What’s So “Super” About Superfoods?

Superfoods are food items that are known to be high in nutritional value, which can be highly beneficial for your health. Integrating these foods into your diet can help you stay healthy, and can be great substitutes to other foods you may be consuming. Valley has a list of top superfoods you should be integrating into your diet.

Acai

Acai bowls are all the rage now, and they’re even popping up at locations in State College, such as Cafe Verve. But what exactly are the benefits of acai, and why are these aesthetically pleasing meals so popular? Acai berries contain high levels of antioxidants, specifically anthocyanins, which support cholesterol balance and heart health. They’ve also been proven to boost your immune system, and even have anti-aging effects.

Acai berries are typically difficult to find, however they’re commonly sold in frozen packs that can be used in smoothies or bowls.

Check out our acai bowl recipe!

Chia Seeds

Similarly to acai, chia seeds contain a lot of antioxidants and are very high in fiber, making it a great food that will promote fullness and curb your appetite. It has also been proven to decrease LDL cholesterol levels, and increase HDL cholesterol levels. HDL is the good cholesterol that helps prevent plaque build-up in your arteries, which can lead to issues such as coronary artery disease. Chia seeds are also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which is great if you aren’t a seafood lover. Additionally, chia seeds are a great vegan source of protein, which can also be beneficial in curbing your appetite.

Blend these seeds into a smoothie and you won’t even know they’re there!

Spinach

With high levels of iron, vitamins, protein fiber, zinc and much more, what isn’t spinach good for? The levels of magnesium in spinach can help with brain function and memory. The levels of Vitamin A promotes good eyesight and can prevent inflammation. The Vitamin K present can help prevent bone loss, and prevents the development of osteoporosis. Spinach can also help you maintain a stable blood pressure.

Use spinach as a side for your dinner, mix it into a salad or when in doubt, blend it into a smoothie. If you’re not a fan of the spinach taste, make sure to add a lot of fruit to your smoothie to mask the flavor.

Cauliflower

The benefits of cauliflower are beginning to catch on, and many are using it as a substitute for meat and even bread. One of the biggest benefits of this superfood is its ability to prevent cancer. Sulforaphane is found in cauliflower, which has been shown to eliminate cancer stem cells and reduce the presence of tumors. Cauliflower also contains glucosinolates, which can protect the stomach and lungs from cancer-causing chemicals. It’s also know for promoting a healthy heart and its many nutrients have anti-inflammatory properties.

Check out our recipe for a cauliflower pizza!

Believe it or not, there’s a long list of superfoods out there. Taking extra care to use them in your diet can boost your immune system and even promote long-term wellness. So next time you’re grocery shopping, reach for the spinach instead of the iceberg lettuce, and try making a cauliflower pizza before ordering out!