Superfoods are getting a lot of attention, but are they all that great? Any food that includes high quantities of compounds such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fatty acids that are supposed to have health benefits is considered a superfood. Although superfoods may appear to be a new fad, the concept has been around since 1915. The United Fruit Company was the first to employ it as part of a marketing campaign to sell bananas.
Because superfoods aren’t a nutritionally recognized food category, there aren’t any set requirements that food must follow in order to be deemed one. However, the term is usually reserved for natural foods that are very nutrient-dense while also being relatively low in calories. Superfoods improve your health by boosting your immune system and lowering your risk of illness onset or development. So let’s start with 10 superfoods you can incorporate into your meal to boost your health.
Berries are naturally delicious and high in fiber, and their vibrant colors indicate that they are strong in antioxidants and disease-fighting minerals. Berries’ high antioxidant content has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, cancer, and other inflammatory diseases.
When combined with established medical treatments, berries may be useful in treating a variety of digestive and immune-related problems. Berries also appear to improve motor abilities and short-term memory in our aging brains.
Beans (including soy), lentils, peas, peanuts, and alfalfa belong to the legumes (or pulses) category of plant foods. They’re dubbed superfoods because they’re high in nutrients and can help prevent and treat a variety of illnesses. B vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber are all abundant in legumes.
According to research, they provide a variety of health benefits, including better type 2 diabetes control, lower blood pressure, and lower cholesterol. Due to their tendency to boost sensations of fullness, eating beans and legumes on a regular basis may help you maintain a healthy weight.
Salmon, cod, tuna, and trout are lean protein sources that help elderly adults maintain or recover muscle mass. Whether it’s seafood, poultry, nuts, seeds, soy products, or lean meat, Bernard suggests aiming for five to six ounces of protein every day. Adults must be more aware of protein consumption since their bodies are less effective at using protein than middle-aged people.
Fish is also high in vitamin B12, a substance that can only be found in animal foods and that humans have a harder difficulty absorbing as we get older. Omega-3 fatty acids can also be found in seafood. Two to three servings each week lessen the risk of mortality from chronic illnesses that affect the majority of people by roughly 17%.
Fiber, vegetarian protein, and heart-healthy fats abound in nuts and seeds. They also include anti-inflammatory and antioxidant plant chemicals that can help protect against oxidative stress. Nuts and seeds are thought to protect against heart disease, according to research.
Almonds, pecans, pistachios, walnuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, and macadamia nuts are some of the most popular nuts. Peanuts are officially a legume, yet they’re commonly mistaken for nuts. Even though nuts and seeds are high in calories, several varieties of nuts have been related to weight loss when consumed as part of a well-balanced diet.
The moringa leaf, which comes from Africa, is one of the most nutrient-dense plants, with high levels of vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene, and protein, making it a superstar ingredient. Since moringa is packed with vitamin A and E, it becomes a perfect anti-oxidant powerhouse.
Vitamin A is believed to assist in the maintenance of healthy, glowing skin, whilst vitamin E protects the skin from free radical damage.
Chia seeds have been ingested since the Aztec culture, and were hailed as a superfood even back then—legend has it that warriors could fight for a whole day on only a teaspoon of chia seeds.
Chia seeds are high in -linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid), fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making them a “superfood” according to some.
Tomatoes are one of the most widely eaten vegetables, appearing in a variety of cuisines ranging from spaghetti sauce to bruschetta to salsa. Tomatoes are both inexpensive and readily available at local farmers’ markets, making them a food that is both ecologically and economically sustainable.
Tomatoes are another winner because of the antioxidant lycopene, as well as water and potassium. These are abundant in vitamin C and lycopene, two antioxidants that have been linked to a lower risk of prostate cancer.
The darker the color of a vegetable, the more nutrients it contains. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, dark leafy greens such as arugula, kale, collard greens, spinach, lettuce, and Swiss chard get their vibrant colors from chlorophyll, which keeps plants healthy, and the dietary fiber found in dark greens can lower the risk of colorectal cancer.
Another form of plant pigment, carotenoids, also acts as an antioxidant in the body, fighting free radicals that can cause cancer.
This savory vegetable is recognized for boosting immunity, acting as an anti-inflammatory, and improving cardiovascular health, among other benefits – not to mention adding a great kick to just about any recipe.
Although raw garlic is healthier than cooked garlic, fermented black garlic, which is high in antioxidants, maybe the healthiest of the bunch.
Improved digestive health and lower inflammation are connected to this dominating superfood category. Fermented (or preserved) foods rich in probiotics include kimchi, kombucha, kefir, miso, sauerkraut, and yogurt.
Probiotics are “good” bacteria that the body produces in vast numbers, forming the microbiome, a bigger population. These bacteria keep your intestines healthy and happy.