Chances are you’ve heard about “superfoods” more than once or twice. But what does it mean? The word superfood is believed to have been first used as early as 1915. It has gained popularity over the last decade becoming a common topic in the health and wellness community.
In this article, we share the truth about superfoods and share ways in which you can incorporate these superfoods into your diet.
What are superfoods?
You might be surprised to learn that there is no official, medical, or regulated definition of the term superfood. However, Merriam-Webster defines superfood as “a food that is rich in compounds considered beneficial to a person’s health.”
This can describe many different foods, so what qualifies as a superfood?
You might think of superfoods as those that offer more benefits per bite. These foods are nutritious but offer a little something extra. Superfoods may be higher in fiber, vitamins and minerals, yet also offer anti-inflammatory or antioxidant benefits, phytonutrients, or other compounds that might help fend off or delay chronic disease.
What are the best superfoods?
Though superfoods can include exotic-sounding ingredients like açai, goji berries, or maca, there are plenty in the produce aisle at the local supermarket and maybe in your fridge at home too. Consider adding these everyday superfoods to your cart next time you shop.
Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and cranberries often land at the top of superfood lists – for good reason. These sweet-tart gems are high in water, fiber, and vitamin C, in addition to other nutrients. Berries boast a number of phytochemicals that may help fight heart disease and certain cancers among other benefits.
Enjoy your favorite fresh berries as a snack or tossed into a salad for a pop of color, flavor, and nutrition. Swap syrup for a mixed berry puree on waffles for a colorful brunch treat. Try frozen berries over yogurt or blended into a frosty superfood smoothie.
This group of veggies includes rock stars like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, bok choy, kohlrabi, and more. Long studied for their cancer-fighting properties, most cruciferous vegetables are packed with fiber, folate, and vitamin K. Adding to their superfood status, cruciferous vegetables are a source of indole-3-carbinol (I3C). Though scientific evidence is limited, I3C is being studied for its role in protecting against cervical and other cancers.
And here’s an interesting tidbit – Crushing or grinding foods like kale and broccoli, increases the availability of indole-3-carbinol. So, consider making a broccoli pesto for dinner or add baby kale to a pineapple green smoothie to take advantage of this!
Oily fish such as salmon, albacore tuna, and sardines are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These superfoods are best known for a positive impact on heart health, omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help improve heart health by reducing plaque build-up in the arteries and decreasing unhealthy fats in the blood called triglycerides. Research on omega-3s’ impact on brain health and more continues to emerge.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential – meaning the body cannot make them. So, we have to get these fatty acids from food or supplements. The American Heart Association recommends eating 2 servings of fish or the equivalent each week. If you tend to forget about fish as an option, consider making this no-fuss, baked salmon recipe or add cooked tuna to a green salad. If fish is not a part of your diet, you can get quality omega-3s from microalgae.
Scientists believe the key flavanol found in green tea, Epigallocatechin gallate, better known as EGCG, may be responsible for its impressive health benefits. And there are many.
Research suggests that drinking green tea may help lower blood cholesterol and triglycerides – a type of fat in the blood. Along these lines, green tea may help lower blood pressure and decrease the risk for heart disease. Notably, some data suggests it might take several cups of green tea per day to achieve these effects. Further, preliminary research suggests that green tea drinkers have a lower risk for certain cancers, specifically endometrial, ovarian, and cervical cancers.
Enjoy daily green tea by the cup or get creative by infusing green tea into a recipe. Green tea is the perfect superfood to try as a broth for soup or chilled into an ice pop or latte.
The foods we eat can play a major role in overall health and how we feel each day. This list is just a taste. Consider adding one or two new superfoods each week. Before long, these everyday superfoods will be in regular rotation!For more information, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @Theralogix! Don’t miss an article! Sign up for our newsletter below and we’ll let you know when our next article comes out.