School is back in session, which means plenty of meal options, from food courts to on-campus quick meals. Making sure you fuel up on healthy, balanced meal options can be tricky as you dash between classes and extracurriculars, so it’s good to go in with a game-plan.
Lately there’s been a resurgence of interest in superfoods, nutrient-dense foods that provide a wide array of vitamins and minerals -- you might even have some in your kitchen pantry! Adding in a superfood into an otherwise poor diet might not change much, but with a balanced diet, superfoods can promote healthy living and a stronger immune system.
We’ve rounded up some superfoods that’ll help you optimize your health and keep you feeling balanced, healthy and happy.
Known as a staple during wartime, kale is a common leafy green that contains key vitamins and minerals -- and can be easily grown in your backyard (or patio)!
With more calcium and vitamin B6 than broccoli, cabbage, and spinach, kale is a superfood cousin of turnips, bok choy and Chinese cabbage. Kale also contains a cocktail of iron, vitamin A, fiber and antioxidants.
Not to mention, kale is eco-friendly, and like we mentioned, easily grown by amateur gardeners. Enjoy it in smoothies or roasted as kale chips (with a dash of pepper and lemon juice).
Yes, the same chia seeds you used as hair for your chia pet are known as a superfood! Chia seeds, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, behave oddly when mixed with water: they become gelatinous, meaning you can use them to thicken drinks, or even eat them as a makeshift pudding!
Much like kale, chia seeds also are high in fiber, iron, calcium and antioxidants. Chia seeds are also non-GMO and gluten-free, so they’re a great option for those with diet restrictions.
High in gut-friendly probiotics, yogurt, especially the Greek variety, is high in protein and calcium and serves as a low-calorie, vitamin-packed snack. Substitute mayonnaise and sour cream for greek yogurt, which still packs a tangy twist to sauces at fewer calories.
Greek yogurt is high in potassium and amino acids, the building blocks for protein and muscle tissue, which means it’s an ideal post-workout snack. Throw in a banana or chia seeds for added nutrition!
Greek yogurt is also a great option for smoothies if you don’t like the consistency.
Sweet potatoes, unrelated to common white potatoes, are a starchy, sweet-tasting root vegetable rich in fiber, vitamin C and most B vitamins.
Foods high in fiber promote healthy digestion, and research conducted on animals suggests that sweet potatoes has a protective effect on the digestive system.
Additionally, sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene (the pigment which gives sweet potatoes its orange color), which is known for its benefits to eye health and could slow cognitive decline.
Seaweed packs a nutritional punch. A very versatile food, enjoy seaweed in soups, sushi, salads and even dried seaweed out of the bag!
Seaweed, like other superfoods, is rich in vitamins and minerals, both DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and probiotics. Seaweed has also been shown to be good for digestion.
Seaweed is high in iodine which can cause problems with the thyroid. Exercise caution if you have a history of thyroid issues.
A Balanced Diet is Key
No superfood will undo a poor diet. Although superfoods can give your diet an added level of nutrition, it’s important to eat a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables in order to keep your body functioning as its best.
However, if you’re looking to supplement your diet with tried-and-true health food staples, try a superfood or two. Your body will thank you.
Dr. Ramesh Peramsetty -- along with his entire Crimson Care team -- is committed to making medical services convenient and accessible. Crimson Care Veterans is available seven days a week, with wait times of less than one hour. The clinic offers two Tuscaloosa locations: one on Veterans Memorial Parkway and the other on Skyland Boulevard. Both locations offer extended weekday hours and one-stop treatment services including medical care, x-rays, lab work, and prescription dispensing. In addition to physical convenience, Crimson Care also offers digital access through its online patient portal. With your own login credentials and a laptop, you can request prescription refills, complete any necessary patient forms online, review your medical records at any time, and even pay your bill. Check us out today on our website, or give us a call at Crimson Care Veterans: (205) 507-1100 Crimson Care Skyland: 205-507-1119.