A-Z Superfoods

School snacks for a happier class

by Alice Mungyu and Ruchi Vaidya, staff reporters

Photo by Alice Mungyu.

Photo by Alice Mungyu.

Imagine losing weight by just eating superfoods that not only reduce one’s risk of heart disease and cancer, but also put them in a better mood. In addition to this, there are virtually no side effects. These superfoods will not only benefit the body, but will also make one feel better in the process. Here are the most potent and powerful superfoods for a healthier lifestyle.

A is for Avocado: This tropically grown fruit not only contains a sufficient source of monounsaturated fat (that can be easily burned for energy), but it is also rich in vitamins B, E, and K — all of which can keep the consumer fuller for longer periods of time.

B is for Blueberries: These mini berries are a powerhouse of antioxidants. Just one cup of these contains 355.7% of your daily vitamin K intake, 2% of Manganese, and loads of phytonutrients.

C is for Cinnamon: This spice has been used for ages throughout the world, mostly because of its remarkable ability to lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar, and even aid in cancer prevention.

D is for Dark Chocolate: This sweet treat is antioxidant-rich, heart-healthy, and even helps improve thinking. Dark chocolate contains an alkaloid, known as theobromine, which has been shown to harden tooth enamel (in other words, lowers the risk of cavities).

E is for Edamame: These little green beans are packed with proteins and fiber. Just half a cup contains 11 grams of protein. Edamame is also rich in vitamin C and B, is one of the few natural ways to get vitamin E, and is also an anti-inflammatory.

F is for Flaxseeds: Brown seeds are notably high in Omega-3 fat and alpha-linolenic acid, both of which are needed to keep healthy cholesterol levels, lower high blood pressure, and keep skin looking youthful. Studies also show flaxseeds may in fact lower chances of getting type 2 diabetes.

G is for Green Tea: This tea has been used used in China for thousands of years for its medicinal properties, but also because of its delicious taste. It’s vital for those who are trying to lose weight and also for those who are trying to fight cavities. Green tea has also been found to lower the risk of esophageal cancer, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease.

H is for Honey: This sweet food virtually never expires, and if consumed 2 months prior to allergy season, can lessen the effects of seasonal allergies. Honey also heals the skin; it’s used by many to clear up acne scars and pigmentations.

I is for Incan berries: This small but powerful berry grows in Peru, Chile, Ecuador, and Colombia, and is used by the locals there to prevent ailments such as rheumatoid arthritis, malaria, hepatitis, and even asthma. Not to mention the berries taste great and hair and scalp benefits, as well.

J is for Jicama: This sweet vegetable is extremely low in calories, as little as 46 in one cup, and is a wonderful source of fiber. Jicama reduces cholesterol, prevents heart disease, and is a great source of vitamin C.

K is for Kale: The leafy green vegetable is a must for anyone wishing to lose weight, as this vegetable has 5 grams of fiber in one cup. Its high sulfur content aids in the regulation of the liver and digestion. Kale can also benefit your immune system, and has more iron than beef, making it great for anemics.

L is for Lentils: Low in calories and high in nutrition, lentils’ high soluble fiber content helps to reduce blood cholesterol. Their complex carbohydrates build steady, slow-burning energy.

M is for Mushrooms: Low in calories and fat free, mushrooms are helpful for weight loss. One cup of mushrooms includes vitamins C, D, B6, and B12, plus large doses of riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid.

N is for Nuts: Eating varieties with unsaturated fatty acids, such as walnuts and almonds, can lower cholesterol. The vitamin E content also stops the development of plaque in the arteries.

O is for Oats: Start out your day with a bowl of oats, known scientifically as Avena sativa, because this hardy cereal grain helps stabilize blood sugar.

P is for Pomegranate:  Pomegranate seeds are the most powerful antioxidant of all fruits. Their potent anti-cancer, immune-supporting powers can lower blood pressure.

Q is for Quinoa: This supergrain is one of the most protein-rich foods to this date. It is a complete protein, or in other words, contains all nine essential amino acids. Quinoa contains almost twice as much fiber as most other grains and helps prevent heart disease by reducing high blood pressure and diabetes.

R is for (Brown) Rice: Brown rice unrefined and unpolished, making it a healthier option than white rice. The brown variety is known for reducing childhood asthma, as well as improving cardiovascular and bone health. One cup of brown rice contains 88% of the recommended daily dose of manganese and 27% of selenium, which is known for killing cancer cells and repairing DNA.

S is for Salmon: The omega-3s found in salmon have been known to alleviate skin blemishes and maintain hair’s luster. It locks moisture into skin cells, encouraging the production of strong collagen and elastin fibers, which contribute to more youthful looking skin.

T is for Tomato: Ripe tomatoes are packed with nutrition, such as vitamins A, C, K, folate, and potassium. They are naturally low in sodium, saturated fat, cholesterol, and calories.

U is for Umeboshi: This superfood is good for digestion, prevention of nausea, and for systemic toxicity, including hangovers. It also acts as an antibacterial by helping to increase saliva production and assists in the digestion of rice.

V is for Virgin Olive Oil: Research studies have shown that as little as 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil per day can lower our risk of certain cancer types, such as breast, respiratory tract, upper digestive tract, and to a lesser extent, lower digestive tract (colorectal).

W is for Watermelon: Watermelon contains vitamins A and C, in which will neutralize free radicals that can lead to inflammation. Due to their high water content, watermelons can help your metabolism work more efficiently.

X is for Ximenia: This exotic fruit contains high levels of potassium, which help regulate high blood pressure. It also contains fiber and vitamin C, which can slow down the rate of free-radical damage.

Y is for Yams: Low in calories and rich in fiber, yams are great if on a diet because their complex carbohydrates are absorbed into the bloodstream at a gradual rate, thereby curbing hunger.

Z is for Zucchini: Zucchini not only offers great taste and texture to many dishes, but has many health benefits. Zucchini contains vitamins C and A that not only help the body produce antioxidants, but prevent anti-inflammatory agents.

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