The Very Best Low-Carb Superfood Snacks
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What are superfoods? No, they aren’t fruits and veggies in capes, as disappointing as that may be to hear. Superfoods are remarkable compounds that we should be eating every day that are secretly made up of wonderful healing properties. Each superfood has its own makeup delivering its special brand of goodness straight to your system.
They’re champions of antioxidants, fiber, and healthy fats, among so many other things, that can prevent and reduce a range of health issues from oral hygiene to cancer. They’re your rich, leafy greens, your seeds and nuts, even the humble carrot is a superfood. These kinds of beauties have the added bonus of being low carb.
Carbs can contain natural sugars, starches, and fiber; things we need! However, as with snacking, it’s the type of carb that counts. Simple carbs, like fruits and veggies, win over complex carbs; bread or sweetened beverages. We need carbs for energy. Remember: low, not no.
The low amount of carbs found in our unassuming superfoods provide the perfect balance of energy and goodness to keep our system pumping. This article will clue you in on these unsung heroes and provide tips on how to let superfoods into your snacking lifestyle.
Let’s start with something that takes a little preparation. Salmon is famous for its omega-3. Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid, meaning it’s not something our body makes, but it’s something that our body needs. So, we need to look for it elsewhere.
Like in salmon. Protein is in the same boat as Omega-3, as being essential. Salmon has an abundance of omega-3s! Protein is very important when it comes to bone health, maintaining muscle when you’re trying to lose weight and even the aging process.
Salmon is a great source of B-12. A lot of products attempt to add B-12, but it occurs naturally exclusively in seafood and animals. The vitamin D in salmon is a great supplement for those not receiving their vitamin D from the sun. You’re either sunscreen obsessed or there’s no sun wherever you are.
In terms of the immune system, salmon offers a healthy dose of vitamin B-6 for efficient nervous and immune systems. Selenium supplements the immunity booster while also contributing to fertility health. Eat salmon raw, baked, or pan-fried, just eat it!
Coconut combines a magical blend of copper and vitamin C that keeps the skin flexible and elastic, making you look youthful and feel replenished. Minerals like iron, manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium help strengthen bones and regulate blood sugar levels, leaving you even-tempered and non-erratic. The selenium in Coconut helps reduce joint inflammation, so it’s great for the aches of arthritis.
If you’re a hardcore coconut fan, you can actually consume coconut oil right from the jar. One or two tablespoons as a snack between meals boost energy levels and kill your hunger until your next meal thanks to its high fiber content. If you need a more gentle delivery system, coconut flakes give you that satisfying crunch factor as a great t.v. snack or on hand while you’re working on a project.
The orange carrot, in particular, gets its color from its high beta-carotene content. Our body converts beta-carotene which, when converted through the liver, delivers twice your daily dose of vitamin A. This guy is responsible for healthy skin, mucus, and vision. Word around my elementary school is that lots of carrots make you see in the dark. Carrots are in fact good for your vision, but the other claims haven’t been proved.
Carrots are a rich source of antioxidants and have been linked to lower cancer risk as well as being a natural prebiotic. Our bodies try and smooth carrots’ digestive path by creating healthy bacteria in the intestines which can increase metabolic activity. Yay, body! What a great host.
Eating raw veggies is usually healthy. Carrots, however, actually release their nutrients more readily when cooked. So, carrot sticks are an awesome snack, but a quick stir-fry would really push your snacking potential over the edge.
Cranberry juice is home to many antioxidants, vitamin C, and salicylic acid. It offers energy, protein, and carbohydrates -- the good kind. When it comes to minerals, it contains calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, and zinc.
Zinc especially is great for pregnant women along with iron and magnesium. So, when combined with vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin E, and vitamin K, which fight against UTIs, it’s your neonatal berry of choice.
Proanthocyanidins, a chemical compound present in cranberries, inhibits harmful bacteria from clinging to teeth. These components inhibit acid production and protect the teeth from periodontal diseases by preventing the growth of plaque. Short term this means clean and healthy teeth.
Long term, it eradicates chances of plaque-related oral cancer. Fresh cranberries can be a little sour, if you’re into that then go ahead. Dried cranberries are a sweeter option. Eat them alone or sprinkle them in a salad for a sweet tang and a health kick.
Many studies have been done into oral, skin, and prostate cancers response to avocado. They all presented with the same results: apoptosis or automatic cell death. Cancer cells responded to avocado by jumping ship, basically. Just like carrots, avocados contain carotenoids which help to protect your eyes against cataracts, eye diseases related to age, and macular degeneration.
A single serving of avocado gives you 40% of your daily fiber, keeping your insides regular and movement smooth. Many people use avocados to prepare skin and hair masks. Above all, avocado oil helps in treating plaque psoriasis.
On top of that, the Beta-carotene and lycopene avocados improve the health and tone of your skin, eliminate signs of premature aging and remove bad breath due to bacteria in the mouth. It’s therefore related to preventing oral cancer. Avocado salsa, avocado whip (trust me, it’s the best butter replacement out there), plain avocado… the perfectly ripe avocado is waiting for you to come find it!
