You know that superfoods are totally good for you; they're full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other things that keep your body running efficiently and warding off anything that might harm it. But with summer over and Fall in full swing, it's time to kick your nutrition back into high gear. And what better place to start than ramping up your superfood intake?
That said, we know it's not always easy to incorporate these items into your busy daily life—which is why we're showing you 25 easy ways to incorporate the goodness your body needs into your daily diet. See how easy it is below and make sure you're not undoing your good efforts with these 40 Habits That Make You Sick and Fat.
Grab a Smoothie with Spirulina
It sounds wacky at first–spirulina is actually a blue-green algae–but it's rich with nutrients that can help prevent damage and stress to your body, according to a study by the University of Maryland Medical Center. The powdery substance boosts your immune system, but it's not the easiest thing to add to your breakfast. Solve the problem by asking your go-to smoothie joint to add it to your green smoothie. (It won't affect the taste, and you're not stuck vacuuming spirulina off your kitchen floor.) Want to DIY it? Check out The 25 Best Weight Loss Smoothies from the best-selling book Zero Belly Smoothies!
Sprinkle Walnuts on Steel-cut Oats
This superfood double whammy is super easy to do, especially in colder months when all you want is something warm. According to University Hospitals of Cleveland, walnuts are the most heart-healthy of all the tree nuts. They contain essential omega-3 fatty acids to help keep your heart working the way it should. Throw a handful onto a bowl of steel-cut oats, which can help lower cholesterol while packing in protein that keeps you fuller, longer.
Add Apple Cider Vinegar to Your Vinaigrette
What can't ACV do? But if you're stuck wondering sometimes how to use the stuff, an easy move is to swap it in for the white vinegar you use in your vinaigrettes. Apple cider vinegar helps with digestion, alkalizes your body to help better absorb your nutrients, and has anti-inflammatory properties. If you already have a vinaigrette that you love, then get your ACV dose with these 8 Awesome Apple Cider Vinegar Detox Drinks.
Add a Handful of Nuts to Your Pesto
A large study in the New England Journal of Medicine has linked nut consumption to living longer and healthier. While traditional pestos are made with pine nuts, you can always up the amount of antioxidants in your sauce by adding a handful of your favorite tree nuts. Make sure to toast them before dropping them in to enhance the flavor.
Swap the Sugar for Canned Pumpkin
This is actually a fat swap and not a sugar swap; canned pumpkin can replace the eggs and oil (aka fats) in your baked goods and keep them just as fluffy and light. If you're indulging in a cheat day and want to make brownies, cookies, cakes, or other goodies, try this swap to up your Beta-carotene and the anti-inflammatory agents while lowering your calories. Love this tip? Then don't miss out on these 25 Healthy Ingredient Swaps for Baking!
Use Pure Maple Syrup in Your Salad Dressings
If you need to add a sweetener to your salad dressings, go for something natural like pure maple syrup. It's high in polyphenols, which are shown to increase brain function and health, according to a study conducted by the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. But remember: a sweetener is still a sweetener, so use it sparingly. They're not all equal, though, so take a peek at our exclusive guide to Every Popular Added Sweetener—Ranked!
Use Greek Yogurt Instead of Sour Cream in Your Soups
Nothing warms the soul like a good bowl of soup or chili in the winter months. But, unfortunately, those laden with cream and dairy products can do a number on both your tummies and waistlines. University Hospitals recommends subbing out the heavy creams for Greek yogurt, which has is a better source of protein, probiotics, vitamin D than plain yogurt.
Sprinkle Nutritional Yeast on Popcorn
The B-complex vitamins in nutritional yeast (aka "nooch") are an easy way to get a boost of nutrients such as zinc, folates, niacin, and more into your diet. Try sprinkling it over popcorn instead of using butter and cheese for a flavor boost; it will remind you of Parmesan cheese. Bonus: You'll get a large (vegetarian!) helping of protein, fiber, and B-12.
Toss a Handful of Blueberries into Your Breakfast
Dark berries, such as blueberries, are not only lower in sugar than other fruits but are also packed full of anthocyanins, an anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory agent. In a study done by the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior, they found that a diet with blueberries helped keep blood sugars stable. Blueberries are one of our favorites because they're so easy to top off your overnight oats for a hint of sweetness with a major hit of nutrition.
Use Pureed Cauliflower as a Thickener in Soups
Cruciferous veggies of all kinds contain cancer-fighting agents, but cauliflower is jam-packed with vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate. Making pizza crusts, breads, and other carbs out of cauliflower has become popular, but we'll admit that it's a bit laborious. Add pureed cauliflower to your soups as a thickener instead for an easy, no-mess way to up your nutrient intake.
Replace Sugar with Unsweetened Applesauce in Brownies
It's not only a great sugar swap, but unsweetened applesauce also contains way fewer calories. Apples themselves are full of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, which helps get things going in your digestive system. Be sure to include the skin of the apple; it's rumored to have at least double the antioxidant powers of the flesh of the apple. And for more ways to have your brownies and eat 'em too, scope out these 20 Best-Ever Tips for Healthy Brownies.
