Superfoods have been getting their moment in the spotlight for years now. Though there are no official guidelines to define them, most people use the word to describe nutritionally dense whole foods that are packed with an impressive number of vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants.
This roundup covers some foods that fit this definition. Some are readily available at any grocery store, while others might take some hunting to find. Regardless of whether they're really "super," incorporating them into your diet will certainly have some healthy benefits!
Blueberries are easy to find at the grocery store when they're in season. Studies indicate that blueberries have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
This fruit can protect against a variety of conditions, including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and may support brain health and fend off some elements of age-related cognitive decline.
Salmon is packed with protein and nutrients, but it's the fat content that makes most people consider it one of the healthiest foods on the planet. This fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA, which are believed to lower blood pressure , reduce the risk of certain cancers, and decrease inflammation.
While omega-3s are widely available in over-the-counter fish oil capsules, studies show that getting omega-3s from eating fish like salmon is more beneficial.
Goji berries are known for their bright red hue and sweet and sour taste, but they are also readily available in dried and powdered forms. Even a small serving is packed with iron and vitamins A and C, and their natural antioxidants led to their superfood status.
Studies show goji berries have a wide range of health benefits, including protecting vision, lowering bad A1C, and fighting tumor growth. They may also protect against type 2 diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, and cardiovascular conditions.
Green tea is from the Camellia Sinensis plant, the same plant that gives us white, oolong, and black tea, among others. The difference is in how the tea leaves are oxidized.
Black tea is the most oxidized; green tea is the least. As such, green tea has the highest concentration of antioxidants and many health benefits, including protecting against inflammation, age-related brain changes, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease.
Acai berries are native to the Amazon. Preparing them fresh is time-consuming, and they do not have a very long shelf-life. Outside of South and Central America, they are sold as frozen puree, pressed juice, or dried powder.
Acai berries contain many plant compounds and antioxidants, and studies show they can reduce total cholesterol, bad LDL cholesterol, plasma glucose, and insulin.
Ginger root is a healthy and delicious spice that's long been thought to have medicinal properties. Gingerol, the oil and active compound in ginger, has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and has been intensely researched over the years.
Studies show ginger may help with nausea, morning sickness, muscle pain, menstrual cramps, inflammation, and preventing type 2 diabetes.
Fresh cranberries are edible but many people do not like the taste and enjoy them as fruit juice, sauces, or dried instead. Cranberries are a good source of vitamins C and E and contain many plant compounds and antioxidants.
This fruit is probably best known for its ability to prevent urinary tract infections.
Wheatgrass is a superfood most commonly used as a juice, but it is also available in powder form to easily add to shakes and smoothies. It contains multiple antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties.
Studies show that wheatgrass may lower cholesterol, reduce transfusion requirements in some types of anemia, improve blood sugar levels, and fight certain kinds of cancer.
Sorghum is an ancient grain often used to replace rice or ground into a gluten-free flour. It is a good source of B vitamins and plant-based protein, contains numerous antioxidants, and has anti-inflammatory properties.
Studies show the phenolic compounds in sorghum can inhibit some cancer cell growth, protect against atherosclerosis, and lower blood sugar, insulin, and triglycerides.
Flaxseed has a nutty flavor, and its small size and hard texture make it a good addition to smoothies, salads, or yogurt. Many people opt for flaxseed oil and use it as a marinade or salad dressing.
What makes this seed a superfood is its high omega-3 content. Studies show flaxseed may slow atherosclerosis, decrease blood pressure, lower the risk of heart attack and stroke, reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, and treat a variety of cancers.
Believe it or not, dark chocolate has many health benefits, including beneficial effects on blood pressure, insulin resistance, vascular function, and cholesterol.
Dark chocolate with 70 to 85% cocoa contains a healthy amount of iron, manganese, and magnesium, but it also has a lot of calories and sugar. The key to enjoying this superfood is to do so in moderation.
Cherries are another fruit many consider a superfood. In addition to being delicious, cherries also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Studies indicate the vitamin C and polyphenols in cherries may ease exercise-induced muscle pain, promote healthy glucose regulation, and lower cholesterol in people who are overweight. Cherries may also decrease arthritis flareups and improve mood and memory.
Olive oil has a lot of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, and it makes the list of superfoods because studies show it has many health benefits.
Olive oil may have anti-cancer properties and inhibit tumor formation, and the extract can be used as a diuretic, antiseptic, and to lower blood pressure.
Many people may not consider eating seaweed, but this ocean vegetable is highly nutritious and extremely versatile. Not only does seaweed contain a variety of nutrients and minerals, but it is also loaded with beneficial antioxidants.
Research shows eating seaweed can help relieve symptoms of arthritis, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes. Some of its antioxidants may prevent Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and some cancers.
Avocados are trendy in health and wellness circles, and for good reason. They are extremely nutritious and packed with many vitamins and nutrients, including multiple B vitamins and healthy fats.
Benefits of avocados include anti-inflammatory and possible anti-cancer effects, and they may also help lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease and vascular damage.
Spirulina is a type of algae that has been traced as a food back to the ancient Aztecs. People typically use it in powder form and add it to shakes, dips, and sauces. Like many items in this list of superfoods, spirulina is packed with antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties.
It may reduce mental fatigue and protect the blood vessels in the brain from damage, support weight loss, and lower cholesterol.
Turmeric is a popular spice and medicinal herb in India. More specifically, one of the compounds in turmeric, curcumin, is known to have many health benefits.
Research on turmeric and curcumin shows this spice has powerful effects against inflammation, helping treat arthritis pain, elevated blood sugar, insulin resistance, hypertension, and high cholesterol.
Garlic was popular as a medicinal herb in ancient Greece, and researchers are still looking into its benefits today.
Studies show that garlic contains antioxidants and may be effective at fighting and preventing cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and atherosclerosis. It also has antifungal and antibacterial applications.
In addition to being packed with protein, calcium, and B vitamins, yogurt has a lot of probiotics, which can benefit many areas of your health.
One review demonstrates that yogurt improves diarrhea, constipation, and other GI issues, may reduce the risk of some cancers, type 2 diabetes, and supports better heart and bone health.
Almonds are nutritionally dense, loaded with antioxidants, and high in vitamin E. Research shows almonds may significantly benefit heart health by lowering bad LDL cholesterol and possibly raising good HDL cholesterol.
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