Power Players: Super Foods = Super Gains

By Terrie Colly, F!L!W! Correspondent

Can the new superfoods give you a super body? Most definitely.  Chia seeds, sprouts, and jicama are among the newest rock star eats being lauded by experts for having off-the-charts nutritional value. Rich in antioxidants and vitamins, they can power up your diet and promote better health by boosting your immune system. They also give you loads of energy, which translates into better workouts.

Here’s a rundown of the hottest superfoods that do a body especially good:

Adzuki beans A star player in Asian cuisine, these burgundy colored beans (pictured, above) are packed with protein and soluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol levels and supports heart health. They also contain high levels of potassium—a good thing for keeping blood pressure in check.  Known for their sweet nutty flavor, Adzuki beans pair perfectly with rice.  

Chia seeds Count on these nutty-tasting seeds to keep your bones strong and energy levels high, thanks to an abundance of calcium and omega 3 fatty acids. And ladies listen up: Chia seeds are also said to slow down premature aging by reducing the risk of free-radical damage to the skin. Sprinkle them on cereal and salads. For a sweet treat, try chia pudding.

Sprouts Now’s the time to get way into watercress or be big on brussels. These raw foods have triple the amount of protein, fiber, and vitamin concentrations than their cooked counterparts. One of our faves is alfalfa. Famed for its high B vitamin content (that includes niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, and B6), this crunchy salad staple is only eight calories per serving, making it ideal for people watching their weight.

Jicama We’re all for anything that puts us on the path to ridiculous abs.  The big benefit of jicama is its high amounts of insulin—a belly-flattening fiber that acts as a prebiotic to promote healthy bacteria in the stomach. Bonus: It’s an excellent source of vitamin C, which boosts collagen and fends off wrinkles.  A sweet root vegetable, jicama is yummy raw in slaws or sautéed in stir-fries.

Spirulina  It’s easy to wax poetic about this stamina-elevating superstar. Let’s start with its impressive lineup of protein, amino acids, and vitamin B12—a potent mixture that some researchers believe increases muscular strength and athletic endurance.  Use it to fortify a fruit smoothie or add a crunchy kick to an avocado salad.

Goji berries Ok, so technically not a food, this crimson-colored fruit is still super. Fortified with crazy amounts of beta-carotene, amino acids, and vitamin C goji berries are said to strengthen your immune system, while enhancing the body’s ability to repair itself. Sprinkle them on oatmeal or keep them on hand for an afternoon snack.

Challenge yourself!

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