Blueberries are 85% water but somehow manage to hold 24% of the recommended intake of vitamin C, 36% of the recommended intake of vitamin K, and 25% of the recommended intake of manganese. Where do they fit all that? We’ll never know. I guess that’s what makes them a superfood.
In one 4-week study, 168 participants were asked to drink 34 ounces of a mixture of blueberry and apple juice, every day. By the end of the study, they found that DNA damage was reduced by 20%. Just 75 grams of blueberries to the main meal can affect the entire meals delivery of bad cholesterol.
A long term, large scale study of elderly participants found that blueberries were linked to delays in cognitive aging by up to 2.5 years. I will use any excuse to add these little bundles of delicious to my food, or just shovel them down by the punnet really. Blueberries are an amazing frozen snack in the summer. They will stain your lips when frozen, so beware. Found that out the hard way.
Goji berries have been harnessed for their goodness by traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, having been credited with improving vitality, energy, and longevity. They’re also loaded with nutrients that may help prevent eye disease, protect against skin damage and inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
Goji berry benefits include the ability to treat diabetes, hypertension, infectious diseases, and common illnesses like the cold or a fever. Traditionally, they’ve also been used to fight depression and anxiety, among other mood disorders.
They’re a great source of the usual antioxidants that help protect skin and eye health that we’ve come to know and love. Thanks to their ability to reduce blood glucose, regulate cholesterol levels and keep triglycerides nice and balanced, they’re able to prevent heart disease.
Goji berries are believed to increase sperm count and the vitality of sperm. In women, goji berries can regulate menstruation and even treat premature ovarian dysfunction. These texture giving berries can be sprinkled into whatever tickles your fancy; oatmeal, cereal, salad? Or, eat them on their own!
One hard-boiled egg will provide you with 4-5 grams of protein with just 17 calories. Eggs provide amino acids that regulate your metabolism; They provide vitamin D which makes you happy and also helps your body absorb calcium. Then you got your Vitamins A and B, for healthy vision, skin and cell growth, helping you convert food into energy. Also serving you choline, eggs are a huge help in protecting you from age-related memory loss.
The nutritional value of eggs can actually be accelerated depending on what the chickens were fed beforehand. Looking for packaging that says omega 3 usually means that the chickens were fed flaxseed. Flaxseed is also a superfood. So, you can pump up superfood with superfood. It’s superception.
Long before the superfoods list, there was spinach. It’s no cute coincidence that Popeye’s secret weapon was spinach. A half-cup provides more than five times your daily dose of vitamin K, which helps blood clot and builds strong bones. Popeye also probably benefited from spinach’s ability to lower high blood pressure. The guy did look like he was about to burst way too often.
Vitamin A is also necessary for the growth of all bodily tissues, including skin and hair. Spinach and other leafy greens high in vitamin C are imperative for the building and maintenance of collagen, which provides structure to skin and hair. Rich in vitamin A makes spinach great for hair and skin. It’s high iron levels also make spinach great for hair growth. You’re basically eating yourself to beauty mecca.
Cauliflower always seemed to me to be broccoli’s anemic cousin, with not much to offer. How wrong I was. The sulforaphane in cauliflower gives you healthy skin by shielding it from damage due to ultraviolet radiation exposure. Sulforaphane should protect your body from skin cancer, inflammation, and cellular damage. A single cup serving of cauliflower has at least 73% due to of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C the antioxidants found in cauliflower.
Cauliflower, like it’s antioxidant-rich friends, has been attributed to the balancing of hormones, specifically estrogen. Excess estrogen in the blood has been connected to health problems such as autoimmune disease, chronic fatigue, ovarian cancer, and hypothyroidism. Cauliflower is delicious roasted in the oven with some olive oil and paprika. Or, if you’ve got a little extra time, cauliflower rice is an incredible grain substitute.
A staple of trail-mix, almonds have been known for a long time as brain food. They’ve have been shown to increase brain activity and decrease the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as just generally being a great study snack. Regularly eating almonds can actually lower cholesterol in the case of high cholesterol, and balance you out in the case of low cholesterol.
Almonds contain folic acid, which helps reduce the incidence of birth defects in newborn babies. It also stimulates healthy cell growth and tissue formation. The antioxidant, phosphorus, can have a considerable impact on the strength and durability of bones and teeth, while also preventing the onset of age-related conditions like osteoporosis. So from prenatal right through the life cycle, almonds are your best friend. Sliver them into your salad, eat them whole, make them into a butter; enjoy!
By keeping all of these fantastic superfoods on hand, no longer will you experience ‘snacking shame’. With this knowledge, you can enjoy superfoods to their maximum potential. This is next-level nutrition that you don’t want to miss out on. The buzz around superfoods is not going to stop anytime soon. With their positive effects of weight loss and maintenance, they’re hard to ignore.
Don’t deny yourself the munch, just swap your potato chips for coconut chips; rice for cauliflower; butter for avocado. Get out there and boost yourself with the right stuff!