Try these 12 su­per­foods that can give your health a jolt

Chicago Sun-Times - - WELL - BYMICHAEL L. DI­A­MOND

Leg­end has it that Li Ching-Yuen was 256 years old when he died in 1933, pre­sum­ably of old age, caus­ing peo­ple many years his ju­nior to won­der what his se­cret was.

His Wikipedia en­try says he worked as an herbal­ist, eat­ing a diet that in­cluded goji berries, a fruit grown in China said to be high in an­tiox­i­dants.

Nei­ther Li’s age nor the health ben­e­fits of goji berries have been sci­en­tif­i­cally proven. But 84 years af­ter his death, we con­tinue to search for food that might not let us live for­ever, but at least can help us not feel so tired all the time.

These days, they are called “su­per­foods,” and in­ter­est in them ap­pears is grow­ing. From 2011 to 2015, the num­ber of prod­ucts with the term “su­per­food,” “su­per­fruit,” or “su­per­grain” in­creased 202 per­cent world­wide, ac­cord­ing to Min­tel, a mar­ket re­search com­pany.

New Jer­sey nu­tri­tion­ists and di­eti­tians aren’t so quick to dis­miss them as an ur­ban leg­end. Sho­pRite, for ex­am­ple, has hired 130 di­eti­tians who travel among 140 su­per­mar­kets, meet­ing cus­tomers in­ter­ested in eat­ing health­ier.

Their mes­sage: Every­one’s diet is unique, based on their own health sta­tus. And one food alone is un­likely to cure all that ails them. But they can in­cor­po­rate health­ier foods that will im­prove their im­mune sys­tem, re­duce their in­flam­ma­tion and just plain feel bet­ter.

“It’s more of that over­all pic­ture com­pared to one food be­ing a magic bul­let,” said Shelbi Thu­rau, re­tail di­eti­tian su­per­vi­sor for Sho­pRite, said. “We try to guide peo­ple away from eat­ing one par­tic­u­lar thing and think­ing it’s go­ing to be the cure. It’s more about what the whole pic­ture looks like and what your in­di­vid­ual nu­tri­tion pic­ture looks like.”

Here are 12 su­per­foods you might want to add to your diet in some ca­pac­ity, ac­cord­ing to some di­eti­tians:

1. Blue­ber­ries

High in an­tiox­i­dants, they are thought to pro­tect against cell dam­age, ag­ing, can­cer and mem­ory loss.

2. Nuts

Cashews and al­monds, for ex­am­ple, are a healthy source of pro­tein. They keep the me­tab­o­lism go­ing, to keep the brain turned on, to keep the en­ergy in­creased through­out the day.

3. Matcha

A type of green tea, high in an­tiox­i­dants. A great way for your body to detox and get rid of in­flam­ma­tion.

4. Quinoa

Part of a diet that dates back thou­sands of years, it’s a whole grain crop whose seeds are ed­i­ble. It has B- vi­ta­mins, fiber and pro­tein.

An­other food that doesn’t come from an­i­mals, it con­tains amino acids and Omega3, a fatty acid that is thought to help with ev­ery­thing from blood pres­sure to de­pres­sion.

8. Kale

A leafy green veg­etable that is high in vi­ta­min K, which helps blood clot and strength­ens bones. Spini­ach and arugula are also good choices.

9. Salmon 5. Toma­toes

They con­tain ly­copene, which pro­tects your skin. A re­cent study in Sci­en­tific Re­ports found it could guard against skin can­cer.

6. Al­gae

Both fresh­wa­ter and salt wa­ter al­gae are a source of pro­tein, mag­ne­sium and cal­cium with­out the acid­ity of yogurt, milk and cheese.

7. Chia seeds

An­other good source for Omega- 3, which an help re­duce in­fla­ma­tion. But don’t eat it more than three times a week, since fish can con­tain mer­cury.

10. Wheat­grass

Tastes like it sounds, but an ounce in a shot is rich in nu­tri­ents and in­cludes an­tiox­i­dants. I

11. Greek yogurt

A low- fat source of dairy, which is im­por­tant for chil­dren build­ing cal­cium. It has pro­tein and helps blood sugar con­trol. PUt your own fresh fruit in it to help con­trol the sugar con­tent.

12. Goji berries

The berries in­clude can­cer- fight­ing prop­er­ties that also help your vi­sion and skin, ac­cord­ing to Livestrong. com.

If it helped Li Ching- Yuen live for 200 years, then surely it must be considered the most su­per of all the su­per­foods. But for al­ways- on- the- run Amer­i­cans with fast- food restau­rants and candy aisles beck­on­ing, it’s not al­ways the first snack that comes to­mind.

Thu­rau said it doesn’t re­quire a com­plete di­etary over­haul.

“No change is too small,” she said. “And we al­ways like to tell peo­ple that small changes add up to big re­sults.”


The Mediter­ranean Diet is high in fruits, nuts and fresh veg­eta­bles, all of which can help im­prove your over­all health.


Toma­toes con­tain ly­copene, which pro­tects your skin.


Gogi berries in­clude can­cer- fight­ing prop­er­ties.

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