One of the best things you can do for your body is provide it with the nourishment it needs to truly thrive. Eating a well balanced diet encourages your body to begin its own natural healing process, which can help you to stay active, healthy, and happy. There are a number of foods that contain specific vitamins and nutrients which have the power to give your body added health benefits, and can even help to alleviate certain ailments, that are known as “super foods”.

Here are 10 super foods, in particular, you may want to think about adding to your grocery shopping list.

  1. Blueberries

    This small, but amazing, berry is loaded with phytochemicals and flavinoids that can help to safeguard the body against diseases, high blood pressure, and ulcers. They contain soluble fiber, Vitamin C, and antioxidants, which fend off free radicals and boost immune system health. The benefits don’t stop there, however, as blueberries also have the power to fight inflammation and reduce bad cholesterol levels within the body.

  2. Spinach

    Virtually all leafy green vegetables are classified as “super foods”, but spinach is especially beneficial for overall health. It’s packed with folate, iron, magnesium, protein, and potassium. Spinach can help to reduce the risk of heart disease, strengthen bones, regulate blood pressure levels, improve digestion, and prevent memory loss caused by aging. It’s also known for its vision-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties.

  3. Salmon

    Salmon is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which have been known to increase heart health and lower the risk of heart disease and heart attack. Omega3 can also help to lower cortisol within the body, reducing stress levels and enhancing overall mood. In addition to its fatty acid content, salmon contains vitamin D, selenium, B2, B3, B6, B12, and is a great source of protein. If you don’t care for salmon you can opt for other super food fish, such as rainbow trout, herring, sardines, or mackerel.

  4. Tomatoes

    Tomatoes provide a myriad of physical health benefits. It contains lycopene, an antioxidant phytochemical that may be able to reduce the risk of certain cancers and other diseases. The yellow substance that covers the seeds within the tomato also offer a unique health advantage. They can help to prevent stroke, given that they deter blood cells from grouping together and causing clots within the body. Tomatoes are also a good source of Vitamin A, C, and E.

  5. Almonds

    This powerful nut can help with eye health, and serves as a great source of magnesium. This is so important because magnesium is a mineral that is involved in roughly 300 enzyme processes within the body. In fact, just one cup of almonds contains 24% of the daily recommended value of magnesium for women. It’s also been suggested that a diet rich in nuts, such as almonds, can lower risk of heart disease and respiratory illness.

  6. Sweet Potatoes

    This vegetable is high in fiber, vitamins A and C, manganese, potassium, and antioxidants. They are also great sources of beta-carotene, which can help to boost cognitive function. There is also some research which has suggested that sweet potatoes may help to reduce the risk of kidney cancer and diabetes. To get the most benefit, look for sweet potatoes that have darker colored flesh, or the purple variety (as it has higher levels of antioxidants).

  7. Cherries

    Cherries contain anthocyanins, which are antioxidants that can reduce muscle inflammation throughout the body. It’s also thought that adding this fruit to your diet can help to prevent arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes. If you’re having trouble sleeping, cherries may even be able to improve your quality of rest thanks to its melatonin content.

  8. Pomegranate

    This super fruit helps to fight off free radicals that can cause premature aging and disease. It can also prevent hypertension, stroke, high cholesterol, and Alzheimer’s. It’s been suggested that Pomegranates can even reduce inflammation throughout the body and help to remove fatty deposits from the arteries, which can prevent heart attack and congestive heart failure.

  9. Avocado

    Avocados often get a bad rap for being high in fat. However, the type of fat that they contain (monounsaturated fat) is actually good for your cholesterol levels. In fact, the high fat content in this super food helps your body to more effectively absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K. Avocados also contain oleic acid, folate, lutein, and Vitamin E, which can help your body to fend off disease and improve brain health.

  10. Dark Chocolate

    While you may be surprised to find this item on the list, dark chocolate offers a wide range of health benefits. It’s packed with antioxidants that help to reduce the risk of cancer or age related disease. This sweet treat can also lower blood pressure, improve circulation, and lower bad cholesterol levels. As is the case with all delicious things, eat dark chocolate in moderation.

    Try integrating these super foods into your diet to reap their rewards and improve your mental and physical well being. In some cases, especially if you don’t care for the taste of the food, you may have to get creative when adding them to your menu. For example, you can blend them into your morning smoothie, throw them into a lunch salad, or include them in dinners that feature flavorful sauces or salsas.