What are Power Foods?

Sara Schmidt

Power foods are vegetables, fruits, and other edible substances that are known to yield immense health benefits. These foods may contain a high amount of vitamins and minerals, help boost metabolism and energy, or provide other health and beauty enhancement. Power foods can also often help ward off or treat illness.

Animal-based superfoods include sardines.
Animal-based superfoods include sardines.

There is no set group of power foods. Instead, new power foods are continually discovered and studied as their effects on humans are determined. A variety of power foods in the diet can help provide weight management, disease prevention, immune system health, and many other benefits. Most power foods are also considered heart-healthy foods.

Peanut butter is a power food.
Peanut butter is a power food.

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Peanut butter is considered a power food. A tablespoon (15 milliliters) of peanut butter or peanuts eaten daily can help lower one's risk of heart disease and diabetes. They may also be useful in controlling blood pressure. Whole grain products, such as breads and cereals, are considered power foods. They provide fiber and a plethora of other ingredients, helping the body combat cancer, heart disease, obesity, and high blood pressure.

Papaya is a fruit that supplies many healthy benefits.
Papaya is a fruit that supplies many healthy benefits.

Almonds are another nutty power food. A serving of 48 almonds provides an abundance of heart-healthy nutrients, including magnesium, fiber, vitamin E, and monounsaturated fat. People who eat almonds daily may also lower their cholesterol and risk of colon cancer and heart disease. Avocados are especially good for heart health, and are filled with folate, fiber, and vitamins B6 and C.

A bowl of yogurt.
A bowl of yogurt.

Chili peppers are used as a power food to help burn calories. They also provide several other health benefits, including sinus relief and antioxidant protection. Another food that is rich in protective antioxidants is the blueberry. The low-calorie, low-fat fruits are also high in many nutrients.

Certain types of mushrooms contain powerful health benefits.
Certain types of mushrooms contain powerful health benefits.

Salmon is one of few animal-based super foods. Along with herring, sardines, and mackerel, salmon is filled with heart, prostate, and general health-boosting benefits. Eating these fish on a weekly basis may also help prevent Alzheimer's disease. Another animal-based food, the egg, is considered a power food due to its ability to lower cholesterol and protect the eyes when eaten in moderation.

Watermelon is a great source of lycopene, which helps to fight prostate cancer, heart attacks, and other ailments.
Watermelon is a great source of lycopene, which helps to fight prostate cancer, heart attacks, and other ailments.

Though many people believe that tomatoes are the best source of lycopene, a prostate cancer-fighting compound, watermelon actually contains much more. Watermelon may also help fight other cancers, prevent heart attack, and other ailments. Another fruit, the apple, can help protect the lungs, lower one's risk of osteoporosis, and lower cholesterol. Other super food fruits include red grapes, mangoes, cherries, cranberries, and papaya.

Sardines -- a type of small fish in the herring family -- are rich in calcium and other minerals, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Sardines -- a type of small fish in the herring family -- are rich in calcium and other minerals, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Many other power foods are continually discovered. Nearly every food group contains super foods; even the fats and oils group contains olive oil, which contains several health benefits. Herbs such as garlic and turmeric, vegetables like kale and broccoli, and a large variety of other foods, such as sesame seeds, yogurt, tempeh, green tea, and mushrooms, all contain powerful health benefits. Eating a wide variety of these foods can help one maintain excellent health.

Power foods help keep the heart healthy.
Power foods help keep the heart healthy.
Cherries are high in antioxidants and other nutrients.
Cherries are high in antioxidants and other nutrients.
Blueberries are high in fiber and vitamins, and they are rich in antioxidants.
Blueberries are high in fiber and vitamins, and they are rich in antioxidants.
Citrus fruits contain antioxidants that help slow liver damage.
Citrus fruits contain antioxidants that help slow liver damage.
Salmon is considered a super food.
Salmon is considered a super food.
Avocados are a healthy fruit.
Avocados are a healthy fruit.
Tomatoes contain all four major carotenoids: alpha- and beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene.
Tomatoes contain all four major carotenoids: alpha- and beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene.
Green tea contains powerful health benefits.
Green tea contains powerful health benefits.
Shelled and whole almonds.
Shelled and whole almonds.
Kale contains many powerful nutrients.
Kale contains many powerful nutrients.

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