deficiency in Omega 3s could of contributed to these health conditions. It is also believed Omega 3s can help prevent and help people heal from various cancers. Salmon can also help to fight off inflammation, repair damaged tissues, improve thyroid function, and help with weight loss.

Essential Minerals and Vitamins Include
Salmon is rich in almost all the Vitamin Bs. It also contains Vitamin D, Vitamin A, potassium, iron, and selenium. Plus, Omega 3s.

2. Leafy Greens (Kale)

There is no argument that kale is a superfood. It has even been called in the past the #1 superfood. Kale is amazing because it can help with brain health, lowering cholesterol, improving bone health, and digestion. It can also help with fighting off inflammation, improving skin and hair, and helping with weight loss. It is packed with antioxidants which protect cells. At its best, this strong network of warriors can stop up to 99 percent of free radicals from damaging our cells (Lewis, 2020). However, antioxidant properties only work right when not exposed to heat. So add kale to smoothies and salads for this benefit.

Health Conditions Kale May Help with:
Kale can be helpful to those managing diabetes. It is also believed to provide protection against many cancers: bladder, breast, colon, ovary and prostate cancers.

Essential Minerals and Vitamins Include
Kale is high in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and calcium (MORE CALCIUM THAN MILK!). It also provides you with potassium, copper, sulfur, folate, iron, magnesium and manganese. Kale contains at least 11 of the 29 essential vitamins and minerals your body needs regularly!

Do yourself a favor and pick up some kale. I’m personally going to work on eating more of it! Try kale in a stir fry, in a sauce, casserole, smoothie, salad, or make it into kale chips!

An image of sweet potatoes cut up with spices to talk about its benefits as a superfood and the essential vitamins and minerals in contains.3. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes can help with managing stress due to the high amounts of magnesium. Magnesium is known to help with anxiety and depression. Sweet potatoes can also help with digestion, improving hair/skin, vision, brain health (memory), and weight management.

Health Conditions Sweet Potatoes May Help with:
Due to the choline it contains it can also help with inflammation, reducing inflammatory responses in the body. Studies on animal models have shown that choline is effective in therapeutically restraining incidences of systemic inflammation in the body (Miller, 2017). It can also protect against ulcers and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Sweet potatoes can even help with fertility!

Essential Minerals and Vitamins Include
Sweet potatoes contain lots of B vitamins and Vitamin C. They also contain potassium, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, calcium, magnesium, and iron.

4. Nuts (Almonds)

Almonds can protect cells from premature aging, help with cravings, lower cholesterol, add moisture to skin, and lower blood pressure. They contain lots of healthy fats and are an excellent source of protein. Protein is needed by the whole body. Protein helps with hormone health, strong bones, strong muscles, and more! Just be careful about consuming too much, as they are high in calories. Too many almonds can also lead to health issues. It is recommended to eat no more than 1/3 a cup a day.

Health Conditions Almonds May Help with:
Almonds may help protect against inflammation, cancer, heart disease, help prevent diabetes, etc.

Essential Minerals and Vitamins Include
Almonds are great source for Vitamin E, magnesium, manganese, and Vitamin B2. They also provide calcium, phosphorus, potassium, folate, niacin.

5. Coconut & Coconut Oil

An image of a coconut and coconut oil to talk about its benefits as a superfood and the essential vitamins and minerals in contains.Coconuts are an awesome source of healthy fats. They are great for weight loss as they help boost metabolism. They help weight, digestion, detoxing, healthy teeth, strong bones, healthy skin, and thyroid functions. Coconuts have lauric acid that creates monolaurin when digested. These substances help fight against fungi, viruses and bacteria to keep infections at bay (Rudolph, 2019).

Health Conditions Coconut May Help with:
Coconut may reduce heart disease risks and provide protection from kidney disease.

Essential Minerals and Vitamins Include
Coconuts are a good source of Vitamin C, Iron, Vitamin B-6, magnesium, Vitamin D, potassium, and calcium.

6. Flaxseeds

Flaxseeds are an excellent source of many health-benefiting nutrients, dietary fiber (mucilage), minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins that are essential for optimum health (Nutrition and You.com). They are also an excellent source of fiber and protein. Flaxseeds are great for digestion, can help with weight loss, heart health, and improving cholesterol.

Health Conditions Flax Seeds May Help with:
They may reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

Essential Minerals and Vitamins Include
Flaxseeds provide potassium, Vitamin C, magnesium, Vitamin B1 B2 B3 B5, copper, molybdenum, folate, and phosphorus. They are also packed with Omega 3 fatty acids.

7. Chia Seeds

An image of a bowl of chia seeds and chia seed pudding to talk about its benefits as a superfood and the essential vitamins and minerals in contains.

