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A Superfood Must Have On Your Next Grocery Trip!

A Superfood Must Have On Your Next Grocery Trip!

We’ve all seen the commercials, read the superfood claims, even tried the superfood recipes. What makes a food a super anything? What in the world is a superfood and how will it provide practical results? Let’s examine one superfood that will knock your socks off when you discover the benefits it can supply. What can this seemingly unattractive, ordinary, weed looking leafy vegetable do for you?

For starters, it has more health and nutritional benefits than most in it’s class and in addition, can help you feel more energetic, fight disease and lose weight to boot. Superfoods are foods that are especially rich in nutrients and antioxidants. They give more power to your nutrient punch. Watercress is such a food and is considered to be natures first aid.

Watercress

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watercress

    Yum yum in your tum-tum. This “A” list, nutrient filled green is incredible! But first, what is this?

    Native Home

    Watercress is an aquatic plant species. A rapidly growing perennial plant native to Europe and Asia and is one of the oldest leaf vegetables consumed by humans. Production and growth of watercress here in the US comes from facilities like Watercress Farms in Myakka City, Florida.

    Recent Studies

    Dr. Jennifer Di Noia, P.hd of William Patterson University in New Jersey is credited for a study on nutrient dense fruits and vegetables. Watercress comes in at the top with an impressing 100.00 as a nutrient density score. Followed by Chinese Cabbage 91.99 and Swiss Chard 89.27. This score is measured by considering 34 different nutrient parameters including fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals (plant substances that have beneficial health effects) such as flavonoids and carotenoids. The higher the score, the more nutrients are provided in relation to the calorie content.

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    Using this system, watercress was found to be the most nutrient dense fruit or vegetable. This study also included such fruits as blueberries and raspberries. It is interesting to note that while berries are often phrased for their antioxidant qualities, it is not considered an essential nutrient.

    While you cannot base your entire diet on this system, it presents a viable guide in considering what foods to eat. An entire list of nutrients that are considered in the score can be found here.

    Exploding with essential vitamins and minerals, watercress gram for gram gives you more Vitamin C than oranges, more Vitamin E than broccoli, and more calcium than whole milk! Not only has it been found to prevent ageing in the skin, but research has discovered a significant link between watercress and cancer prevention. Now that is indeed a superfood.

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    Where to buy?

    Most supermarkets carry a fresh supply of watercress but you can also grow this superfood in your garden. Wikihow has a great how to article.

    How do you eat it?

    Many watercress recipes can be found online, but here is a quick one that I’m sure you’ll find delicious. You’ll need:

    • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
    • 1 bunch watercress (remove the thick stems and discard)
    • 1 small fennel bulb thinly sliced
    • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

    Preparation Instructions:

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    Whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice in a medium to large bowl. Add the watercress, fennel and pomegranate seeds. Lightly toss to combine. Then add salt and pepper to taste. That’s it! Serve immediately. If you don’t mind a little wilting, this can also be served cold, just don’t leave in the fridge too long.

    Watercress has become one of the top foods in the quest to stamp the importance of nutrition on health. It has proven remarkable benefits in the numerous nutrients that it provides and it tastes good too. It is certainly a superfood must have on your next grocery trip!

    Featured photo credit: Samuel Adams via samueladams.com

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    andre lewis

    Former Inside Operations Supervisor UPS

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    Last Updated on August 12, 2019

    12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

    12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

    Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

    But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

    I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

    Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

    1. Nuts

    The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

    Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

    Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

    Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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    2. Blueberries

    Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

    When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

    3. Tomatoes

    Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

    4. Broccoli

    While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

    Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

    Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

    5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

    Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

    The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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    Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

    6. Soy

    Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

    Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

    Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

    7. Dark Chocolate

    When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

    Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

    8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

    Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

    B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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    Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

    Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

    To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

    9. Foods Rich in Zinc

    Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

    Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

    Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

    10. Gingko Biloba

    This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

    It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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    However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

    11. Green and Black Tea

    Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

    Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

    Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

    12. Sage and Rosemary

    Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

    Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

    When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

    More About Boosting Brain Power

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

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