We’ve probably heard people talk about superfoods and just how good they are for you. However, is there really any truth to it? How can a single food really be that healthy for you? As it turns out, there are plenty of superfoods out there that are incredibly beneficial to your overall health and wellbeing. In many cases, you don’t even have to go out of your way to find them. It turns out that there are plenty of regular everyday foods that can be very good for you in a variety of different ways. Do you like yogurt? That’s a superfood. Do you like to add blueberries to your yogurt? Guess what? You just combined two superfoods! Incorporating these foods into your diet is a lot easier than you might think at first, and the truth is that they are so incredibly beneficial that you might not even believe it. However, plenty of studies have shown how all of these superfoods have excellent nutritional value and other health benefits you might not think of. These superfoods can do everything from lowering your blood pressure to helping with indigestion to even fight cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Getting these superfoods into your diet is absolutely essential to living a healthy lifestyle. Combine them with an overall healthy diet and plenty of exercise and you will definitely start to see results, as many of these superfoods can also contribute to weight loss. So go ahead and take a look at the top ten superfoods that are actually super. You may find that eating more of them is easier than you think!
A lot of people balk at the idea of eating more fish. It’s just not as good as eating a nice hunk of red meat. Admittedly, that’s true, but there’s no reason to completely cut fish out of your diet. The health benefits of eating more fish are numerous, and specific types of fish are even healthier than others. For instance, salmon, the venerable second choice at every wedding and banquet you’ve probably ever been to, is incredibly good for you. How so? Well, aside from the protein, salmon is packed with B vitamins and potassium. It also contains a fair amount of selenium. Selenium is a micronutrient that acts as a powerful antioxidant. On top of that, it has the benefits of protecting against heart disease and lowering the risk of certain cancers.
You’ve heard that fish is brain food right? That’s also due to selenium, which has been shown to aid against mental decline. Alzheimer’s patients are often given selenium in their food or as supplements because it helps to boost memory. Salmon is also packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which help to reduce inflammation, improve eye and brain health, and even help to reduce anxiety and depression. Overall, more salmon in your diet is always going to be a good thing. However, too much of any good thing can be bad, so try to keep servings of salmon limited to 2 to 3 times a week to lower the intake of potentially dangerous pollutants and heavy metal contamination.
Blueberries are not blue. Let’s just start things off by saying that. Sure, someone might ask you, “why are they called blueberries then?” While yes, they do look blue upon first glance, try mixing them with yogurt. What color does it turn? Purple! Obviously blueberry sounds a lot better and just rolls off the tongue more easily than purpleberry. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about how amazing purpleberries, sorry, blueberries really are. These amazing little berries are believed to have the highest amount of antioxidants among common fruits and vegetables. Those antioxidants protect your body from free radicals, molecules that can contribute to the aging process as well as diseases like cancer.
Studies have also shown that blueberries may lower your blood pressure and help to prevent heart disease. Blueberries, like cranberries, can also be effective at helping to prevent urinary tract infections. Also, like salmon, blueberries are excellent at maintaining brain function and improving memory. They may be small, but blueberries are a mighty superfood that should be a staple in anyone’s diet. Plus, blueberries are delicious in baked goods, yogurt, or even just on their own as a snack. On top of all of that, you can eat frozen or fresh blueberries and get the same benefits, so don’t be afraid to go with a bag of frozen berries, which are also great for smoothies!
When you’re at a Christmas party, or any party for that matter, if the hosts are doing a good job, they’ll have a table full of snacks. But maybe you want to stay healthy while still being able to munch on something. You see bowls of chips, maybe a veggie tray, and then, out of the corner of your eye, you see the good stuff: a bowl of mixed nuts. Maybe they’re even in the shells with an included nutcracker. You immediately go for these and enjoy the rest of the party while scarfing down on some good old-fashioned walnuts, pecans, and hazelnuts. You’ve done well for your body, and why? Because nuts are a secret superfood.
Sure, people often malign the fact that nuts are high in calories and fat, but the fact of the matter is that their nutritional value counteracts these downsides pretty well. Nuts are incredibly high in nutrients like antioxidants, vitamin E, and selenium. Remember how great selenium is for your body? Well, one brazil nut provides 100% of the daily recommended dose of selenium. Nuts are also high in fiber and low in carbohydrates, making them an excellent choice for anyone on a low carb diet. Though they are high in calories, nuts have been found to be excellent for people who are trying to lose weight. That’s because your body doesn’t actually absorb all of the nut’s calories, and due to their high fiber and protein content, nuts are very filling.
