Healthy Living
 
The Top Ten Superfoods for Super Health      
Hallo, lively viewers, and welcome to Healthy Living. What are the most beneficial and nutritious foods on Earth for enhancing energy, health and happiness, the so-called superfoods? Interestingly, it’s not necessary to go to a mountaintop, jungle or secret cave to obtain these foods. They’re actually quite common, widely available and often overlooked by consumers.

On today’s program, we’ll look at the top 10 superfoods and see why experts suggest including them in our diet. Please remember God has blessed us with many superfoods and this list is just one possibility!

Superfood #1: Walnuts

Among the elements needed to maintain good mental health are omega-3 fatty acids. Studies show that a lack of these vital nutrients may lead to depression, learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and even sleep disorders. So how can we make sure we get enough omega-3 fatty acids in our diet?

It’s actually quite simple. Grab a handful of walnuts! Walnuts have often been referred to as “brain food” because their high concentration of essential fatty acids helps keep our brain cells functioning properly. Walnuts also contain a natural form of melatonin, a hormone that relaxes the mind and helps us sleep better. It’s interesting to note that a walnut even looks like a tiny brain!

Superfood #2: Broccoli

Another widely recognized superfood is broccoli. This humble, little vegetable, available around the world, is a powerhouse of nutrients. It’s rich in calcium and vitamin K, which help maintain healthy bones and prevent osteoporosis, and it also contains abundant potassium and magnesium. Have you ever wondered what to do for sunburn? Well, help yourself to some broccoli!

Rich in glucoraphanin, broccoli helps repair the skin. Glucoraphanin is also an anti-cancer agent. In fact, the American Cancer Society recommends eating broccoli regularly, as it contains phytochemicals that help prevent cancer. And the good news doesn’t stop there. Broccoli contains beta-carotene, as well as the trace minerals, zinc and selenium, all of which strengthen the immune system.

Superfood #3: Avocados

And speaking of enjoyment, how about the taste of a rich, creamy avocado? What’s even better is the fact that this beautiful, green fruit is bursting with valuable nutrients. An excellent source of folic acid and vitamins C, K, E, and B6, avocados also contain calcium, copper, iron, phosphorus and magnesium, and 60% more potassium than bananas.

But doesn’t an avocado contain a lot of fat? It does, but it’s “heart-friendly,” monounsaturated fat. In fact, avocados can actually improve one’s cholesterol profile, as it helps reduce LDL or “bad” cholesterol, while increasing HDL (good cholesterol). Recent studies show that the monounsaturated fats in avocados help protect against breast cancer and slow the growth of prostate cancer.

Having problems with your eyes? Get some avocados. Like broccoli they contain the carotenoid lutein, which helps protect against macular degeneration and cataracts. In fact, avocados contain more lutein than any other common fruit. So put a few slices on your salad, or make one into a “green smoothie” and see the difference in your vision!

Superfood #4: Nutritional Yeast

One of the common concerns about switching to the vegan diet is obtaining enough Vitamin B12. But if we add a small amount superfood #4, the issue is solved. What is superfood #4? It’s simply good tasting, nutty, nutritional yeast, which may be used as a delicious, healthful condiment. Besides being a great source of B vitamins, nutritional yeast is high in protein.

When buying this food, check the label to see if it’s been fortified with vitamin B12, because this vitamin does not occur naturally in nutritional yeast. It’s a bacteria that is produced separately and then added later. Secondly, B12 is light sensitive, so make sure the yeast you buy is not being stored in clear plastic, but rather in a canister that blocks the sun. Nutritional yeast can be sprinkled on steamed veggies, and will add a delicious, cheesy flavor to lightly salted popcorn, pasta, or scrambled tofu.

Superfood #5: Dark Leafy Greens

Despite differences in opinion about which fruits, grains and vegetables are superfoods, almost every expert agrees on the next candidate: dark leafy greens, possibly the most concentrated source of nutrition of any food. A rich source of minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium, greens should definitely be included in our daily diet. They also contain vitamins K, C, E and many of the B-vitamins, and are a powerful source of phytonutrients such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which keep our cells healthy.

Concerned about osteoporosis? Then dig into the dark green veggies! Collards, kale and many others are excellent sources of easily absorbed calcium, which helps build healthy bones. Arugula, whose peppery flavor enhances any salad, is an excellent source of vitamins A, C and calcium. Also, the spicy taste of mustard greens livens up any sandwich or salad, and these greens are packed with vitamins A and K, folate and iron. So bring out the salad bowl, or add a handful to your favorite smoothie, and just feel the burst of energy they bring!

Superfood #6: Blueberries

One fruit that is on almost everyone’s superfood list is the delightful blueberry. This small fruit is a veritable powerhouse of nutrients, such as lutein, important for healthy vision. Low in calories and high in fiber, blueberries are an excellent source of fiber and vitamin C. In a study by the United States Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Center which sought to find the best source of antioxidants among 40 fresh fruits and vegetables, blueberries ranked #1 as they help neutralize the free radicals that lead to cancer and other age-related diseases.

