“Superfood” is a name used to refer to any food that has an unusually high nutritional value. Such foods are deemed to be very good for the health and promoting a state of well-being. Here are the best ‘super’ foods and why you should introduce them to your diet
In reality, most superfoods are plant-based, but some types of fish and dairy produce are also sometimes considered sufficiently nutrient dense to earn the superfood title.
Many foods offer value in certain specific areas but, to be truly “super” a food has to provide a sufficiently broad spectrum of nutrients to benefit the health in many different ways.
Superfoods may provide healthier-looking skin, a sharper mind, better immune system, and do much more besides.
However, even the best superfoods cannot go it alone. It would be unwise to try and live on any one of them as a single source of nutrition. The best way to benefit from superfoods is to incorporate them into an already healthy diet. Doing so helps ensure the body’s daily nutritional requirements are met.
Because most superfoods are plant-based, eating more of them provides the body with extra dietary fiber. They also contain antioxidants that further support good health.
Top 22 Superfoods
Rich in antioxidants, phytoflavinoids, potassium, and Vitamin C, blueberries come highly recommended for healthy eating. These little, blue belters pack a hefty nutritional punch all around and do so in a low-calorie way.
The antioxidants in blueberries help reduce DNA damage and, in so doing, can lower the risk of serious illness.
Blueberries reduce blood pressure, are heart-friendly, and help maintain healthy brain function and memory. Blueberries are one of the most eaten superfoods on the planet.
There’s also evidence to suggest they can reduce exercise-related muscle damage.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583121/)
Love it or hate it, broccoli is an extremely nutritious vegetable and good for the health. It’s almost 90% water and contains plenty of fiber, so it’s very useful for filling the stomach. That makes it a pretty good option for anyone who’s trying to lose weight.
This green superfood is incredibly high in Vitamin C. A single 100 g serving provides 148% percent of the recommended daily amount (RDA)
Broccoli also provides magnesium, Vitamin A, and potassium. It has some calcium and iron as well.
Apart from being a nutritionally dense vegetable, broccoli is high in carotenoids that help purge the body of harmful compounds. It also contains sulforaphane, which helps flush carcinogenic toxins from the body.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24114482
Garlic is another good superfood option and its unique flavor makes it an excellent addition to soups, casseroles, and many other dishes.
Each bulb of goodness provides respectable amounts of manganese, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin C; along with several other important nutrients.
More interestingly, garlic is a natural antibiotic that can help fight disease.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4458355/
The benefits don’t end there. Research suggests garlic improves cholesterol levels, is good for the heart, and may reduce blood pressure.
Another good thing about garlic is it provides glutathione, which helps filter toxic compounds out of the digestive system.
Spinach is another green vegetable that’s such a superfood it “leaves” many other options eating its dust.
A good source of Vitamin C and other vital nutrients, spinach contains more than a dozen beneficial flavonoids that can fight inflammation and help promote good health.
Surprisingly enough, spinach is a source of brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids that are good for the heart and beneficial in many other ways.
Spinach contains alpha lipoic acid as well. It’s an antioxidant that can lower blood glucose levels and increase insulin sensitivity. Spinach is a goto green superfood.
As if all this is not enough, spinach can also help lower blood pressure, improve bone health, improve digestion, and provide a number of other desirable benefits.
Figures provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) show a single, medium-size egg (44g) provides around 5.5 grams of protein, but only provides 63 calories. Eggs are renowned for being a good muscle-building food.
Eggs contain all the essential amino acids and are an excellent source of Vitamin A. They also provide Vitamins D and K, along with several forms of Vitamin B.
Each fragile shell also houses many important minerals including calcium, phosphorous, potassium, and zinc.
Depending on what kind of food the chickens are fed, eggs may provide omega-3 fatty acids too.
In the past, eggs were thought to raise cholesterol levels. Many people still avoid them for this reason. However, recent research shows cholesterol in food is not as dangerous as people used to believe.
Saturated fats have a much greater influence on cholesterol levels and, therefore, present more risk to the health.
Green tea may seem like a strange addition to a list of superfoods because you drink it instead of eating it.
But let’s not forget, the tea comes from the leaves of a plant. Just because you normally infuse them in water to extract the goodness does not make them any less valuable than other leaf-type superfoods such as kale or spinach.
Green tea is the healthiest beverage on the planet. It’s packed full of antioxidants and nutrients that help rid the body of toxins and increase vitality.
Some studies suggest green tea can boost cognitive capabilities. Others show it can destroy oral bacteria and freshen the breath. It’s even been called a life-giving tea.
However, these days, green tea gets the most attention due to it’s proven capabilities as a fat burning drink.
If you can live with the fact that it can turn your pee red, beetroot is a fantastic superfood to try.
Beetroot provides a number of valuable vitamins and minerals, including iron and vitamin C. It’s also rich in nitrates and there lies its real claim to fame.
