You might already have some idea that there’s no such thing as a “superfood” and that health experts think the term is just a marketing tool. Health experts do agree with eating popular superfoods for better health, but the focus is not what food you eat, but the quantity and variety of the healthy foods. The goal of eating superfoods is to develop healthier eating patterns to take advantage of all of the nutrients that popular superfoods, usually plant-based foods with some fish and dairy products, provide.
Just because there are no set criteria to what makes a food super, there are highly nutritious foods that health experts do recommend. Top superfoods provide nutrients like antioxidants that are thought to ward off cancer, healthy fats that prevent heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, and phytochemicals – chemicals that are responsible for giving vegetables its rich, deep color and smell. Diets that include these foods have demonstrated significant health benefits reduction of chronic diseases.
Popular Superfoods to Add to Your Diet
Berries always make it into any superfoods list because they are rich of antioxidants, high in fiber, and easy to incorporate into diets.
Yogurt benefits your digestion with its good bacteria, probiotics, that help fight off “bad” bacteria in the gut.
Olive oil has important monounsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E, and polyphenols that all prevent heart disease. It also has other antioxidants like vitamin K that, along with vitamin E, protect against cellular damage from oxidative stress.
Fish is a good source of protein and is full of omega-3 fatty acids that help prevent chronic diseases like diabetes, arthritis, cancer, heart diseases, Alzheimer’s, and strokes.
It’s recommended to have at least 2 fish meals during the week.
Deep green and leafy vegetables are rich in fiber and phytochemicals like calcium, folate, magnesium, vitamin A and C, zinc, and iron that have shown to provide many health benefits including preventing chronic diseases.
Nuts and seeds, although high in calories, fight heart disease with healthy monosaturated fats and minerals. They also are a resource of protein and fiber.
Legumes, aka beans, prevent chronic diseases because they are full of nutrients. Small but mighty, legumes help with weight maintenance since they are a source of low-fat protein and help with the feeling of fullness.
Cruciferous vegetables are another rich source of phytochemicals and include mustard greens, turnips, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, kale, radishes, collard greens, and Brussel sprouts. They also provide fiber and vitamins.
Whole grains have shown to lower cholesterol and fight diabetes and heart disease as a good source of vitamins, phytonutrients, and minerals.
Avocado helps reduce chronic diseases and reduce inflammation in the body with its high level of monosaturated fats, vitamins, and minerals.
Sweet potatoes provide antioxidants like carotenoids that are thought to reduce cancer and are a rich source of nutrients such as vitamin A and C, fiber, and potassium. And unlike regular potatoes, don’t usually require salt or butter.