12 Superfoods To Boost A Healthy Diet
And while there is no single magic food bullet, it’s worth looking at the foods the food industry considers as superfoods. These foods are indeed full of nutrients and have health benefits.
12 Superfoods To Keep You In Healthy Shape
What are superfoods? There are no “superfoods” speaking from a nutritional and scientific standpoint. The term was actually coined to sell products and influence food trends. The foods that are considered to be labeled by the food industry as a superfood are done so because of the supposed health benefits the food brings to consumers.
While many foods are good for individuals, there is no one specific food that is the key to good health or disease prevention. However, the word superfood is here to stay, at least for now.
Blueberries are almost perfect as far as berries go. They are sweet, colorful, nutritious, and delightful available fresh, frozen, or dried. Blueberries are low in calories but high in nutrients. 1 cup of blueberries contains 24 grams of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, 36% of the RDI of vitamin K, and 25% of the RDI of manganese.
Considered the king of antioxidant foods, blueberries can help fight cancer cells and other negative cells that invade the body.
2. Dark Leafy Greens
Greens such as kale, chard, spinach, turnip greens, and collard greens contain high levels of anti-inflammatory compounds that also may protect against certain types of cancer. All of the above-mentioned greens have a high source of fiber, zinc, folate, calcium, magnesium, iron, and vitamin C.
3. Green Tea
Green tea in its purest form is a lightly caffeinated beverage with medicinal properties. Originally from China, people all over the world enjoy the health benefits of green tea. Green tea is rich in antioxidants and polyphenolic compounds that have strong anti-inflammatory effects.
One of the most prevalent antioxidants in green tea is the catechin epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG. It is likely what gives green tea its apparent ability to protect against chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Some people believe green tea is an effective weight-loss tool as well.
Legumes earn the superfood label because they are loaded with nutrients and play a role in preventing and managing various diseases. This vegetable is a rich source of B vitamins, various minerals, protein, and fiber.
5. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are rich in fiber, vegetarian protein, and good fats. Eating a serving of nuts and seeds daily may reduce the risk of heart disease and support weight loss.
Garlic is a plant closely related to onions and shallots. It has been used for centuries for various health remedies. Popular because of its distinct flavor in foods, garlic contains a sulfur substance that may also help in preventing certain types of cancer. Garlic is a good source of vitamin B6, fiber, manganese, vitamin C, and selenium.
7. Olive Oil
Olive oil is extracted from the fruit of olive trees and is one of the main ingredients of the Mediterranean diet. It contains monounsaturated fats and antioxidants such as vitamin E and K which can protect your body from cellular stress. Adding olive oil to the basic daily diet in cooking or in salad dressings may reduce the risk of illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.
Ginger is another superfood originating in China. It comes from the root of a flowering plant that contains antioxidants, such as gingerol, that may be responsible for many of the reported health benefits associated with this food.
This root crop is said to be effective for managing nausea and reducing pain from acute and chronic inflammatory conditions. It is available fresh, in dried/powdered forms, or as an oil. It’s easy to incorporate into soups, stir-fries, sauces, and teas.
This highly nutritious fish is packed with healthy fats, protein, B vitamins, potassium, and selenium. Salmon is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known for a variety of health benefits, such as reducing inflammation.
Be sure to look for the wild salmon label on your fresh or frozen package and you will know you are getting the best salmon for your money. Including salmon in your diet may also lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes and help you maintain a healthy weight.
The avocado is a highly nutritious fruit, full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. Much like olive oil, avocado is high in monounsaturated fats (MUFAs).
Oleic acid is the most predominant MUFA in avocado, which is linked to reduced inflammation in the body. Eating avocado may reduce your risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome.
11. Sweet Potato
This is the kind of food some people claim they could eat every day. Even though the sweet potato does taste sweet, this potato does not raise blood sugar like you might expect, unless you add butter and sugar.
However, just putting cinnamon on a baked sweet potato is all the flavor a person needs. This superfood is known to actually lower blood sugar for people with type 2 diabetes.
It’s loaded with fiber, vitamins A and C, and potassium. The sweet potato is a good source of carotenoids, which is an antioxidant known to help prevent cancer.
Eating more mushrooms is associated with eating more vegetables in general. Though nutrient content varies depending on the type, mushrooms contain vitamin A, potassium, fiber, and several antioxidants not present in most other foods.
Some varieties of mushrooms are the button, portobello, shiitake, and cremini. Another super feature of mushrooms is that agricultural waste products are used to grow them. This makes mushrooms a sustainable component of a healthy food system.
Let’s be clear, water is not food. It is a drink but may rank higher than any other food as super for our bodies. Your body needs 64 ounces of water every day or more if you are active. Water is a way to jumpstart your day. It is the source to make sure the food you eat will do the best possible job to help your body work efficiently.
A person can last a long time without eating, but only a few short days without water. This is why the blueberries made the top of the list for superfoods because they consist of 85% water.
As you make your list of superfoods, keep water content in mind as well as other nutrients, antioxidants, and the fiber you need to be healthy and full to keep each day moving forward in the best way for you and your family.
What You Need to Know
These are the top 12 current foods the industry has labeled as superfoods. While no food is the cure-all for disease or ailments, we do know there are some foods that help our bodies run more efficiently and benefit us in a healthier way.
These foods are indeed full of nutrients. You do not see a high amount of sugar content in any of these foods. What you do see is some common characteristics. If you look back on the list, most, if not all, contain some form of antioxidants. Many of these foods fight heart disease in some way, and nearly all contain a combination of Vitamins C, A, or B.
They are also effective for reducing the chances of getting Type 2 Diabetes or controlling blood sugar levels. All of the foods add a certain level of taste to the diet, again, without adding sugar, and there is a variety of color within this group.
There are many more foods we could add to this list. Carrots, celery, peaches, apples, and many more. Brainstorm your own list of superfoods. Look up the nutritional content, the health benefits, and write down your own list. Try incorporating a few into your weekly routine for added health benefits.
Maybe you have great superfood recipes you can share with us? Let us know in the comments section below!
- 5 Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate
- 5 Easy Ways to Curb Sugar Cravings
- 7 Ways to Practice Self-Love For People Over 50
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on November 19, 2020, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.