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updated: 2/10/2014 6:16 AM

Strengthen your diet with 'superfoods'

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  • Kale has plenty of anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer phytonutrients while only yielding around 35 calories per cup.

      Kale has plenty of anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer phytonutrients while only yielding around 35 calories per cup.

 

Wouldn't it be great if there was a food that was flavorful and could effectively improve your health?

Or a food that has an extremely high nutrient to caloric ratio, meaning it's quite high in vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals while still having a relatively low caloric value?

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Luckily there is something available just like this in the form of "superfoods." Superfoods are wholesome, real foods that happen to pack a big punch. Strengthen your diet by including these superfoods on a consistent basis.

Kale. Although kale sounds like a boring vegetable, it's actually quite versatile. It can be eaten raw in salads, added to soups, blended into smoothies, or even baked into chips. This green powerhouse has plenty of anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer phytonutrients while only yielding around 35 calories per cup.

Green tea. We all need to drink more water, but many people struggle because they just get bored without other options. Green tea is a great way to add some flavor to your fluid intake while adding antioxidants and a metabolic boost. Drink it hot or iced, but stay away from adding artificial sweeteners or sugar. If plain tea is too bland, try teas with a hint of mint or natural flavors, or you can add a bit of stevia to sweeten.

Sweet potatoes. The sweet potato is packed with nutrients and flavor. It has a lower glycemic index than a white or red potato, so it doesn't drastically disturb blood sugar levels but still provides great energy. They contain good amounts of beta carotene, magnesium, potassium, and Vitamins B and C. Bake a sweet potato in the oven and season with rosemary for a great alternative to a regular baked potato.

Berries. Blueberries, cherries, acai, goji, and cranberries are loaded with antioxidants and add some fun color to your diet. Eating a variety of these berries will help fight inflammation, disease, and the signs of aging. Steer clear of sugary juices that contain these fruits and eat fresh organic as much as possible. Have a half cup of mixed berries with a hard-boiled egg as a snack or simply blend them into a nutritious smoothie.

Cauliflower. This is one "white" food that we actually recommend. Cauliflower contains nutrients that support detox while containing several anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer nutrients as well. It's high in Vitamins C and K and phytonutrients that fight oxidative stress. Grate a head of cauliflower into a rice-like consistency and sauté in a pan with a bit of coconut oil. Season with sea salt and pepper and eat in place of white rice.

Avocados. Although avocados are higher in calories in relation to the other foods on this list, they are loaded with healthy fats and phytonutrients and definitely worth their caloric content. They also contain Vitamins A, B6, C, E, and K as well as potassium. The healthy fat content in avocados improves your body's ability to regulate blood sugar and adds wonderful flavor to your dishes. Add a slice of avocado to a burger or make a guacamole topping for a taco salad.

See what effect superfoods have on your energy and health by eating them often. For more exercise and nutrition tips, visit our website at PushFitnessTraining.com for links to our Facebook and Pinterest pages.

Joshua Steckler is the owner of Push Fitness, a personal training studio located in Schaumburg specializing in weight loss, muscle toning, and nutrition. Contact him at PushFitnessTraining.com.

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