Complete your holistic lifestyle with these nutrient-dense foods

Food is our body’s fuel. Everything we ingest contains nutrients, which break down into chemicals and affect our energy level, mood, behavior, and daily performance. The meals and snacks we choose, the foodstuff we haul into our shopping carts, are significant and tell a lot about the lives we lead. As the saying goes, “you are what you eat,” so it’s important to choose the right food to keep ourselves in peak form. 
Enter superfoods. These are vegetables, meats, and fruits that are loaded with nutrients and antioxidants beneficial for optimal health. Here are some of them that have outlived fads and have numerous benefits endorsed by nutritionists. 

1.    Malunggay
Known across the globe as moringa and in the Philippines as the humble “wonder gulay,” malunggay is one of the easiest superfoods you can acquire — it’s easy to grow in the backyard and available in all grocery stores. It has every reason to be part of everyone’s plate and regular diet: It has 7 times the Vitamin C of an orange, 4 times the Vitamin A of carrots, 13 times the Vitamin A of spinach, 4 times the Vitamin B of pork, and 4 times the calcium in milk. Easily incorporate malunggay leaves in mongo, tinola, and suam na mais. When its leaves and stems are boiled together with ginger, it also makes for a good anti-flatulence drink. 

2.    Berries 
Berries are excellent antioxidants to minimize the effects of oxidative stress on our bodies. They protect skin cells and collagens from free radicals, preventing wrinkles, dry skin, and other factors that hasten skin aging. High in phytochemicals, berries also keep the brain young. They’re power-packed snacks on their own, but you can blend a handful of berries into smoothies and yogurts. Acai berries are good sources of fiber and heart-healthy fats. Blueberries are dense with Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and potassium. Cranberries are packed with proanthocyanidins which help lower the risk of urinary tract infections. Rich in Vitamins C and E and carotenoids, goji berries are also great supplements for healthy eyes, liver, and kidneys.

3.    Nuts and seeds
Here are some protein- and fiber-dense foods that will keep random cravings and untimely hunger at bay: nuts and seeds like almonds and flaxseeds. Two tablespoons of almonds give you 14% unsaturated fat, which lowers bad cholesterol, and fiber that you need daily for a healthy digestive tract. It’s also packed with high-quality protein essential for muscle building and recovery. Make sure you choose raw almonds, which you can incorporate into your oats, healthy baked goods, and Greek yogurt, to avoid unnecessary sodium and sugar. 
Flax seeds, on the other hand, are omega-3 fatty acids superstars — two tablespoons are equal to 100% of your recommended omega-3s, which boost cognition and cardio. They also keep your digestive system robust because of the fiber content. However, you will need to grind them before blending with your oatmeal, cereal, smoothie, or granola because they’re harder than sesame seeds.

4.    Salmon
Aside from being another good and tasty source of omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is also rich in protein — for every 3-ounce serving, you get 17 grams of this macronutrient. It’s also an excellent source of Vitamin B-12, which is important for healthy nerves and red blood cells, Vitamin B-6, for healthy nervous and immune systems, and Vitamin D, for improved bone health, among many other nutrients.

5.    Green tea
White, black, and green teas are all derived from one species of tea plant. However, you might want to reach for more for green tea, which is less oxidized as it’s steamed. As a result, it’s rich in ECGC, potent antioxidants that inhibit the growth of cancer and improve cardio and digestive health, and bioflavonoids, which protect us against infections. Its caffeine is a mild stimulant, boosting our brainpower and protecting us against Alzheimer’s. To get the most from its metabolic benefits, drink three cups of green tea a day.  
It’s clear that eating superfoods boosts our body, but it’s not the only way to do so. Other lifestyle activities like getting good sleep, regular exercise, socializing, and having a strong and safe community around us are as crucial in keeping stress levels low and our health defenses strong.

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