Superfood, noun. A food that holds within it a magical quality that will provide health and eternal life. The holy grail. Or not...
That doesn't stop manufacturers and advertisers from the "super" label. And why would it? It entices people to buy. "Super" increases sales. Unfortunately, some consumers buy into the "super-ness" of one food, missing the fact that one single food can't possibly possess the entire key to good health. By focusing in on one healthy food, you can miss the importance of eating a big variety of nutrient-rich foods.
That being said, many health professionals simply think of superfoods as those highest in nutrient density. They have the biggest bang per buck, or lots of vitamins and minerals per calorie. Carrots. Not Oreos.
Superfoods can be part of a healthy balanced diet, along with a wide variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and lean protein. Eating chips and drinking soda all day and popping a superfood at night doesn’t do it. They aren't a substitute for or a supplement to an unhealthy diet.
Research supports eating a variety of healthy foods, including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, fish, quality protein, and dairy products, and minimizing processed foods. Eating a super diet just may help fight diseases such as cancer, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. And, it may just put you in a better mood!
- Produce: eat a variety, in a rainbow of colors to obtain the best mix of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.
- Dark Green Leafy Vegetables: Spinach, collards, kale
- Citrus Fruit: Grapefruit, oranges, lemons and limes. Rich sources of soluble fiber, and vitamin C
- Berries: blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries. High in antioxidants, vitamins, water and fiber.
- Kiwi: rich in vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and a decent source of vitamin A and vitamin E.
- Broccoli: Vitamins A, C, and K, beta-carotene, and fiber.
- Sweet potatoes: Beta-carotene, potassium, and fiber.
- Watermelon: Lycopene, vitamin C.
- Cruciferous vegetables: broccoli, kale, and cauliflower. Contain antioxidant sulphoraphane.
- Healthy protein
- Beans: high in soluble and insoluble fiber, magnesium, and potassium, considered starchy vegetables but a ½ cup provides as much protein as an ounce of meat.
- Soybeans: tofu, edamame. Contain isoflavones and some omega-3 fats.
- Fatty fish: high in omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon, tuna, mackerel, tuna, herring, sardines.
- Dairy products: milk, yogurt, and cheese. Rich calcium and vitamin D milk. Yogurt can offer helpful probiotics.
- Whole Grains include both germ and bran, which are good sources of fiber, magnesium, chromium, omega 3 fatty acids and folate. Examples include barley, oats, buckwheat, whole wheat, wild rice, and millet.
- Quinoa (keen-wa) offers a complete protein, fiber, and a good source of iron, zinc, vitamin E, and selenium.
- Nuts and seeds: high in healthy poly-and mono-unsaturated fat, magnesium, fiber, and offer a high satiety value. Walnuts, flaxseed, and chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Pistachios contain plant sterols.
- Cocoa: contains flavonoids
- Spices: Turmeric, ginger, and many fresh herbs and spices may have anti-inflammatory benefit.
- Green tea contain polyphenolic compounds that may provide anti-inflammatory action.
You really are what you eat. The foods you eat today do influence how you feel today and do have an impact on your health over the years. In fact, you can find many foods that have a super-ior impact on your health the next time you go to the grocery store.