Although there is no universal standard definition of a super food, super seed or superfruit, they are often described as providing a number of nutrients and health benefits all in one package. Linda Milo Ohr writes about six seeds and superfruits that fit the bill for consumers' desire for natural, minimally processed foods. Here are six super foods that will help you feel more like a superhero when added correctly to your diet.
1. Chia Seeds: Chia seeds are often used in yogurt, homemade trail mixes, baked goods, commercial nutrition bars, beverages and snacks. They are high in omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
2. Flaxseeds: Flaxseeds are a good source of protein, fiber, antioxidants, and phytoestrogens in the form of lignans and omega-3 fatty acids. A study has also linked eating ground whole flaxseed to lowering blood cholesterol (Health Canada, 2014).
3. Sunflower Seeds: Often considered a traditional ballpark snack, sunflower seeds provide monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, protein, fiber, vitamin E, and phytochemicals like choline, lignan, phenolic acids and betaine (Phillips, 2005).
4. Tart Cherries: Tart cherries are high in anthocyanin and have high antioxidant activity. Reported benefits include enhanced sleep, anti-inflammation in arthritis and gout, and sports recovery.
5. Avocados: More than just the main ingredient in guacamole, avocados have beneficial effects on cardio-metabolic risk factors that extend beyond their heart-healthy fatty acid profile (Wang, 2015). In a study of 45 overweight or obese subjects who ate a moderate-fat diet including an avocado daily had lower bad cholesterol than those on a similar diet without the avocado or those on a lower-fat diet (American Heart Association, 2015).
6. Cranberries: Cranberries have long been associated with benefiting urinary tract health but have also shown to benefit heart health, cancer prevention, oral health, and glycemic response (Cranberry Institute, 2014).
Do these superfoods prevent pain? Not necessarily, but a healthy strong body can help us avoid injury, heal more quickly if we are injured and help us deal more effectively with the pain we may have. Try adding some superfoods in your diet. If you feel we might be able to help you manage your pain, we invite you to request an appointment.
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Angelie Singh, MD, MPH, MS