7. Leafy Greens
We all eat salad begrudgingly. Okay, that’s not exactly fair to say. There are people out there who really do enjoy eating a salad more than anything else. However, the average person, given the choice between a salad and, say, a burger, is going to choose the burger every time. That’s too bad, because leafy greens are an incredible superfood, and by leaving them out of your diet, you’re doing your body a huge disservice. All the adults in your life when you were a kid told you to eat your spinach because it was good for you, and it turns out that they were exactly right, even if they didn’t know why.
Leafy greens, particularly kale, spinach, microgreens, and cabbage, are among some of the healthiest foods you can include in your diet. Kale, for instance, is considered one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, delivering vitamins A, K, C, and B6, as well as calcium, potassium, and manganese. Kale is also loaded with antioxidants and can help to lower cholesterol. Not a fan of kale? That’s fine! Spinach, one of the most ubiquitous leafy greens is also incredibly good for you. Spinach is packed with vitamin K, and is also very high in folate, a nutrient that plays a key role in red blood cell production, and is also incredibly beneficial during pregnancy. Spinach can be eaten raw in a salad, but it is also incredibly easy to incorporate into other foods, as well.
Yogurt already got a shout out when we talked about blueberries, but the truth is that this creamy, delicious dairy food also packs a wallop when it comes to amazing health benefits. Even though some people think of yogurt as just being a treat, it is actually packed with nutrients, vitamins, and other health benefits. For starters, yogurt, like other dairy products, provides a huge amount of calcium. One cup of yogurt actually provides almost half of your daily recommended calcium requirements. Yogurt also provides good amounts of phosphorous, magnesium, and potassium, which are all essential for regulating blood pressure, bone health, and metabolism. While yogurt does not naturally contain vitamin D, another important contributor to bone and immune system health, most varieties are fortified with it.
Yogurt is also high in protein, a nutrient that can often be hard to get outside of eating meat or eggs. The protein in yogurt helps you to feel fuller and contributes to muscle growth. Greek yogurt, in particular, is very high in protein, delivering far more of the essential nutrient than regular varieties. Some yogurts also contain live probiotic bacteria, which can greatly contribute to digestive health and even lessen the symptoms of IBS. Yogurt is also another food that is great to eat if you’re trying to lose weight, mostly due to its fat and protein content which helps you feel fuller. In addition to all of these health benefits, studies have shown that the saturated fat in yogurt (once thought to be incredibly unhealthy) may help to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of certain heart disease.
It makes food taste better, it makes your breath smell, and it is one of the most powerful and well-known superfoods out there. That’s right, we’re talking about garlic. On top of keeping vampires at bay and being an excellent way to make bread taste better, garlic has also been proven to have a variety of positive health benefits. Plenty of nutrients can be found in garlic, despite its lack of calories. these include vitamins C and B6, fiber, selenium, and manganese. These nutrients have been shown to have an effect on lowering blood pressure and even fighting against symptoms of the common cold. Garlic is also incredibly beneficial in fighting against cholesterol buildup and heart disease.
Both raw garlic and supplements made with garlic extract have been shown to have effective health benefits. The antioxidants in garlic have also been shown to fight against Alzheimer’s and dementia. Add all of these health benefits up, and one of the biggest reasons to keep eating garlic is that it can help you live longer. Studies have also shown that garlic has an effect on athletic health. In one study, garlic was shown to reduce peak heart rate by %12 and increase exercise capacity. On top of all of these amazing health benefits of garlic is the fact that garlic is so easy to incorporate into your diet. You can use garlic in almost any savory dish to enhance its flavor and add nutritional value.
4. Olive Oil
Olive oil is one of those essential ingredients that everyone should have in their kitchen. Not only is it great for making things like salad dressing, but it is also a great cooking oil (as long as it isn’t extra virgin, which is usually the type of olive oil better reserved for making a vinaigrette). However, both varieties of olive oil, whether you’re cooking with it or serving it with uncooked foods, provide many health benefits. For starters, olive oil is incredibly high in monounsaturated fats. These fats are sometimes known as oleic acid. Oleic acid has been shown to be an anti-inflammatory. It has also been linked to positively affecting the genes that are linked to cancer, potentially lowering the risk.
