25 Top Superfoods to Get Into Your Diet
August 30, 2021
Original article and page source found here.
You’ve likely heard the term “superfoods” tossed around quite a bit and have probably heard about all of the benefits offered by these nutrient-rich dietary additions. So what is considered a superfood exactly?
Although there’s no set criteria as to what defines a superfood, these are foods that are jam-packed with nutrients that help provide your body with the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals you need to thrive, survive and feel great.
Superfoods do more than just help you meet your nutrient needs or aid in shedding a few extra pounds when it comes time for swimsuit season. These foods can help you achieve better health by reducing the risk for many chronic diseases and improving the way you feel day in and day out.
They’re also some of the top anti-aging foods around.
What is the No. 1 superfood? Truth is it’s very hard to name the single best food in terms of nutrient supply — considering different types of foods — such as plants, including leafy greens or animal proteins like organ meats — offer different benefits.
When it comes to preserving your health, your best bet is to focus on variety by adding a few of these ingredients into your daily routine, including things like berries, beans, cruciferous veggies, citrus fruits and algae.
What Are Superfoods?
Although the concept of “superfoods” can be traced back to the start of the 20th century, the term recently has become somewhat of a buzzword for better health.
However, with no real definition or criteria to determine what exactly superfoods are, they have caused quite a bit of confusion for consumers. The term is also often used by the food industry to market processed “health foods,” meal plans created to promote extreme weight loss and detox diets.
Several sources have tried to set a more specific definition for superfoods. Oxford Dictionary, for example, defines a superfood as “a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.”
Meanwhile, according to Merrian-Webster, the term means “a food (such as salmon, broccoli, or blueberries) that is rich in compounds (such as antioxidants, fiber, or fatty acids) considered beneficial to a person’s health.”
Uses in Ayurveda, TCM and Traditional Medicine:
Long before the concept of superfoods was even introduced, traditional forms of medicine were using foods for their healing properties in an effort to help promote better health.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, for instance, superfoods like Chinese herbs, medicinal mushrooms and other antioxidant-rich ingredients, such as ginseng or goji berries, were believed to help naturally treat a variety of ailments and health conditions.
Meanwhile, in Ayurvedic medicine, nourishing whole foods are used to help enhance the mood, fight fatigue, increase weight loss and improve digestion. In particular, superfoods that make up a plant-based diet — like seasonal fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and healing herbs and spices — are thought to promote balance between the body and mind and support overall wellness.
Top 25 Superfoods (and Benefits)
We all know that eating healthy can have a major impact on the way you feel. If you load up on fast food and processed junk, you’ll probably start to feel sluggish, tired and weighed down. Cram tons of nutrient-dense fruits and leafy greens into your diet, and you’ll likely find yourself full of energy and feeling good.
Superfoods can help take a balanced diet to the next level because they optimize your body’s ability to function by supplying a megadose of nutrients. For example, many are high in fiber, have high water content, which means they are low in calories, and are full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats.
What are the top 25 superfoods? Let’s take a look below.
Whether you’re looking to fight free radicals or maximize the nutrients in your diet, wheatgrass should definitely be at the top of your list.
Wheatgrass is prepared from the freshly sprouted leaves of the common wheat plant and can supply tons of nutrients, including iron, calcium and magnesium. It also gives you some added chlorophyll, a plant pigment that has protective effects.
Add it to juices or smoothies for a burst of energy, try it in tablet form, or even eat it raw if you’re feeling adventurous.
This delicious spice does more than just add flavor to sweet treats and seasonal drinks. In fact, it’s high in antioxidants and has been associated with lower blood sugar and cholesterol, improvements in nausea and PMS symptoms, and decreased inflammation.
Try sprinkling cinnamon over yogurt, oatmeal or smoothies to bump up the nutritional value of your healthy breakfast and reap the many health benefits of this invaluable spice.
Tiny but packed with nutrients, blueberries fit the superfoods definition to a T. Blueberries are brimming with disease-fighting antioxidants and phytochemicals, as well as plenty of vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese.