Due to its high nitrate content, beetroot can boost levels of nitric oxide (NO) within the body. By doing so, it relaxes the blood vessels (vasodilation) and improves the circulation.
Bodybuilders crave this effect because it allows the muscles to receive extra oxygen and nutrients. This helps them to train harder. It also aids muscle growth.
However, all the important organs, including the brain, see the benefit when the circulation improves in this way. Vasodilation also helps lower blood pressure.
Papaya is a tropical fruit that provides many vitamins and minerals and is an especially good source of Vitamin C and Vitamin A. This superfood from warmer climes also delivers a generous dose of potassium.
Potassium helps regulate serotonin and, in so doing, helps promote a healthy state of mind. Additionally, potassium aids hydration by regulating fluid balance in the body.
Many adults don’t get enough potassium from their normal diet, but it plays an important role in good health.
Potassium lowers blood pressure, preserves bone mineral density, and protects against loss of muscle mass.https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/287212.php
A “super” source of antioxidants, papaya also reduces oxidative stress. It’s good for the heart, aids healthy digestion, and is linked to younger-looking healthier skin.
The results of one study suggest the lycopene papaya provides may also help protect the skin from sun damage.
A popular superfood you can find in many supermarkets. Goji berries are an Asian fruit that’s valued both as a source of nutrition and a medicinal herb.
People in Asia have been taking advantage of the medicinal properties locked inside these berries for a long time. More than 2,000 years, in fact.
Scientists appear to be especially interested in the berries’ ability to regulate glucose, support healthy immune function, and help prevent aging.
Goji berries also appear to be very good for the eyes. Several studies show this.
One study, published in journal Drug Design, Development and Therapy reveals the natural compounds in goji berries provide protection from the ganglion cells that cause glaucoma.
Other research shows goji berries support good liver health, fight anxiety, and aid restful sleep.
Kale is another vegetable superfood that makes a good addition to any healthy diet. It’s nutrient dense and is heavy on antioxidants and low in calories.
A single cup of chopped kale provides double the RDA of Vitamin C. That same cup of green goodness will deliver 134% of the RDA for Vitamin A. It’s got a goodly amount of Vitamin K as well, along with an impressive mix of other nutrients.
You may also be surprised to learn a cup of chopped kale provides around 120 mg of Omega-3. Additionally, kale is antiviral, good for the eyes, and is a good source of dietary fiber.
Kale is a versatile vegetable, you can use it in lots of different ways. There’s no good reason to avoid it and plenty of excellent ones for including it in your meals, smoothies, or juices.
A staple food among the inhabitants of the Amazon Basin, acai berries have become an extremely popular superfruit.
The flesh of the fruit is highly nutritious and full of antioxidants. It’s also worth noting the fact that the body absorbs the antioxidants from acai berries extremely well.
Interestingly, research involving acai juice and pulped acai berry flesh shows acai pulp has an absorption rate that is superior to acai juice.
So, although acai is potent in all its forms, snacking on the berries is likely to be more beneficial than drinking acai juice.
Nuts can be tricky because they are high in fat. That’s why many dieters stay away from nuts in all their forms.
However, researchers are now saying the monounsaturated fats in healthy nuts, such as Brazil nuts, elevate good cholesterol levels. Better yet, they reduce bad cholesterol levels at the same time.
That means an occasional handful of Brazil nuts can make a good heart-healthy snack.
Brazil nuts are a source of selenium. This essential mineral plays an important role in healthy immune function. It’s also an antioxidant that lowers oxidative stress.
Additionally, Brazil nuts are an excellent source of magnesium, iron, calcium, and dietary fiber. Just don’t lose sight of the fact that they are 66% fat. Go easy. Snack with discretion. In this case, too much of a good thing may be a very bad thing for your weight.
Undeniably, the most hard case of all the superfoods. After you’ve finished drinking the milk it’s worth having a crack at the flesh that clings to the inside of the coconut’s tough, exterior shell.
The fat content is high, so eating too enthusiastically or too often may not be wise. However, the oil the coconut meat provides contains a unique combination of fatty acids.
These acids can boost brain function, invigorate the body, support fat loss, and provide some other pretty impressive benefits too.
Coconut oil is antifungal, antiviral, and antibiotic too. These abilities are largely due to the presence of lauric acid and monolaurin.
Coconut water is not without its uses either. It provides important minerals that act as neurotransmitters and aid hydration.
Wheatgrass is a superfood that’s becoming increasingly popular these days. You may even find it on the menu at your local juice bar. If you don’t you’ll certainly have better luck at any good health food store.
Some people even grow wheatgrass at home. It’s actually nothing more than the freshly-sprouted leaves of normal wheat. The same crop that’s used for producing flour.
This unexpected nutritional hero provides a broad range of vitamins and minerals and boasts especially high levels of vitamins A, C, and E. Wheatgrass is also a source of calcium, iron, magnesium, and amino acids.
