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Superfoods, they are real and they are good!

  As the popularity of more thoughtful eating and boosting exercise regiments increases due to the new year, health-hopeful consumers need to be cautious of falling victim to the fad diets that claim to help “lose 20 pounds in just two weeks” with unsustainable means. The theory behind many fad diets is deprivation, such as eliminating carbs or intermittent fasting. Although the intention to try them may be to jumpstart a healthier lifestyle, sticking with a fad diet or jumping from one to another, may lead to an unhealthy way of eating  over the long term. Rather than eating chemically-dense protein bars or going on a juice cleanse, health-seekers should attempt to incorporate more of certain beneficial foods. Not only is it a more positive and rewarding mindset, but it’s a more stable way to bring a variety of nutrients into a daily menu. An interesting way to stick to health-oriented new year’s resolutions is to incorporate more super foods into meals. 

   Super foods are nutrient-dense whole foods which make an ample addition to a balanced diet and can hold multiple health benefits such as reducing the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers (health.harvard.edu). Some noteworthy superfoods include berries, dark leafy greens (spinach, kale and escarole), fish, and beans. Dark leafy greens and berries are both fibrous, and their dark colors indicate that they are high in antioxidants and disease-fighting nutrients. Beans are an excellent plant-based source of protein, plus they are fiber rich and are also shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. Fish is a good lean source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which also help reduce risk of heart disease. Fish can also be sustainably and responsibly caught, so it’s worth asking the local fish monger about where the fish is from and how it is caught.

   Multiple restaurants in Ponte Vedra and Jacksonville Beach include superfoods on their menus. Fla Juice and Bowl, which is located at 2403 3rd St. South in Jax Beach, offers a wide variety of superfoods, including but not limited to acai, tuna, salmon, kale, blueberry, spinach and goji berries. All of these foods can be incorporated into an acai bowl or poke bowl, which help to create a healthy, balanced meal. Nékter Juice Bar at 4100 3rd St. South in Jax Beach has a plethora of items that are packed with superfoods. Juices, smoothies, fusion blends and acai bowls are all sold on the menu. “The Greenie” is a juice offered on the menu, and it’s made with spinach, kale, lemon, apple and cucumber which is described as their “drink loaded with all the best nutrient rich & appetite suppressant veggies”. Blueberries and strawberries are also ingredients in many of the smoothies and acai bowls. Superfoods are common to find on most menus, and should be highly considered when choosing a meal, which can help provide vitamins and nutrients that are beneficial to the body.

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