Flake Canned Salmon into a Salad
Salmon's omega-3 fatty acids are a huge heart health benefit, but we know grilling a piece of salmon for your daily salad can be quite the undertaking. Instead, look for canned, line-caught, high-quality salmon to quickly flake into your salads in lieu of dry grilled chicken. You'll get a filling, delicious lunch that doesn't feel quite so routine.
Sneak Carrots into Baked Goods
According to Julieanna Hever, RD, "Carrots offer phytochemicals, such as carotenoids, which have been shown to promote eye health and reduce the risk of prostate cancer." They can be grated sneakily into baked goods for a secret boost or even into sauces for a touch of sweetness.
Add Roasted Tomatoes to Your Salads
Tomatoes get a bad rap for their acidity, but they're really high in lycopene, which has been shown in some studies to ward off breast and prostate cancers. They're also high in beta-carotene. Roast them in olive oil to help bring out the flavor and your weekday salad will instantly feel more gourmet.
DON'T MISS: 20 Awesome Recipes for Mason Jar Salads
Spread Half an Avocado on a Sandwich in Lieu of Condiments
"Avocados are wonderful sources of fiber, monounsaturated fat, vitamin E, phytosterols, and many more nutrients," Hever says. "No other condiment can compete with the nutrient density found in avocado." A creamy avocado is an easy, satisfying replacement for fatty condiments like mayo and will help keep you fuller thanks to the fiber and healthy fats.
Throw a Handful of Spinach into Your Eggs
Dark, leafy greens are the go-to superfood for adding all sorts of nutrients to your diet—but spinach, in particular, contains vitamin C, beta-carotene, and vitamin K, which helps with bone density and heart health. If you're sick of having spinach in your salad or smoothie, make an omelet and add a handful of greens for a delicious update. For some inspiration outside the usual suspects, learn about the 11 Underrated Salad Greens—And How to Eat Them!
Add Shelled Edamame to Your Salad
Edamame is good as a pre-meal snack at a Japanese restaurant, but it's also a wonderful vegetarian source of protein, as well as vitamin A and C. Switch it up by adding shelled edamame to your salad.
Add Black Beans to Your Salsa
"Black beans—and any beans for that matter—are one of the greatest sources of lysine and other essential amino acids," Hever says. "Because they are plant-based protein, your kidney and cardiovascular system will embrace the ease of use in the body, especially compared to animal-based proteins." Black beans not only pack a powerful protein punch, but they also contain a hefty dose of powerful, disease-fighting phytochemicals and fiber—the two most important food groups we can prioritize in a healthy diet, according to Hever.
Replace Croutons with Sunflower Seeds
If you desperately need something crunchy in your salad, reach for a handful of sunflower seeds instead of croutons. The magnesium in sunflower seeds can aid with digestion, as well as help with irritability and stress. If you feel like you keep hearing about magnesium lately, it's for a good reason. Find out with our report on 19 Magnesium Tips You Didn't Know You Needed.
Blend a Frozen Banana with Chocolate for an Ice Cream Alternative
She also points out that you can "Save hundreds of calories and fat grams by opting for a creamy blended frozen banana over dairy ice cream." Just throw a banana and a few squares of dark chocolate into a blender or food processor for sweet and creamy non-dairy treat.
Use Asparagus Instead of Crackers for Dipping
Hever quips, "Let thy greens be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy greens! Asparagus is a flavorful mode of dipping that is very low in calories, rich in fiber, and filled with prebiotics that promote a healthy immune system and gut health. It also acts as a diuretic, which helps you shed any retained fluids that may cause bloating." Water retention is just one of the 35 Things That Make You Bloat.
Add Flaxseeds to Your Pancake Batter
"Flaxseeds are the ideal egg replacement," says Hever. "They're jam-packed with omega-3 fatty acids and fiber." Simply use ground flax seeds mixed with water to add nutrition to your pancake batter. You won't be able to tell the difference in your weekend morning pancake indulgence – you can also sprinkle them over the top of your stack of pancakes for a slightly crunchy addition.
Drop Kiwi into Sparkling Water
Kiwis are a low-calorie substitute for pre-bottled sparkling drinks that might have high amounts of sugar in them. Make your own by slicing kiwi and dropping it into your sparkling water. A kiwi is high in soluble and insoluble fiber and has more potassium than a banana.
Add Wheat Germ to Crusts
Cysteine, a nutrient found in wheat germ, is said to help delay the effects of degenerative diseases like Huntington's disease, according to a study done by Johns Hopkins University. Incorporate it into things like pie and pizza crusts, where will give you a huge helping of vitamins and minerals without really altering the taste.
Drink Tea Instead of Coffee
For some, this might be the easiest swap of all—for coffee addicts, maybe not so much. But the benefits of drinking calorie-free, inexpensive, and tasty tea are enormous. It can help lower blood pressure, help with osteoporosis, aid in heart health, and so more. Make the most of the benefits from tea with The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse! Test panelists lost up to 10 pounds in one week!