The Top 9 Superfoods
January 17

Superfine Foods - Salmon and Spinach

Lose weight! Boost immunity! Improve your love life! If there were a pharmaceutical drug that did all three, there’d be a stampede to the pharmacy, but for now, no such pill exists. My advice? Build your own – not a pill, but a plan – an eating strategy that packs power, nutritional value and a host of benefits into every bite. Where to start? Simply load up on the “Superfine 9” – nine of the most nutritionally valuable foods you can buy.

What makes them super? Few calories, low in sugar and salt plus lots of soluble fiber, nutrients, and health-boosting phytochemicals.  Even better – not a drop of guilt should you over-indulge! If you’re interested in looking great, feeling great, and weighing less, the real “magic pill” can be found in the organic produce aisle and at the seafood counter.

1.) LEAFY GREENS

What’s so amazing about the leafys is that calorie for calorie, they deliver more nutrients than just about any other food on the planet. Loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, leafy greens stock your body with the artillery needed to fight off potential killers like heart disease and cancer. Simply put: leafys benefit virtually every cell you’ve got!

My favorite leafy greens are kale, spinach, Swiss chard, mustard, and dandelion greens because they’re both nutritious AND delicious. You can toss them into virtually anything to boost nutrition, but be sure to give them a good rinse first. Raw or cooked, on their own or added to smoothies, omelets and sauces, leafys add health-sustaining doses of vitamins A, C, K, folate, potassium, and calcium to every meal.

For an easy added boost try greens powder in your smoothies.

2.) CRUCIFEROUS VEGGIES

Want to lower your cancer risk? Put the cruciferous on your list, namely broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, kale and bok choy. Research suggests cruciferous veggies have the ability to inhibit the growth of some types of cancer cells and even stop others by reducing the production of free radicals.

How to stuff more of cruciferous veggies into your diet? Don’t wait ‘til dinner, start your day with them – try cruciferous veggies at breakfast with a recipe like this delicious Brussles sprouts hash  – and put more healthy nutrients on your plate first thing, at the start of your day.

3.) AVOCADO

Don’t be afraid of an avocado because you think it’s fattening! The often over-looked avocado is a delicious, creamy superfood that’s simply too health-boosting to skip. The myriad of healthy fats and nutrients found in avocados – oleic acid, lutein, folate, vitamin E, monounsaturated fats and glutathione among them – can help protect your body from heart disease, cancer, degenerative eye and brain diseases. Avocados also taste great and are easily integrated into any meal – or even a fruit smoothie. Add a half an avocado to smoothies to add creamy texture and a powerful nutritional boost, or enjoy an avocado half as a nutritious “side” to your morning omelet instead of potatoes or toast.

4.) BLUEBERRIES

Tasty, sweet and packed with disease-fighting phytochemicals, flavinoids and soluble fiber – blueberries have the power to help prevent serious diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stomach ulcers and high blood pressure. In sum, blueberries are nearly miraculous! They also help tame inflammation throughout the body and can reduce “bad” cholesterol – so dig in for better health.

We love to blend blueberries into our Sustain smoothies, but while most of us think of blueberries for breakfast, they’re also perfect for dessert. Having a snack attack? Instead of ice cream, curl up with a small bowl of frozen blueberries and enjoy popping ‘em in your mouth, one by one.

5.) BEANS

Dense and delicious, beans help raise levels of the hormone leptin which curbs appetite. They also deliver a powerful combination of B vitamins, calcium, potassium and folate. All of this good stuff will help maintain healthy brain, cell and skin function and even helps to reduce blood pressure and stroke risk. Pretty amazing, eh? To increase your intake, trying eating beans as a filling side-dish instead of bread or potatoes. They’ll help keep you feeling fuller longer and deliver an excellent source of sugar-free energy through much of your day.

If you’re intimidated by beans, here’s a very comprehensive look at varieties, preparation methods, and tips for easy digestion.