If you want to eat more chia seeds – I recommend finding chia seed pudding recipes that’s my favorite way to eat them.

Chia seeds are a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids that cannot be made by the body (Harvard). They can help with bone health, may help with weight loss, provide antioxidants, and are a good source of fiber.

Health Conditions Chia Seeds May Help with:
Chia seeds are great for fighting off inflammation and may help prevent heart disease and cancers.

Essential Minerals and Vitamins Include
Chia seeds contain a considerably good amount of calcium, copper, manganese, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and selenium. Additionally, they contain Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and zinc. They are also known for being one of the best plant sources for Omega-3 fatty acids.

They are best consumed in smoothies, yogurt, or chia pudding. It is easier to absorb them when they are not in their dry form, unless consumed as ground chia seeds. Interestingly, they can also work as egg replacements.

8. Dark Chocolate

To be considered dark chocolate there must be a cocoa content of 70% or higher. You will not get these superfood benefits with milk or white chocolate. Dark chocolate has numerous benefits including enhancing blood flow and protecting against the ultraviolet rays from the sun. It also promotes muscle growth, and it can help with anabolic health (bone density and muscle mass). How about the mental benefits of chocolate? Have you heard how it helps with stress and even improves your mood? Chocolate is an excellent brain booster.

An image of dark chocolate pieces to talk about its benefits as a superfood and the essential vitamins and minerals in contains.Research published in the International Journal of Health Sciences, a scientific publication of Qassim University, found that consuming one average-sized chocolate candy bar (approximately 1.4 ounces) each day for two weeks reduced the level of stress hormone cortisol in the human body (Lifesum). It may even help with reducing your appetite. Oh and let’s not forget it can give you more energy!

Essential Minerals and Vitamins Include
Chocolate is high in magnesium, and also contains calcium, copper, iron, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, selenium, sulfur, and zinc. Plus, vitamin B1, B2, B3, B9, and K.

9. Avocados

Avocados are a great healthy fat. They help with brain function and memory. With the combo of the fat and fiber they contain you will be fuller longer preventing overeating. They also contain antioxidants. Other benefits include reducing blood pressure, lowering bad cholesterol and improving eye health.

Health Conditions Avocado May Help with:
They are said to help with heart health, decreasing inflammation, lowering risk of certain cancers, and reducing the chances of diabetes.

FYI: Did you know an avocado is actually considered a berry? Weird right? Although, they are very low in sugar content compared to other berries.

Essential Minerals and Vitamins Include
Avocados are a great source for folate, magnesium, potassium, Vitamin B2, B3, B5, B6, C, E and K.

10. Berries (Blueberries)

An image of a pile of blueberries to talk about its benefits as a superfood and the essential vitamins and minerals in contains.Blueberries are known for their antioxidants and phytoflavinoids. Benefits of blueberries include improved vascular function, better cholesterol, and protection against dangerous plaque in arteries. Blueberries can also help with your memory and brain function.

Health Conditions Blueberries May Help with:
They may help to lower the risks of inflammation, heart disease, and cancer.

Essential Minerals and Vitamins Include
They are a significant source of potassium, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K. Blueberries also contain magnesium, calcium, folate, Vitamin A and Vitamin E.

11. Green Tea

Although green tea comes from the same plant as white, oolong, and black tea, it is much healthier. Green tea goes through limited processing. So you get the benefits of the antioxidants and polyphenols. Green tea also has fat burning properties, boosts metabolism, helps with insulin sensitivity, improves oral health, and strengthens bones. There is also some benefits the come from the caffeine. Not only do we feel more energetic after drinking coffee or tea, but green tea is known to improve the function of the brain, including reaction time, mood, and productivity (Baier). Green tea is one of the best foods for brain health.

An image of a woman's hands pouring tea into a glass to talk about its benefits as a superfood and the essential vitamins and minerals in contains.Health Conditions Green Tea May Help with:
It helps fight off cancer, decreases the risk of heart disease, and fights inflammation.

Essential Minerals and Vitamins Include
Green tea is high in vitamin A, C, E, and B vitamins. It also contains calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium. In addition, it has a small amount of zinc, copper, and manganese.

 

Superfood Spices: Turmeric, Ginger and Cinnamon


Caution:

Over consuming any of these foods is not great for your health. If you have an allergic reaction than you need to avoid them. If you have a certain health condition where you need to avoid certain vitamins/minerals they might actually hurt your health instead of benefit your health. But there are plenty of excellent, nutritious foods out there! This list is in no way comprehensive. I have most definitely not covered all the nutrient dense foods you can consume.


