During my last grocery-store visit, I made sure I grabbed a few delicious vegetables to keep my body full of vitamins C and A so that I can combat any virus that may be lurking and keep my immune system in tip-top shape. There are many vegetables that provide healthy and medicinal benefits but this post is just focusing my my five favorite healthy super foods.
Sweet Potatoes – Sweet Potatoes have more than 25 different vitamins and minerals that our bodies need in order to stay healthy. This year, I am not just focusing on getting my vitamins through a multivitamin, but I am trying to go straight to the sources. One of my all-time favorite vegetables are sweet potatoes because they satisfy both my hunger and my sweet tooth in a way that benefits my body.
There a many ways to cook a sweet potato, but the easiest is bake it.
Recipe alert – Wash the sweet potato, rub it with olive oil, poke it with a fork-it several times, and bake it with the skin still attached on 400 degrees for about 45 minutes.
Avocados– Although some people, like my husband, think avocados have no taste whatsoever, they offer many rich nutrients that people should be enjoying. The green milky texture can be a little intimidating, but once consumed this easy to eat fruit, which also known as the alligator pear can be rather addicting and beneficial to our bodies. I jokingly tell my kids “An avocado a day will keep the doctor away.” If you were ever curious about the health benefits of an avocado I recommend you check out this article, “Avocado” found on the website Regenerative Nutrition. As a vegetarian it is important for me and my family to get a healthy balance of proteins, calories, and healthy fats, all of which can be found within an avocado. My kids and I enjoy avocados right out of their shells and also love to eat them within a green leafy salad.
Avocados are a great source of the following Vitamins: (Extra Resource)
- B-Complex Vitamins
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin C
- Folic Acid
- and others as well.
Coconut oil – Thankfully Costco and many other stores sell large containers of coconut oil that can be used generously. Coconut oil is a great hair and natural skin moisturizer. It also is great for cooking. I use it in smoothies, on toast, in oatmeal, and other recipes. The coconut taste is faint but delightful. According to the Dr. Oz Show health benefits include helping people who suffer from diabetes, hypothyroidism, and high cholesterol.
Broccoli – This super food contains 4 main vitamins that keep your body looking and feeling great. The vitamins are:
- Vitamin K – Keeps bones healthy and strong. As well as naturally enabling your blood to clot to prevent excessive bleeding.
- Vitamin A – is known for providing nutrients to promote better vision. The vitamin also is good for your bones and helps ensure a healthy immune system.
- Vitamin B9 – Also known as folic acid, which is the synthetic form of Vitamin B9. The University of Maryland Medical center reports the following:
Folic acid is crucial for proper brain function and plays an important role in mental and emotional health. It aids in the production of DNA and RNA, the body’s genetic material, and is especially important when cells and tissues are growing rapidly, such as in infancy, adolescence, and pregnancy.
- Vitamin C – Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD writes in her WebMD article that “the benefits of vitamin C may include protection against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease, and even skin wrinkling.”
One easy way to prepare broccoli is to bake it. Drizzle a little olive oil on the bottom of your baking container and on the broccoli itself, then top with a little salt and pepper to taste. Yummy, a quick and easy meal. My children enjoy it too.
Cooked tomatoes – Tomatoes are healthy. They often get a bad reputation, but this fruit is one superfood that is good for your body any way you slice it. Some studies have reported that tomatoes are best cooked because cooking the tomatoes helps them release greater amounts of lycopene. According to Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. in her article “Biochemistry of Lycopene”
Research shows that lycopene can be absorbed more efficiently by the body after it has been processed into juice, sauce, paste, or ketchup. In fresh fruit, lycopene is enclosed in the fruit tissue. Therefore, only a portion of the lycopene that is present in fresh fruit is absorbed. Processing fruit makes the lycopene more bioavailable by increasing the surface area available for digestion.