6.) WALNUTS

Walnuts — you don’t need to eat a lot of them to tap into their power. Just a small handful a day will deliver a healthy dose of omega-3’s, alpha-linolenic acid, melatonin, copper, manganese and the hard-to-find gamma-tocopherol form of vitamin E which helps protect your heart. Walnuts on your plate may also protect your brain and help slow the onset of
Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Not a nut fan? Then try adding chopped walnuts to cereal or fruit, or blend in 2 tablespoons of organic walnut butter to fruit smoothies. Either way, you’ll still reap the benefits of the mighty walnut.

For a delicious salad that double dips on the Superfine 9 try our strawberry spinach salad topped with walnuts!

7.) WILD SALMON

Wild salmon is a rich source of protein, vitamin D, selenium, B2, B3, B6 and B12 and those all-important omega-3 fatty acids. So exactly what can wild salmon do for you? Quite a bit, including protection from cancer, cardiovascular problems, macular degeneration, depression, and cognitive decline – that’s a lot of pluses in a pretty compact package. The best salmon to buy? Wild caught, Alaskan salmon, which routinely ranks low in contaminants and high in nutrients. Wild salmon’s benefits start to kick in at about 2 servings a week, so there’s no need to over-do it.

8.) CHOCOLATE

Dairy free chocolate, in moderation, is a delicious treat that actually does a body good. It can help elevate mood, improve blood flow and even lower blood pressure. It helps reduce inflammation and LDL “bad cholesterol,” and it’s loaded with antioxidants, which can help prevent cell damage, degenerative diseases and even cancer – all of which is good news for chocolate lovers. Keep in mind though, chocolate’s numerous health benefits are not a license to set up camp in the candy aisle. You have to manage your “dose,” keeping yours to a modest 1 oz. serving, a few times a week. To maximize chocolate’s benefits, look for high-quality, dairy-free dark chocolate that’s at least 70% cocoa – and enjoy!

9.) CHIA SEEDS

Chia seeds are tiny, nutritional dynamos – in fact, they’re the single richest source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids you can buy. They’re also loaded with antioxidants, protein and minerals, plus soluble and insoluble fiber to help keep your digestion moving in the right direction. What’s more, chia seeds have an unusual property – they swell to more than 5 times their weight in liquid, so adding a spoonful or two to meals will help you feel fuller faster. How to eat ‘em? They’re virtually tasteless, so you can drop a spoonful or two into just about anything, including smoothies, sauces, soups and salads. But my favorite way to take advantage of this unusual superfood is to combine it with another superfood, i.e. chocolate, dig into a serving of Chocolate Chia Pudding.

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  • Debbie

    I covered 4 out of 7 today :>

  • OM JOSHI

    Friends I am vegetarian and like all the seven items mentioned. I eat salad with lunch and dinner. Whenever I have to go to other parts of the world I have to find vegetarian food and green salad. I am 73 and 68 kg in weight and 5fit 11 inches..
    I appriciate that the suggestions for vegetarian are are being given. Mahatma Gandhi remained vegetarian all his life, though he spent 20 years in south Africa. With best wishes to all.
    O.P.Joshi

  • Deann

    Great article/great blog! Thanks!

  • Saniel Underwood

    eat all on the list except salmon-too much mercury!!

  • http://twitter.com/saltyfig Salty Fig

    Great article! You did a great job promoting all the right foods.

