Which super foods are worth the extra buck?


Published with permission from Dr. Sally Norton, founder of Vavista.com.

We’re always hearing about the latest “super foods” that we’re told could have a powerful effect on our health and well-being. And while the “super food” term might be thrown around a little too freely sometimes, we’ve found some fruits and seeds that really are a powerhouse of nutritional value and worth adding to your shopping list!

Tart Cherries
What are the benefits?
Tart cherries (or sour cherries) have been found to contain high levels of antioxidants—the benefits of which include anti-inflammation, boosted sleep and improved sports recovery. Reports have suggested that an increased intake of tart cherries could help to reduce certain post-workout side effects, such as muscle aches, inflammation and weakness.

Avocados
What are the benefits?
More than just the main ingredient in guacamole, avocados seem to be having a real moment in the spotlight, and it’s not surprising! They’re a great source of healthy, mono-saturated fats—which have been known to help lower bad cholesterol, and as a result, reduce our risk of heart attack and stroke. In fact, a recent study has suggested that combining a moderate-fat diet with one avocado a day could actually lower your levels of bad cholesterol more than a low-fat or moderate-fat diet without avocados could.

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Cranberries
What are the benefits?
As many of you will know, cranberries have been used for years as an aid against urinary tract infections, but studies have suggested these berries could also have a wide range of other benefits—from improving our heart health, to helping to prevent certain cancers, to boosting our oral health, to helping to reduce infections. They are so good for us due to the polyphenols that are present in those little red berries. Polyphenols have been reported to possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties—to name just a few! Just be careful where you get your cranberry intake from, as cranberry juice and juice drinks are often full of sugar.

Blueberries
What are the benefits?
With their high levels of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, blueberries have been linked to all kinds of health benefits, including heart health, cancer prevention, enhanced brain function and improved eyesight. And if that’s not enough, some studies have suggested that the antioxidants in blueberries could help to delay the aging process—a much cheaper alternative to all those anti-aging creams!

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Pumpkin Seeds
What are the benefits?
We all know how nutritious pumpkins are, but there’s even more to be said for the pumpkin seed. It provides great levels of protein, fiber, manganese, magnesium and phosphorous, and is a rich source of zinc (important for immunity, cell growth and division, as well as sleep, mood, and eye and skin health). It’s not surprising it’s been dubbed a super seed; a handful of these little seeds make a great, nutrient-packed snack. Add to your oatmeal for a tasty, nutrient boost.

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Chia Seeds
What are the benefits?
Seed du jour, the chia seed has seen a steep rise in popularity over the past couple of years—unsurprisingly, given its high levels of nutrients and low-calorie intake. Loaded with antioxidants, soluble fiber and minerals, chia seeds are also a source of omega-3 (though not as easily used by our bodies as that obtained from fish) and contain more calcium, ounce for ounce, than milk.