15 superfoods you didn't know were so important for your body

The topic is broad and intricate, and food balance should be the main guide in the choices we make for lunch and dinner meals. 

However, it is also important to know the benefits of the foods we consume. For this reason, some foods should be consumed more regularly than others. In particular, we refer to 15 extraordinary superfoods that protect and keep our bodies young and healthy.

The basis of our Mediterranean diet, with these 15 superfoods you will not only recharge your energy, but also protect your body.

Whole grain cereals
Whole grains are perfect for increasing satiety and reducing cardiovascular risk. They also help improve metabolism, counteracting the onset of both type 2 diabetes and obesity. But their virtues do not stop there. One of the most important aspects is their ability to protect us from the onset of certain cancers. The World Cancer Research Fund has pointed out that daily consumption of 25-30 grams of fibre from whole grains, in particular, offers significant protection against colon cancer.However, it is important to make a distinction. Although whole grains represent the best source of complex carbohydrates, not all are equal. As Dr Iacoviello points out, cereals must be whole grains from the base of the grain, and must not be made from refined flours to which bran is subsequently added. If this is the case, they are not true whole grains and do not contain sufficient B vitamins, vitamin E, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and above all healthy fats and fibre.
Not everyone likes legumes, not least because they are often associated with a traditional peasant diet, at a time when meat was a luxury and legumes were the only alternative to get enough protein. However, legumes bring numerous benefits to our organism: they help reduce 'bad' cholesterol and the risk of cardiovascular diseases.But their virtues do not stop there. Rich in fibre and low in fat, legumes also protect the intestine, which is why it is advisable to eat them every day. However, those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome may find it difficult to eat legumes three times a week. However, there is a solution: to reduce the discomfort caused by the skin of legumes, simply soak them in bicarbonate of soda before cooking and blend them before consumption.
Walnuts and almonds
Did you know that you don't have to consume fish every day to meet your daily omega-3 requirement? In addition to oily fish, you can get a good amount of these heart- and artery-friendly polyunsaturated fatty acids simply by eating walnuts and almonds. Just 8 walnuts or about 20 almonds are enough to get a full dose of omega-3. It is highly recommended to snack daily on 20-30 grams of walnuts or almonds. Confirming the beneficial properties of these nuts, a study conducted by Harvard Medical School in Boston showed that after monitoring the eating habits of 76,000 women and 42,000 men for 30 years, those who regularly consumed nuts had a 20 per cent reduced risk of mortality compared to those who did not snack on nuts daily.
EVO oil
Extra virgin olive oil is a must-have element on our tables. Besides its delicious flavour, it has been proven to be the most effective nutrient in the Mediterranean Diet for preventing heart attacks and strokes. But its virtues do not end there. Recent studies have shown that extra virgin olive oil reduces blood glucose levels after meals, thus helping to discourage the development of type 2 diabetes. This is why, of all the types of fats, extra virgin olive oil is undoubtedly the absolute favourite.
Garlic and onion
Garlic, thanks to its antibacterial properties, proves to be a valuable ally not only in fighting high blood pressure, but also in protecting against stomach and colon cancer.Onions also play a similar role in preventing stomach cancer, as well as containing substances that are essential for protecting the heart. A study conducted by the Mario Negri Institute in Milan showed that consuming one onion a week can reduce the risk of heart attack by 20%.But there is another aspect that should not be underestimated. The use of garlic and onion to flavour dishes reduces salt consumption. Dr Iacoviello pointed out that high sodium intake increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and stomach cancer. Therefore, using garlic and onion as an alternative to salt can help preserve our health.
Cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower
These delicious and light ingredients are perfect for winter dishes, but not only. Research conducted at Wageningen University in the Netherlands has shown that regular consumption of cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower can reduce the incidence of certain types of cancer, including bladder, pancreas, thyroid, prostate, breast and stomach. Adding these foods to our diet can provide important health benefits.
Blood orange, strawberries and berries
Fruits rich in anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and vitamin C properties, such as blood oranges, strawberries and berries, provide our bodies with a recharge of energy and antioxidants that are ideal for getting through the day. Eating these fruits every day allows us to fully benefit from their beneficial properties.
In the world, there are two types of people: those who detest spicy food above all else and those who, if they could, would season everything with chilli. Within these two 'food' extremes lies a truth that is very good for our health. The hotness of chilli peppers is due to capsaicin, a substance that acts as a natural vasodilator and anti-inflammatory.But that is not all. Chilli also has the power to keep us young. Dr Iacoviello, together with a research team from the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention at the IRCCS Neuromed in Polizzi, in collaboration with the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, has discovered how this substance is able to boost the activity of a protein that reduces the action of certain genes involved in the cellular ageing process.
Green tea
Green tea, not exactly a typical food of the Mediterranean diet, could be said to be the exception that proves the rule. Thanks to globalisation, it has now fully entered our eating habits and is a true panacea for our organism. However, for maximum benefit, it should be consumed strictly without sugar, so that it can be sipped throughout the day.Unlike black tea, green tea undergoes neither steeping nor drying, thus preserving intact its antioxidant power, which is essential for protecting cells from the damaging action of free radicals. Among the various substances it contains, epigallocatechin not only protects the cardiovascular system, but also has anti-cancer and neuroprotective properties.
Yogurt and fermented milks
There is no healthy diet without regular consumption of yoghurt and fermented milks. However, not all types of yoghurt are suitable - in fact, some contain more sugar than an industrial snack - so it is important to make wise choices. In particular, all natural white yoghurts without added sugars, colouring agents and other additives, as well as the 'Greek' variant, are fine.As for fermented milks, thanks to the presence of probiotic cultures, they overcome the obstacle of the stomach's natural acidity and arrive practically intact in the intestine, where they can best perform their anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, it would be a good habit to consume kefir milk for breakfast. Since they are pre-digested through the fermentation process, both yoghurt and milk in this form are not only more digestible, but also bring numerous benefits to our immune system, which will remain strong, healthy and young.
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