  • Olivar Corp

    Where’s the good quality extra virgin olive oil? There’s so much scientific information on the health benefits due to its varied bioactive phenolic compounds. The better the quality (levels of oxidation and broken down fatty acids which a good importer/producer should provide for their oil) the higher the health benefits as quality is dependent on the quality of the fruit, how well it is treated, the quality of the oil extraction from the pulp of the fruit, and the quality of the storage to reduce oxidation. One quick website is:

    http://www.addsomelife.org/

    Don’t forget good extra virgin olive oil! Dolores Smith, The Olivar Corp, Canada

  • Flying Yogini

    Can you clarify whether or not it is good to eat raw kale/spinach or harmful to do so? I have read conflicting reports saying that raw kale/kale juice is bad for your thyroid and spinach also is not great raw. Do they need to be fresh or cooked before using or juicing? Help Dr. Lipman!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1043674823 Dorapsis Psyllibarum

    Thanks for the info! I already eat them all, but it’s always good to get a reminder…

  • thehappyeater.com.au

    Great article! I’m in the midst of a JAnuary Reset and Recharge and am happy to see all your superfoods have worked their way into the menu!

  • anon

    If you have problems with inflammation or your joints, leafy greens have a lot of oxalates, which can aggravate your condition. Something to look into for some people. Thanks for a great list, gp and dr. lipman!

  • Ben Franke

    I take a powder supplement called EGN Powerfood. The creators of this superfood literally named it Powerfood because they believed its that much more powerful than any of the other superfoods on the market. Its a nutrient-dense combination of some of the world’s healthiest natural foods. Its got blends of different combinations of superfoods stacked into 5 categories that each benefit your health in a different way. Check it out at their site!

    http://www.onnit.com/egn/?a_aid=Solstice

  • Pam

    I have GERD and everything I have read says to eliminate chocolate, avocado and blueberries from my diet as they all aggravate the esophagal sphincter either from the caffeine, high fat or low PH. Yet these are 3 of the top 9 super foods. I am also not certain about walnuts as “nuts” are supposed to eliminated too. Please advise on your experiences with GERD patients. Thanks.

  • Darla Eaves

    wild Alaskan salmon is safe

  • Sir Digby Chicken Caesar

    BOOO supplements = BAD

  • http://www.DatesAreGreat.com DatesAreGreat

    Please share your thoughts on including dates (both Medjool and Deglet Noor) in the list of Super Foods.

  • Stella L

    I have GERD and Barrett’s as well. Definitely eliminate chocolate from our diet. We don’t need that even though it’s a superfood, there are many other options with similar benefits. In terms of fat, I believe good fats like avocados and salmon are good for us. Read an article on GERD prevention and cure from Dr. Chris Kessler..He mentions that most of our enemies of GERD ppl are really refined carbs and sugars.

  • Alphons

    There is no hemp seed in this article. It’s one of the best foods. Plus almonds are better than walnuts.

  • Anonymous

    We agree that both hemp seeds and almonds are excellent superfoods too! ~ Jackie, Be Well Coach

  • Luz A Diaz-Williams

    When it comes to spinach, try to stick to baby spinach, as it is better digested by the body. Also, excess leafy greens can also cause kidney stones or bladder stones. It’s all about balance, in the end…

  • http://www.lestrella.iamlimu.com Linda Estrella

    What about Fucoidan? There are over 1,000 third party scientific studies on pubmed.gov supporting its properties.

  • http://www.SuperfoodGuy.com SuperfoodGuy

    I’m a fan of #1. Our body’s are designed to consume deep leafy greens as the majority of our diet.

    We cannot get too much of these!

    If you cut me open, I think I would ooze out green from my veins :).

  • Anonymous

    Hi Linda,

    Fucoidan is found in brown seaweeds, and we do believe that seaweed is a great superfood too!

    Be Well,
    ~Jackie, Be Well Coach

  • John Landau

    Due to Fukishima, this no longer may be true.

  • John Landau

    Due to Fukishima, this no longer may be true.

  • Guest

    Oh yeah, my bad.

  • Darla Eaves

    What to eat if you are anemic, low thyroid, have arthritis and osteoporosis?

  • Darla Eaves

    Frank Lipman, what about the radiation from Fukishima? Should we be wary, as John Landau suggests? What a travesty if our wild salmon become inedible.

  • John

    But who am I to take away your salmon eating pleasure? ;-))

  • Cheri Eir

    dead link