July 02, 2020
A balanced diet is the cornerstone of healthy living. A nutrient-rich diet can help boost energy, support bodily function, and help prevent a wide range of diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and even some cancers.
In most cases, a healthy diet is achieved through eating a variety of foods including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean meats (while laying off saturated fats, trans fats, and salt). Some foods, known as “ superfoods,” offer a potent blend of many nutrients, packing much of what the body needs into a single, edible package.
Foods that are widely considered to be superfoods often contains vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, healthy fats, and phytonutrients. While there is not a set standard for what is and isn’t a “superfood,” some delicious—and surprising—ingredients fit the description:
1. Kale’s growing popularity in recent years has given people a terrific source of fiber, calcium, and most importantly, huge helpings of vitamins A, C, and K. Whether as the base of a salad or in a smoothie, kale is easy to implement into your diet.
2. Dark chocolate is a reminder that dessert can be super(food) too. Each piece of dark chocolate contains flavonoids, a group of phytonutrients that can help protect your heart. It’s not as healthy as kale—it contains lots of fat and calories—but a few squares make for a healthy treat.
3. Avocado, like dark chocolate, is full of calories. Its “superfood” qualities come from healthy fats, which help the body store energy for later use. Because of its caloric content, people should stick to a few slices in each serving.
4. (Almost) anything fermented gives the body bacteria that promotes health in the gut. Yogurt, like kale, has long been seen as a “superfood.” It provides calcium, vitamin D, and protein, in addition to immune-boosting probiotics (stick to Greek yogurt, instead of sweeter alternatives). Other fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, can provide similar benefits.
5. Wine, specifically red wine, may be the most appreciated “superfood.” Each glass of red wine is full of antioxidants that can help promote heart health, but it’s important not to overdo it: you can get the benefits of this superfood without going overboard.
6. Sweet potatoes are lower in calories than their tuber cousins, rich in antioxidants, packed with fiber, and filled with vitamins. The sweet potato is a filling superfood that’s particularly flavorful; a great way to pack in nutrients without compromising taste.
7. Salmon, like other fatty fish, is packed to the gills with omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients lower the risk of heart disease and stroke, and represent a healthier alternative to other proteins. Two servings a week can make a big difference in your overall health.
Although all of these foods are rich in nutrients, they should still be eaten as part of a balanced diet. There are a number of other “superfoods”—beans, whole grains, soy, berries, nuts and more—but the seven above are especially delicious, and therefore easy to work into a great meal.
Finally, it’s important to remember that since there’s no official meaning behind the term “superfood,” it’s more marketing than anything else. The seven foods above are worth adding to a nutritious meal plan, but eating a balanced, healthy diet overall is what is most important.
Information on this site is provided for informational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication. If you have, or suspect that you have, a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider.