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Why you need to include chocolate and other superfoods in your daily diet

Superfoods directly contribute to boosting our bodies, and are mostly plant-based and unprocessed. If you want to improve your diet to include more nutrient-dense foods, such as superfoods, you should be avoiding highly processed foods, as they are often nutrient-poor, especially when compared to fresh, unprocessed foods.

The impressive thing about superfoods is that anyone can incorporate them in their daily diet, in a variety of exciting combinations. When we talk about superfoods, we are not referring to rare foods but foods that may already be part of your diet without you knowing about their health benefits.

Τhe oleic acid that is a component of the monounsaturated fats found in avocados can easily make you feel less hungry. Add ½ a ripe avocado to your salad or use it in recipes with chicken or seafood. It is a great source of fibre, making your meal more filling.

One of the richest and most filling nuts that can contribute to weight loss. Walnuts are rich in omega-3, fibre, magnesium and vitamin E. Four whole walnuts a day can cover the body's needs for natural anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. They are also a great source of fibre and protein and are low GI, contributing to the feeling of fullness and decreasing cravings.

Coriander extract has recently been a popular nutritional supplement, mainly because it is rich in antioxidants. It also helps the body get rid of heavy metals and other environmental toxins that build up in the body, as well as reducing LDL cholesterol (the 'bad' kind), and maintaining blood sugar levels. Use fresh coriander in salads, add it to your meals or smoothies, or enjoy a green tea and coriander beverage.

An Indian spice with a bright yellow colour that has been used for therapeutic reasons for thousands of years. A number of scientific studies have shown that it has anti-inflammatory, antioxidants and anti-cancer properties. It seems that consumption of turmeric improves the appearance of the skin and boosts the immune system. It is also a good source of iron, so it's a great idea to use it in recipes that don't include dairy products. It goes well with chicken and vegetables, or a risotto with vegetables or seafood.

Peppers are a vegetable rich in fibre, vitamins A and C and antioxidants. They improve digestion and the optimum function of metabolism. One red bell pepper has about 209mg vitamin C while an orange has about 60mg, and the recommended daily intake for a non-smoking adult is 75mg. Peppers are nutrient-dense vegetables. Many studies relate the consumption of hot peppers to an increase in metabolism and decrease in appetite. But it's not only spicy peppers that are good for our health. A study published in Clinical Nutrition in June 2009 showed that even 'sweet' peppers help to reduce appetite, especially when someone is already eating a low calorie diet.

Cacao and its derivatives are foods rich in minerals and polyphenols. Polyphenols are powerful antioxidants, and are found in large amounts in dark chocolate. They offer protective action against heart disease and high arterial pressure and help to maintain insulin and blood glucose. Eat some dark chocolate with fruit to increase your antioxidant intake...a great excuse to eat chocolate!

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