Olive oil, like many of the other foods on this list, also contains high amounts of antioxidants. One of the greatest health benefits of olive oil is that it can help to reduce the risk of stroke. Olive oil, particularly the extra virgin variety, can also help to prevent heart disease. As a staple of the Mediterranean diet, olive oil has been extensively studied for its health benefits. As it turns out, people who consume more of it have been shown to have lower blood pressure as well as better heart health overall. Olive oil, despite its status as a fat, has also not been conclusively linked with weight gain. In fact, it has been more positively associated with weight loss when consumed in the right quantities.
Gingerbread, ginger ale, ginger snaps… There have probably been numerous times in your life that you’ve run into ginger being used in something. It packs a flavorful punch and can be utilized in both savory and sweet dishes. However, ginger has also been proven to be an incredibly healthy superfood. What makes ginger so special? As it turns out, ginger is an incredibly potent and medicinal root that can be used as a natural remedy for a number of ailments. Not only has ginger been shown to greatly help with nausea, but it also contains powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Giner can be used to treat chronic indigestion, and it has also been utilized as a cold and flu remedy for centuries. Ginger has also been used to naturally reduce muscle pain over time. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, ginger has also been shown to reduce pain associated with osteoarthritis and even menstrual cramps.
On top of all of that, new research has been conducted into how ginger can effectively lower blood sugar and decrease the risk of heart disease. Like salmon and blueberries, ginger has also been shown to contain compounds that could decrease the risk of certain cancers and improve brain function. Ginger is also effective at preventing infections, due to its most powerful compound, gingerol. Ginger has been shown to lower the risks of oral infections such as gingivitis and periodontitis, as well as against respiratory infections like RSV. Overall, ginger is a great food to include in your diet and is easy to incorporate into food as a seasoning.
Where do you even start when you want to talk about how great eggs are? Humans have been consuming eggs and reaping their benefits for centuries, and the reason that they have become a food staple is because of how amazing they are for your body. On top of being one of the most versatile proteins out there (how many different ways are there to cook eggs, anyway?), eggs are absolutely packed with nutrients and health benefits. For starters, eggs are a great source of protein, B vitamins, and selenium. On top of that, nutrients in eggs like choline and lutein can help protect your brain and your eyes, respectively. Now, of course, we can already hear the egg detractors. “Eggs are high in cholesterol,” they say, “that means they’re bad for you!” Unfortunately for these folks, they are entire, unequivocally wrong.
Yes, eggs do contain cholesterol, however, the body’s cholesterol count is not actually raised by dietary cholesterol. On top of that, the cholesterol in eggs may actually help your body. As studies have shown, eggs actually raise the level of good cholesterol in your body, while changing the bad cholesterol to a different subtype which has a lower association with heart disease. On top of all that, eggs can be a great addition to a weight loss plan due to the fact that they are just so satisfying. Studies have shown that because eggs are a lot more satiating, they may indirectly lead to a decrease in calories consumed throughout the day. Overall, eggs are an absolutely vital and beneficial part of any good diet.
What would a superfoods list be without the king of all superfoods, the millennial obsession, avocado? You can use it to make guacamole, spread it on toast, throw it in a salad, even blend it into a green smoothie. Avocados are delicious, versatile, and packed with nutrients and health benefits, making them a must-have in your kitchen. Avocados are vitamin-rich and packed with nutrients like folate, vitamin K and potassium. In fact, an avocado, on average actually contains more potassium than a banana. Avocados also happen to be very high in soluble fiber. A 100 gram serving of avocado delivers, on average, roughly 7 grams of soluble fiber. That fiber is essential for digestive health, but also contributes to weight loss, lowers the risk of certain diseases, and helps to regulate blood sugar spikes.
Avocados also have a lot of good fat that can aid in your body’s absorption of other nutrients such as Vitamins A, D, E, and K and some antioxidants. Avocados may also help to relieve arthritis and fight against certain types of cancer. On top of all the health benefits, the fact of the matter is that avocados are delicious and incredibly easy to incorporate into your diet. After all, who doesn’t love a big bowl of guacamole at a party? Avocados are the kings of healthy foods, and though they may just seem like a trend, there’s no reason not to partake in their wonderful flavor and incredible health benefits.