Eat Well: Berries, Spinach and Almonds
Diet is one of the most influential and important factors in your health, and you can improve your health by eating, or avoiding, certain foods. Three incredible superfoods that are easy to incorporate into a diet and that taste great are berries, spinach and almonds. These foods all have the ability to seriously boost your health with benefits ranging from lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s to preventing cardiovascular disease. Below, find out some specific information on why these superfoods should be put on your grocery list right now.
Although berries are small, the health benefits they provide for your body are huge. According to a study published in the Annals of Neurology, women who ate two servings of strawberries or one serving of blueberries per week showed delayed and decreased mental decline. “We think that the effect might be related to a class of compounds called anthocyanidins, which is a type of flavonoid. These compounds, found almost exclusively in berries, are known to cross the blood-brain barrier and locate in learning and memory centers in the brain,” explains study author, Elizabeth DeVore, ScD, a professor at Harvard Medical School in Boston. The flavonoids and antioxidants found within berries are also associated with a lowered risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, the flavonoids in berries are believed to help prevent Parkinson’s disease.
It isn’t just your brain that berries help. Even though berries are sweet, they also have plenty of fiber and liquid, which make these the perfect snack for those looking to manage weight. The liquid and fiber content in berries will help you feel satiated and full in ways that a snack with refined sugar can’t. Although no clinical studies have been done yet, many health experts believe that berries are also a heart-healthy food that can lower your blood pressure. The antioxidants in berries are known to reduce overall inflammation in your body, which contributes to problems like high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
Popeye made spinach famous when he used it as fuel to fight off foes, and sometimes there is some truth on TV. While you won’t immediately sprout Popeye-sized muscles from eating spinach, you will be getting some amazing health benefits. “Eating spinach is beneficial for maintaining healthy skin, hair and strong bones, as well as helping with digestion, lowering the risk for heart disease and improving blood glucose control in diabetics,” says registered dietician nutritionist, Megan Ware. Just one cup of spinach provides 987 percent of your daily recommended value of vitamin K, which is important in keeping strong bones. A 2003 study found that low levels of vitamin K in women were associated with low bone density (the same is not true for men), and subsequent studies mention how necessary vitamin K is to healthy bone growth. Spinach also is a great source of iron, vitamin A and chlorophyll – which is thought to fight cancer.
Almonds are a very nutrient-dense food that contain vitamin E, magnesium, copper, B vitamins, iron, phosphorous, calcium, monounsaturated fat and potassium. While almonds are a source of fats, the monounsaturated fats can actually help you lose and maintain weight. One study found that people who consumed nuts twice weekly were 31 percent less likely to put on weight than those who didn’t eat nuts. Additionally, almonds may be beneficial to those who are pre-diabetic or struggle with blood glucose levels because it reduces the spike in blood sugar levels following a meal or snack. Almonds are also considered an excellent food for your heart, because they are able to lower your blood pressure and lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, both of which are major factors in cardiovascular disease.
Berries, spinach and almonds provide health benefits that are absolutely astounding. Just a few servings of these foods each week can go a long way in fighting some very serious diseases, while also improving your skin, hair, bones and tasting great all the while. Whip up a healthy spinach salad that includes berries and sliced raw almonds for an incredible dose of flavor and health.