Nutrition

The Best Things You Can Put into Your Body

Nothing is magical, but these superfoods are the best things you can put into your body.

Spinach: Spinach is listed on practically every list of superfoods.  Not only does spinach have iron, fiber, and antioxidants, but it also has anti-cancer properties, lowers blood pressure and promotes healthy skin by allowing for moisture retention. The best way to get the nutrients out of spinach is to cook it. Either sauté it with lemon and onions, boil it and squeeze some lemon over it or steam it. Make sure to always pair spinach with a citrus like lemon or orange because vitamin C increases iron absorption.

Kale: Kale is a nutritional powerhouse. It is known for having a high amount of vitamin K — which can reduce the risk of cancer, vitamin A — which helps maintain healthy skin and teeth, and vitamin C — which protects against immune system deficiencies, and cardiovascular disease. I personally don’t like eating kale raw so I put it into a smoothie with water, an orange, an apple, almonds, and ground flax seed.

Green Tea: Everyone knows about the health benefits of green tea. It promotes weight loss, has natural antioxidants, and prevents cancer. Green tea, however, is not a miracle weight loss supplement; when paired with exercise and a healthy, balanced diet, it can increase weight loss, but just drinking green tea won’t help you lose weight. A lot of people don’t like the strong taste of green tea, so I would recommend the Tazo Zen tea. Because it is a combination of green tea and lemongrass, it looses some of the tea’s strong taste. Tazo Zen can be found at Starbucks or online at Amazon.

Blueberries: This small berry has one of the highest antioxidant capacities of all fruits. Antioxidants are important because they counteract the body’s natural process of oxidation. The best way to describe oxidation is to compare the human body to an apple turning brown. No one wants their apple to turn brown. If apples consumed blueberries, they wouldn’t turn brown.

Apples: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” This very cliché saying is true. What makes an apple so great is that it is high in antioxidants and fiber. Specifically for college students, apples detoxify your liver. They also help prevent a variety of diseases we don’t think about such as hemorrhoids, gallstones, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Almonds/ Walnuts: Almonds and walnuts are high in healthy fats. If you want to boost your metabolism, you need to consume foods that are high in omega 3 fatty acids. Almonds are heart-healthy nuts in that they lower ‘bad’ cholesterol and reduce heart attack risk. Walnuts are packed with protein and vitamin B6, which improves cognitive function, PMS, and the prevention of cancer and heart disease.

Avocado/ Salmon/ Olive Oil: I grouped these three superfoods together because they all have the same function, to provide the body with omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and heart disease overall. I love these foods because instead of promoting generic weight loss, these foods actually promote fat loss in the body. If you are trying to look fit instead of just skinny, foods high in omega-3 are the way to go.

Greek Yogurt: The Greek yogurt trend has only been in the mainstream media for about a year. The reason yogurt is so good for you is because it helps retain lean muscle mass, which allows for fat loss. Yogurt also contains probiotics, which are active cultures in your digestive tract that remove harmful microorganisms from the digestive tract.

Dark chocolate: When going for dark chocolate, a label simply saying dark chocolate is not enough because it can still have high amounts of artificial sugars similar to those in milk chocolate. Instead, opt for a bar with 85% [or higher if you don’t mind the bitter taste of cocoa]. This type of dark chocolate is high in fiber and antioxidants. It is also known to improve blood flow and lower blood pressure.

Flax seed: Flax seed is known to have high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and lignans. Women who consume lignans have lower body fat percentages, making it easier to lose fat, instead of just losing weight. Flax seeds, however, cannot be digested properly unless they are ground or in the form or a liquid oil. Personally, I bought a container of organic ground flax seed on Amazon and I put two tablespoons of ground flax in my Greek yogurt.

Chia seeds: Chia seeds have recently become popularized as they help with weight loss. They not only make you feel fuller faster, but they also reduce food cravings so that you only eat when you’re hungry. They can help control your blood sugar and reduce blood pressure.

Water: Water is the best thing you can put into your body. Everyone knows that you need to drink a lot of water every day, but, being in college, I have not seen many of my friends drinking a lot of water. Because our bodies are 60% water, we need to drink a lot of water in order to maintain the balance of body fluids; if the body fluid isn’t maintained, the body will have a harder time flushing out toxins and will store fat more easily.

 By Ejona Murataj

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