As with most other superfoods, it provides antioxidants, and the chlorophyll that makes it green is also deemed to be good for the health.
Many of the health claims made for wheatgrass are similar to those made for other superfoods. For instance, research shows it may lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation, regulate blood glucose, and help with weight loss.
If growing your own sounds like too much hard work, you can buy wheatgrass in powder, juice, and capsule form. However, a smoothie made with fresh home-grown wheatgrass will probably provide a better nutritional punch.
Cinnamon is associated with more health benefits than you can shake a stick at. It tastes pretty good as well.
This popular spice, made from the inner bark of cinnamon trees, has been used as a medicinal compound and flavor-provider for thousands of years. In fact, there was a time it was so important it was a worthy gift to present to kings.
The active compound in cinnamon is cinnamaldehyde, but it’s a good source of antioxidants too. In fact, the antioxidant activity of cinnamon is so powerful it can be used for preserving food.
It’s both antibacterial and antifungal and is potent enough to inhibit the growth of certain bacteria, such as salmonella and listeria. Cinnamon offers value in many other areas as well and is currently being explored as a natural treatment for people with HIV.
A super-nutritious fruit that deserves a place on any good superfood list. Avocado is rich in monounsaturated fats that are good for the heart. It also provides Vitamin C, folate, and Vitamin K. As for potassium, it provides even more than you would get by eating a banana.
Avocados are also a pretty good source of dietary fiber, about 25% of which is prebiotic. That means it can provide additional benefits by nourishing the probiotic bacteria present in the gut.
The results of one study showed the participants who ate avocado were much healthier than those who did not. However, avocado is a high-calorie fruit so, if you are trying to lose weight, it’s a superfood you may not want to eat too often.
Often considered one of the world’s healthiest foods, sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber.
A 100 g serving of sweet potato provides 283% of the RDA for vitamin A.
Vitamin A helps maintain healthy vision, boosts immune function, and can reduce inflammation.
Sweet potatoes get their purple color from a type of flavonoid called anthocyanins. Like Vitamin A, anthocyanins can reduce inflammation. They are also antioxidants.
For maximum benefits, it’s best to avoid roasting sweet potatoes. Steam or boil them instead. Research shows cooking sweet potatoes in this way allows the anthocyanins to retain maximum potency.
Spirulina is a blue-green algae that’s sometimes said to be the most powerful superfood on the planet. Pound for pound, spirulina provides more protein than you would get by eating red meat.
Also rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals; spirulina contains all the essential fatty acids your body requires.
Research shows this superfood lowers blood pressure and prevents dangerous plaque from building up in the arteries.
Spirulina first caught public attention when NASA used it to nourish astronauts in space. This helped it to become a superfood with “universal” appeal.
Small but powerful, flax seeds are crammed full of dietary fiber, antioxidants, B vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids. They also deliver goodly amounts of magnesium, thiamine, phosphorous, and manganese.
Flax seeds are good for reducing inflammation, may improve brain function, and might also offer protection from diabetes.
If you want to use flax seeds to grow big and strong you won’t need to take many. A few teaspoons a day is all it takes. You can add the seeds to oatmeal, granola, hummus, and many other foods. The only limits are the ones imposed by your imagination.
Another alternative is to take doses of flaxseed oil from a teaspoon or in capsule form.
Tomatoes are a cheap and readily-available superfood that can be enjoyed in numerous ways. They are also stupidly easy to grow. You don’t need green fingers, nor do you need luck. All you need is the confidence to give it a go.
A great source of Vitamins C and K, tomatoes provide potassium, folate, and antioxidants too.
One of the antioxidants in tomatoes is called lycopene. It’s the pigment responsible for giving the fruit its distinctive red color.
Consuming lycopene may be a good way to try and naturally lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Some research suggests it might also be capable of slowing prostate growth and preventing hardening of the arteries.
There are several different types of lentils. Red, green, and black are just three. All of them are incredibly good.
A good source of protein and dietary fiber, lentils also provide respectable amounts of iron, Vitamin B6, potassium, and magnesium.
A 100 g serving of boiled lentils contains 20 g of complex carbohydrate. That makes lentils very good for supplying long-lasting energy and, because they are a complex carb, they are less likely to cause the blood sugar to spike.
Although they are not one of the more trendy superfoods on the market, lentils remain one of the best. They are also one of the best superfood options for penny-pinching misers and cash-strapped students.
Cantaloupes are not one of the better looking melons but, beneath that rough exterior, there lies a fleshy heart of gold.
The fruit is very good for aiding hydration and a single cup of cantaloupe flesh provides the full RDA of vitamins A and C, both of which are good for the skin.
Cantaloupes are also rich in potassium and provide a number of other important vitamins and minerals. They are also naturally sweet and work well alongside other superfood fruits, such as papaya and avocado, in a highly nutritious fruit salad.