If you stop by the Farmer’s Market in Atwater, you will come across many forms of healthful produce. These foods are power foods and are great for raising your energy levels and fighting disease. Nutrient-dense foods like fruits and vegetables are good for you because they provide the building blocks for healthy immune system functioning. ‘
Common Vitamins in Power Foods
Our bodies cannot produce enough of the organic components in vitamins. That is why we must get them from fruits and vegetables, or form our diets. Because vitamins support the immune system and convert food to energy, we need them to feel our best. Common vitamins include vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin B12.
Fruits and veggies also contain essential minerals. However, they are different from vitamins as they come from the water or soil. The plants and animals that we eat consume these minerals, which support bone, muscle, brain, and heart health. Some of the common minerals include magnesium, zinc, and calcium.
Vegetables and fruits also contain phytochemicals. These compounds give veggies and fruits their smell, taste, and color. They also support immune functioning and contain antioxidants that prevent cell damage. Some common phytochemicals include anthocyanins, carotenoids, and flavonoids.
So, which fruits and vegetables are the best choices for health and well-being?
Top Power Foods for Health
The following list will help you make a selection.
Antioxidant-rich blueberries protect cells from oxidative stress. This type of damage occurs when the body’s supply of free radicals exceeds the number of antioxidants in the body. Because of metabolic activities, such as digestion, or exposure to pollutants, the body produces the free radicals that speed up aging and trigger the disease.
Monkeys must know something about the health benefits of bananas or they wouldn’t eat so many of them. Good sources of potassium and fiber, bananas help maintain weight and are good for the heart. One medium banana contains around 420 milligrams of potassium, which is more than most fruits.
While avocados are higher in calories, they also are nutrient-dense. The fruits are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, known to improve heart functioning. The healthy fats in avocados contain fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
Tomatoes contain a phytochemical called lycopene. Lycopene is known for its ability to fight free radicals and disease. By eating tomatoes, you lower your risk of getting cancer and several diseases. While most vegetables and fruits lose nutrients after they are cooked, cooking increases the lycopene concentration in tomatoes.
5. Citrus Fruits
You can find plenty of citrus in California, all of which pack a punch when it comes to fighting disease. Fruits, such as grapefruits and lemons, contain high levels of flavonoids, fiber, and vitamin C. The vitamin C in the fruits helps fight off colds and the flu and lower cancer risk.
6. Sweet Potatoes
The main nutrient in sweet potatoes, beta carotene (a form of vitamin A), prevents dry eyes and safeguards your vision at night. The sweet tubers also contain vitamins B5 and B6. While B5 breaks down fats, B6 increases metabolism and boosts immune system functioning.
Kale contains plenty of nutrients and is one of the best power foods on this list. The vegetable and leafy green contains the vitamins A, C, and K, all of which improve the health of the blood, heart, eyes, and skin, and improve immune system functioning.
The vegetable also contains health-promoting minerals, such as potassium, calcium, manganese, and copper.
Popeye knew what he was talking about when he said you should eat spinach. The leafy green contains magnesium and potassium, which support the body’s electrolyte balance and regulate blood pressure. Spinach also contains folate and vitamins A and K. So you truly will get your fill of nutrients when you eat spinach.
Carrots strengthen your vision, as they contain high amounts of vitamin A. They also improve digestion and enhance immune functioning.
Garlic adds both flavor and nutrition to dishes, as it is packed with phytonutrients. Allicin, one of the phytonutrients in garlic, is known for its antibacterial and antioxidant qualities.
This cruciferous veggie is a superb source of vitamins C and K as well as fiber. It also contains protein – more than other veggies.
According to the website, Healthline, cauliflower is a versatile veggie that you can include in some dishes. You can also eat it alone. The vegetable contains fewer calories than what you use to digest it, so you don’t have to worry about counting calories. Moreover, the cruciferous vegetable is a good source of folate and vitamin C and is fat and cholesterol-free. It also is low in sodium content.
13. The Mango
The Food Network considers the mango a power food for taste and nutrition. The tangy tropical fruit contains vitamins A, C, and B6 in a 3/4 cup serving. It also is a recognized source of copper and folate. You can add the fruit salsa or salads, or even grill it. It also is an ideal ingredient to add to a smoothie.
Other Power Foods
Besides fruits and vegetables, beans, fish, flax seeds, and dark chocolate also represent foods rich in nutrition. However, if your travels in Silverlandia take you to the farmer’s market, the above-listed produce is a great choice for improving your health.
What’s Your Favorite Power Food?
The above list is not comprehensive. Do you have some favorite power foods? If so, share them here right now. Has a certain food noticeably improved your energy and health? Again, take time now and post a comment.