Superfoods are a Large Part of My Diet

An image of an avocado cut in half to talk about its benefits as a superfood and the essential vitamins and minerals in contains.I actually eat a lot of these foods in my regular diet. That is no way a coincidence. When I was struggling with my health, I started looking at how I could eat even healthier and I was fascinated with superfoods. I wanted to make sure I was packing enough nutrients into my diet. The fact that I eat a lot of them I think is why I tend to have a lot of energy. I don’t get that afternoon fatigue some people struggle with.

How I Enjoy These Superfoods

Over the last few years, I have fallen in love with sweet potatoes. They are great grilled, cut up into fries in the oven with just some olive oil and pink salt, or baked with a bunch of toppings. I probably eat them every other week. Salmon I typically eat every other week, as well. I’ve always enjoyed it. Since it is a superfood, I have a great excuse to enjoy it more! I eat avocado practically every week. Avocado I enjoy in salads, Mexican meals, and a few specialty recipes. I’m obsessed with chocolate, so I eat dark chocolate almost every day (always have been into it).

I usually consume kale in smoothies. But I also have a great breakfast dish that uses kale. Chia seeds and flax seeds I always have in my pantry. I use them in smoothies, pancakes (flax), and pudding (chia). I cook almost everything with either olive oil or coconut oil. Almonds I eat in the raw form, but more often I drink almond milk and use almond flour in baking. I usually eat a variety of berries fresh or frozen in smoothies.

What Superfoods do you enjoy? Or what will you be adding to your diet?


Resources:

SafeBeat/12 Health Benefits Of Salmon For The Heart, Brain, And Much More. Retrieved from: https://safebeat.org/cardiac/heart_health/12_health_benefits_of_salmon_for_the_heart_brain_and_much_more/

Lewis, Alison. (2020, June 1). mbg/10 Health Benefits Of Adding More Kale To Your Diet. Retrieved from: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4408/Eating-Kale-Top-10-Health-Benefits.html

Szalay, Jessie. (2015, May 13). LIVESCIENCE/Kale: Health Benefits & Nutrition Facts. Retrieved from: https://www.livescience.com/50818-kale-nutrition.html

Miller, Jen. (2017, March 18). La Canada CARE CENTER/15 Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes, According to Science. Retrieved from: https://lacanadacarecenter.com/15-health-benefits-of-sweet-potatoes-according-to-science/

Madormo RN, Carrie. (2020, January 30). Taste of Home/10 Health Benefits of Almonds. Retrieved from: https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/health-benefits-of-almonds/.

california almonds/Key facts about almond nutrition. Retrieved from: https://www.almonds.com/why-almonds/health-and-nutrition/nutritional-value

Harvard T.H. Chan/Chia Seeds. Retrieved from: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/chia-seeds/

Baier, Lacey. a sweet pea chef/11 Crazy Awesome Benefits of Chia Seeds. Retrieved from: https://www.asweetpeachef.com/benefits-of-chia-seeds/

Cedars Sinai/In Case You Need a Reason to Eat More Avocado. (2017, Sept 26). Retrieved from: https://www.cedars-sinai.org/blog/healthy-and-delicious-avocado.html

Festa, Ashley. (2021, June 3). healthgrades/8 Surprising Health Benefits of Avocados. Retrieved from: https://www.healthgrades.com/right-care/food-nutrition-and-diet/8-surprising-health-benefits-of-avocados

Dr. Oz/Blueberries Are the Superfood You Need to Take Seriously. Retrieved from: https://www.doctoroz.com/health/blueberries-the-superfood

Link MS RD, Rachael. (2019, May 16). Dr. Axe/20 Top Superfoods to Get Into Your Diet. Retrieved from: https://draxe.com/nutrition/what-are-superfoods/

Rudolph, Christine. Health Journal/7 Amazing Benefits of Coconuts. (2019, December 9). Retrieved from; https://www.thehealthjournals.com/7-benefits-coconuts/

Nutrition and You.com/Flax seed nutrition facts. Retrieved from: https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/flax-seed.html

healthessentials/Flaxseed: Little Seed, Big Benefits. (2020, September 17). Retrieved from: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/flaxseed-little-seed-big-benefits/

Lifesum/10 Reasons Dark Chocolate Is An Epic Superfood. (2017, November 17). Retrieved from: https://lifesum.com/nutrition-explained/10-reasons-dark-chocolate-is-an-epic-superfood

Jena

Jena

I am a business owner, marketer, innovator, writer, and artist. I have a passion for wellness with a wealth of knowledge surrounding: wellness, flaws in healthcare, root causes for chronic illnesses, and alternative treatments. My expertise includes over 5 years of marketing, research, and developing content for holistic health businesses. Plus, my own personal journey of becoming chronically sick: understanding what went wrong, and finding a way to heal and live a healthier life.





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