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Nutrition

Collin McShirley: 12 Superfoods to Keep You Happy and Healthy

We’ve all heard  the saying that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but there are many other foods that people can eat to ward off diseases and ailments or just to feel better and healthier in general.

Most people dread going to the doctor’s office, sitting in the waiting room and reading through last months Entertainment Weekly to be seen for 10 minutes and told to take pills or eat healthier. Nobody wants to go through it, but everyone wants to be healthy.

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I have teamed up with local nutritionist and celebrity chef Melissa Costello of Karma Chow to provide you a list of some superfoods to add to your daily menu to make sure you stay healthy and continue to keep the doctor away.

Here are some of Melissa’s favorite superfoods.

1. Alfalfa Sprouts

Young alfafa shoots protect against cancer and help to lower cholesterol due to the phytochemicals they contain called saponins. One cup has less than 10 calories, and sprouts are fat free.

2. Apples

Apples have the richest source of pectin-soluble fiber, which lowers blood pressure, reduces cholesterol and lowers the risk of colon, breast and lung cancer.

It may also lessen the severity of diabetes and will fight against cardiovascular disease.

3. Avocados

Eating half a medium avocado provides you with 4 grams of fiber and 15 percent of your daily folate intake.

Avocados are cholesterol free and rich in monounsaturated fats and potassium, and they are also great to eat for a strong and healthy heart.

4. Beets

Despite making your urine turn red, beets are also known for having many other effects on the body, such as being loaded with antioxidants. 

Beets are known for protecting against cancer, heart disease and inflammation, and they are also high in fiber and vitamin C.

5. Cranberries

Aside from helping to prevent and eliminate a UTI, cranberries also improve blood cholesterol and aid in stroke recovery. They also make cancer medication more potent.

6. Flaxseed

Not only does flaxseed lower blood cholesterol but it also reduces the risk of having a heart attack.

Flaxseed contains lignan, a powerful antioxidant that prevents diseases and certain cancers — especially breast cancer.

Plus, two tablespoons of ground flaxseed make up 20 percent of the daily recommended fiber intake.

7. Oranges

A tennis ball-sized orange provides you with the daily required amount of vitamin C, which is an immune system booster and helps to prevent cancer.

By eating oranges, you also get plenty of fiber, potassium, calcium, folate and vitamin B.

8. Papayas

One cup of papaya cubes has more than 100 percent of the amount of vitamin C that is required per day and also has a mass amount of potassium and folate.

Papaya also contains vitamins A and E, which are two powerful antioxidants that protect against heart disease and colon cancer.

9. Pumpkins and Squash

These are rich in fiber with beta carotene, which converts to vitamin A in the body.

It also reduces the risk of lung cancer and is high in potassium and antioxidants, which may prevent high blood pressure.

10. Quinoa

Quinoa has plenty of nutrients, including iron and copper along with all essential amino acids. It’s considered to be a complete protein, so it is perfect for vegetarians.

This superfood is trending, and for very good reasons: it also reduces the risk of heart attacks and high blood pressure.

An added bonus is that it also contains magnesium, which relaxes the blood vessels, helping to eliminate and reduce migraines.

11. Raspberries

Half a cup of raspberries contains 4 grams of fiber — more than the daily recommended amount — and it also contains plenty of vitamin C and manganese.

Raspberries are also antioxidants, which have antimicrobial properties.

12. Spinach

Spinach contains plenty of antioxidants, which combat a variety of cancers, including ovarian, breast and colon cancer.

In addition, this superfood reduces the risk of a decline in brain function, which comes naturally with age.

Yes, an apple a day really does keep the doctor away, but then again so do various other foods that we can easily fit into our diets every day.

However, in this day and age, there are so many other superfoods being discovered and plenty of doctors coming out with important messages about too much or too little of certain foods.

It is important to understand that it is crucial to eat everything in moderation and to eat other important foods that are required in your daily diet. Want to add a superfood to the list? Let us know in the comments below.

Collin McShirley, MA, IMF, is certified and specializes in mindful eating, emotional eating, body image and self esteem; she provides coaching services in Santa Barbara, Montecito and Goleta; and she developed the program, “Break Free From Emotional Eating and Learn to Love Your Body.” She grew up in Santa Barbara​, graduated from UC Santa Barbara and received her masters in clinical psychology from Antioch University Santa Barbara. Click here for more information, contact her at [email protected], and follow her on Twitter: @CollinMFTI. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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