What Are Superfoods? Everything You Need to Know
You’ve heard mention of superfoods for years now, from the aisles of your local health food shops to the social media fitness gurus we know and love.
The idea certainly sounds cool - what’s not to love about supercharged foods with powerful health benefits?
But when we drill down, the truth about superfoods may not be crystal clear. How exactly do we define a superfood, and how do we know exactly which ones to add to our diets?
After all, there are so many foods that earn this label, and we can’t reasonably expect to eat them all every day (especially on a budget).
That’s why we’re taking this chance to shed light on all the key questions surrounding superfoods, and provide some practical answers. Let’s explore what it really takes to qualify as a superfood, and where your priorities should lie in terms of using these ingredients to the greatest effect.
While there is no single defining feature of a superfood, nutritionists agree that these foods share a few common characteristics.
Primarily, superfoods are low in calories while offering major health benefits in return. It’s all about the ratio here. Most healthy foods require higher quantities of consumption, while a little goes a long way with superfoods.
You’ll also notice that superfoods have exceptionally high concentrations of antioxidants, organic vitamins, and essential minerals, plus bonuses like fiber and healthy fat for added benefits.
Again, every superfood has a distinctive profile with certain strengths, which is why a well-rounded lineup of products is so vital to achieving peak health.
The good news is that there are superfoods in nearly every category of nutrition, and they’re more widespread and accessible than ever before. Here are the main superfoods you should know about, along with some tips to get more of them in your diet.
Mother nature offers a wide variety of fruits for us to enjoy, although only a few of them can safely be considered superfoods. “Starchy” fruits like apples, pears, and melons tend to be higher in sugars and fewer in antioxidants, so they don’t quite make the cut.
On the other hand, berries of all kinds are often touted as superfoods for their high nutrient density and flavonoids galore. Everything from raspberries to blueberries to tart cherries and the famous acai - all have noticeable effects on mood, cognition, digestion, and more.
Fresh berries taste best, but don’t discount the benefits of frozen berries or a superfoods powder that contains the power of berries in a convenient form.
We won’t stretch the truth here - most veggies are bland, and don’t offer a ton of nutrition either. In many cases, they’re little more than a colorful garnish on your plate to add a bit of variety and keep you full.
However, there are a handful of vegetables that rightfully earn the superfood name, and which should not be ignored in your quest for health.
As a general rule, the darker and richer the colors of the veggie, the more nutritional benefits there are to discover. Just look at health food favorites like spinach, swiss chard, kale, and the assortment of microgreens found at your local farmer’s market.
Throw an avocado into the mix now and then for some fat, and you can go a long way with just veggies on your plate. There are also many ways to prepare these veggies to maximize taste, so get adventurous with those herbs and spices.
Speaking of spice, you may be surprised to hear that ingredients like cinnamon, garlic, and turmeric are more than just for flavor. These are true powerhouses of nutrition as well, offering countless benefits for immune boosting, hormone regulation, metabolism, and more.
In other words, you should spice your food generously not only for taste, but also to get those additional superfood effects that make a difference.
Step into the world of spices and see what you find! These superfoods will help keep you lean, sharp, and lead you down exciting culinary avenues as well.
While many proteins don’t offer much in terms of nutrition beyond the basics, there are some superfoods worth noting in this category nonetheless. Salmon earns first place on the list, loaded with healthy fats that help you glow from the inside out.
Various forms of shellfish also get the nod, often packed with zinc and other wonderful minerals of the sea. Don’t forget fermented dairy products like kefir and yogurt, and remember to honor the almighty egg (cage-free!) as well.
Make Superfoods a Daily Thing
We’ve only just brushed the surface of superfoods, but this basic info will take you far!
Now, it’s time to commit to eating some form of superfood each day - and get the health benefits that truly improve your quality of life.