18 Power Foods for Every Occasion

Power foods are foods that contain the richest amount of nutrients, the least amount of calories, and provide optimal health benefits. Listed below are just a few of the most "powerful" foods.  

More: 15 Foods to Power Your Workout

Power Foods for Satisfaction

Whole, high-fiber foods are known for being healthy and "filling." When we eat these foods often, satisfaction kicks in and makes us feel fuller, longer.

Flaxseeds

Flaxseeds contain plenty of protein and fiber and are a great source of the essential omega-3 fat. The essential fat, Alpha linolenic acid, is what makes flax a power food. ALA protects bones by preventing excessive bone turnover. This is very important for an athlete especially, during strenuous exercise. (Griel AE, Kris-Etherton PM, et al. Nutrition Journal)

Beans

Kidney beans, navy beans, lentils, chickpeas and Northern beans are all high in protein and fiber, as well as iron, folic acid, and potassium. While all beans have "power" benefits, the more colorful beans, such the red and black, may have an added bonus. They are rich in eight different flavonoids, which is important for illness prevention.

More: Colorful Foods to Boost Your Immunity

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes may taste like a treat but they supply us with an insurmountable amount of nutrition. Sweet potatoes are known for their antioxidant ability, strong anti-inflammatory nutrients, and the power to regulate blood sugar. Sweet potatoes can range in color from orange to purple. Some of their antioxidant power houses are the anthocyanin's, cyanidins, peonidins and beta carotene. Recent research has shown that when passing through the digestive tract, the cyanidins and peonidins along with other phytonutrients may be able to lower the abundance of heavy metals and free radicals.

Barramundi Fish 

Barramundi fish is similar to red snapper, striped bass, and Dover sole. Farmed Barramundi is a power food that falls on the "Super Green" list published by the Monterey Bay Aquarium. This list highlights which fish are the "Best Choices" (meaning most sustainable choices). Those on the list are low in environmental contaminants and are also good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Barramundi is considered a power food because it is low in mercury contamination and low in calories.

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is included as a power food for its ability to improve overall heart health. It is known to reduce LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, and increase blood flow to the brain. The power of chocolate comes from its flavonoids. Even though dark chocolate has healthy flavonoids, it also contains "not so healthy" sugar, fat and calories. Overindulging can undo any of the health benefits. One ounce per day is all that required to see the benefits.

More: Is Chocolate a Health Food?

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