Superfoods Every Doctor Should Eat
Superfoods Every Doctor Should Eat
I know what you’re thinking: Eat? Who has time for that?
As a busy physician, most of your meals are probably the grab-and-go variety. As a result, you may be missing out on some key micronutrients as well as properly balanced macronutrients. Getting as much of the following superfoods as you can should help keep you sharp, energized, and healthy, as well as boost your brain power and longevity.
Superfood 1: Berries
Berries have the benefit of being a sweet, tart treat with a relatively low glycemic index. They’re also nutrient-dense. Blueberries pack potent flavonoids, which have been shown to have cardiovascular- and metabolic-health benefits, in addition to anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting properties. Berries happen to pair well with a few of the other superfoods on this list (more on that at the end of this post).
Superfood 2: Kale
Once a seldom-eaten restaurant garnish, kale is now a cultural meme of health-consciousness — for good reasons. Dark, leafy greens, such as Kale, contain vitamins and minerals, such as zinc and folate. A recent study highlighted how dark, leafy greens like kale may have memory-preserving properties. Many people dislike the bitter taste of kale. If you’re sautéing it, try adding some fresh lemon juice to the pan. The acidity will reduce the bitter flavor.
Superfood 3: Nuts
Nutrient-dense nuts are replete with healthy fats. A review of this superfood published in Nutrients extolls their virtues, including lower chronic disease risk, high fiber content, and phytosterols, which have been shown to lower LDL levels. A word for the wise: If you’re looking to lose weight, be mindful of portion size as nuts are calorically rich.
Superfood 4: Salmon
Fatty fish like salmon are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Current research is inconclusive or dismissive of the health benefits of omega-3s. However, it does appear that people who eat seafood 1-4 times weekly have an increased risk of death by heart disease. Whether that’s causation or correlation is another matter. However, you do need protein in your diet. Poultry can get boring and any amount of processed meat eaten regularly increases the risk of stomach and colorectal cancers. Mix it up with some fish now and then — but not too much. Excessive fish consumption can increase the amount of heavy metals in your blood and body.
Superfood 5: Green Tea
Get your (lighter) caffeine buzz with the benefits of antioxidants. Perhaps the most fascinating compound in green tea is the catechin epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). A 2011 study published in Biological Pharmacology sheds some light on the potential of this antioxidant, which may affect tumor cell response to chemotherapy. EGCG seems to affect apoptosis of tumor cells and activate caspases, which play a critical role in cell death. Another study, published in 2016, shows that green tea can protect against chemotherapy-induced cardiotoxicity. A side benefit: If you find yourself dragging midday, the lower caffeine-content of green tea has a better shot of being metabolized by the time your head hits the pillow.
Superfood 6: Kefir and Yogurt
Why Keifer, specifically? It’s fermented. The goal here is to consume probiotics. You can get similar benefits from yogurt, but stick to fermented varieties, such as Greek yogurt. Kefir also tends to be better tolerated by those who have trouble digesting dairy. Another bonus: Yogurt is protein packed. Choose a reduced- or no-fat option, and you’ll get a lot of protein with a lower caloric load. We’re just beginning to scratch the surface, from a research standpoint, on probiotics. Right now, research shows some benefit for antibiotic-related diarrhea and irritable bowel.
Superfood 7: Turmeric
This lustrous, goldenrod spice is one of the ingredients that gives Indian cuisine its inviting color. Research shows that turmeric may be a good option for pain control, due to its anti inflammatory properties. Additionally, a double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in Affective Disorders showed that turmeric may be effective in treating depressive disorders.
Cash in on the benefits of these superfoods for longevity and overall health.
- Green tea
- Kefir and yogurt
Looking to get as many of these superfoods into your system in one shot? Make a breakfast smoothie. In a blender, combine a cup of mixed berries, two leaves of Kale, a tablespoon of almond butter, a dash of matcha powder and a cup of Greek yogurt. Add almond milk to achieve desired consistency.