Best of all, these flavorful fruits are delicious and easy to enjoy as one of the best foods to lose weight. Use them to bring a hint of sweetness to salads, add them to baked goods or even enjoy them alone as a healthy snack.
In answering the question of “what are superfoods,” it would be impossible not to mention this super nutritious fruit. Yes, although the avocado is commonly enjoyed and used in cooking as a vegetable, it is technically a fruit from the Lauraceae family of plants.
The avocado is rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, folate, vitamin C and vitamin K. These nutrients are known to reduce the risk of heart disease and other conditions — plus avocado contains phytonutrients that fight oxidative stress.
Not only that, but it manages to pack in more potassium than a banana and is super satisfying, making it one of the best fruits for weight loss.
There are limitless ways to enjoy this creamy fruit. Try spreading it over toast, adding it to a salad or even just sprinkling a bit of salt on a few slices and chowing down.
5. Broccoli Rabe
Also known as rapini, broccoli rabe is a cruciferous green veggie that makes the list of top superfoods without question.
It’s loaded with bone-building vitamin K and antioxidant-rich vitamins A and C, as well as folate, calcium and manganese.
Thanks to its impressive nutrient profile, the compounds found in broccoli rabe may be able to help reduce inflammation, keep your skeletal structure strong, protect against eye disease, improve your heart heath and even prevent the growth of cancer.
Sauté a big bunch of broccoli rabe and add it to frittatas, pasta dishes, soups or sandwiches to give your meal a serious superfood upgrade.
The American Heart Association recommends including fish in your diet at least twice a week, and for good reason. Oily fish like salmon are high in heart-healthy omega-3s that can slash inflammation, boost brain health, potentially reduce your risk for depression and keep your heart strong.
Opt for wild-caught salmon whenever possible, and try to squeeze a few servings into your week by enjoying it as a savory snack paired with crackers or a healthy entree for lunch or dinner.
7. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are known and loved for their delicious flavor, but did you know that they’re also high in vitamin C, potassium and manganese? Most notably, however, they’re brimming with vitamin A. In fact, one cup of cooked sweet potatoes meets 769 percent of the daily value for vitamin A.
Vitamin A plays a role in maintaining healthy vision, fighting inflammation and protecting the health of your immune system to fight off infections.
Try roasting up a batch of sweet potato wedges, throwing them into soups or casseroles, or using them to kick up the flavor of curries and salads.
8. Goji Berries
With up to 12 times the antioxidant levels of blueberries, it’s no wonder these berries top the charts as one of the most nutrient-dense fruits for men and women.
Goji berries have been a staple in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries and have been credited with improving vitality, energy and longevity.
They are also loaded with nutrients that may help prevent eye disease, protect against skin damage and inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
You can often find goji berries in dried or superfoods powder form at many grocery stores. Try adding them to a raw superfood carrot salad for a nutritious option for lunch or dinner.
9. Raw Milk
Raw milk is high in nutrients including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamins A and D.
Kefir made from raw milk is especially beneficial for health as it has been fermented and has probiotics that can help boost the good bacteria in your gut to promote better digestion and enhance immunity.
Try adding raw milk or kefir to your next breakfast smoothie to pump up the nutrient profile and start your day off on the right foot.
Almonds are one of the most nutrient-rich nuts available. They are among the best non-dairy sources of calcium, providing more milligrams of calcium per serving than any other nut, and are also high in vitamin E and protein.
You can enjoy these nuts raw as a tasty snack or try roasting them up for a warm treat on a cold day. Just remember that almonds are high in calories, so be sure to keep your portion size in check — it is definitely possible to have too much of a good thing.
Type “superfoods” into your search engine and this leafy green vegetable is likely to be one of the first results that pops up.
Kale is one of the best veggies for weight loss and can supplement your diet with lots of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium and manganese for very few calories. Leafy greens are also known to help defend against cognitive decline thanks to bioactive compounds like lutein, beta-carotene, nitrates, kaempferol and α-