This humble, little fruit helps promote a healthy urinary tract and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke by preventing the buildup of “bad” cholesterol. Moreover, blueberries are delicious and can be eaten plain or made into smoothies - guaranteed to put a blueberry “smile” on your lips.

Superfood #7: Quinoa

Most lists of superfoods contain at least one grain, and among the most frequently recommended is quinoa, regarded as a sacred food by the Incas. Quinoa provides 22 grams of protein per 250 milliliters of uncooked grain, more than almost any other cereal grain. It also contains all eight of the essential amino acids required for tissue development, and is thus considered to be a complete protein.

In addition, quinoa contains calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese and zinc, in higher concentrations than wheat, barley or corn. It’s also low in fat, gluten-free, and thus ideal for those who are gluten intolerant. With its unique, delectable taste, quinoa can be lightly seasoned and made into a wide variety of delicious dishes and is an excellent substitute for rice in many recipes.

Superfood #8: Beans and Lentils

Did you know that by incorporating certain foods into your diet, you can slow the aging process? According to world- renowned dermatologist and bestselling author Dr. Nicholas Perricone, a healthy diet is the most effective way to increase your energy, improve your well-being, and look younger! On his list of superfoods he recommends beans and lentils.

Dr. Perricone says that these legumes are unusually high in phytochemicals, protein and vitamins, all of which are essential to prevent aging. They are also low in fat and calories, thus helping to maintain ideal weight, and contain essential fatty acids, especially omega-6. Beans help prevent diabetes and manage blood-sugar disorders. Being low on the glycemic scale, they prevent spikes in blood-sugar levels, unlike refined grains and baked goods.

Beans and lentils have been part of the human diet for thousands of years, and are still among the most nutritious foods on Earth. Their varieties include kidney, black, navy and pinto beans, chickpeas (garbanzo beans) soybeans and dried peas, as well as several different types of lentils.

Superfood #9: Sesame Seeds and Tahini

Besides being a pleasant condiment, sesame seeds are chock full of nutrition, making them a worthy candidate for our superfood list. They contain phytosterol, which lowers cholesterol, as well as vitamin E, an antioxidant that makes the hair soft, shiny and healthy. Sesame seeds are also loaded with calcium for strong bones and teeth, and high in vitamin A and essential fatty acids as well as the B vitamins. Being very nutritious, they are 20% protein and among the best sources of methionine, an essential amino acid. Sesame seeds also contain lecithin, which reduces fat levels in the blood and helps protect the body from environmental toxins.

In addition, they’re rich in minerals, containing copper, magnesium, potassium, iron and phosphorus, which help keep joints, muscles and blood vessels healthy. Sesame seeds can be used in many ways, such as sprinkled over rice, salads or vegetables.

They can also be made into tahini, ground sesame-seed butter, and thus used as a spread, dip or dressing. Moreover, oil may be pressed from the seeds for use in seasoning salads, grains, or fresh veggies. In Japan, sesame is ground and mixed with salt to make gomashio, a delicious dry condiment.

Superfood #10: Sunshine!!

The last superfood on our list isn’t really a food at all, but is essential to the life of almost every plant on Earth. It’s sunshine! It is the easiest, most reliable and most delightful way to get vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential to good health because it helps absorb calcium and build strong bones. A vitamin D deficiency can result in osteoporosis or rickets. Recent research reveals that about one person in seven is deficient in vitamin D, indicating that we should spend more time in the sunshine.

How much exposure to the sun will give us enough vitamin D? Elderly people need to spend at least 30 minutes twice a week, while younger people need less, perhaps only 10 to 20 minutes. Avoid wearing sunscreen as it blocks the absorption of vitamin D. Those with darker skin need more time in the sun to absorb the same amount of vitamin D as a lighter skinned person.

And sunlight has other benefits, too. It increases cell function, which, in turn, increases our body’s ability to purify itself. Sunlight stimulates the pineal gland to produce more of the powerful antioxidant melatonin. And best of all, sunshine is widely abundant and free of charge. Supreme Master Ching Hai often speaks about the benefits of spending time in the sunshine, as in this videoconference with Supreme Master Television staff in October 2010.

The sun has a lot of benefits: the sun cures many diseases. For example, in the old time, they did not have tuberculosis medicine yet, they would put the patient in a sunny room, or sunny area, and open a window, let the sun come in to cure the TB.

The sun cures your aches and pain, it eliminates toxins through sweat – when it’s hot, you sweat – and also it cures some of the diseases or other ailments. The sun gives also people happiness, carefree feeling. The sun is necessary for all on Earth.

Please try some of the delicious, vegan superfoods we’ve covered today. We are sure you will love them all! Thank you for joining us today for Healthy Living. May all enjoy health, happiness and sunshine in a peaceful, vegan world.

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