Good health is best supported by eating a variety of nutritious foods every day. Including some or all of the foods on this list as part of a balanced diet can help your overall health and even prevent your precious life from acquiring certain chronic diseases.
Speaking in nutritional terms, there is no such thing as a superfood.
The term was coined for marketing purposes to influence food trends and sell products to the masses.
Though many foods could be described as super, it’s important to comprehend that there is no single food that holds the key to good health or disease prevention.
But since the term “superfood” doesn’t seem disappearing anytime soon, it may be worth taking a closer look at some healthy options.
Check out some foods that may take the title of the esteemed superfood.
Dark Leafy Green vegetables
Dark green leafy vegetables (DGLVs) are an impeccable source of nutrients including iron, magnesium, folate, zinc, calcium, vitamin C and Fiber.
Part of what makes DGLVs so super is their potential to reduce the risks of chronic illnesses including heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
They also contain high levels of anti-inflammatory compounds known as carotenoids, which may protect against certain types of cancer.
Some well-known DGLVs include:
- Swiss chard
- Collard greens
- Turnip greens
Some DGLVs also have a bitter taste and not everyone enjoys them plain. You can get creative with your dishes by including them in your favourite salads, soups, smoothies and curries.
Berries are a nutritional powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.
The strong antioxidant element of berries is linked with a reduced risk of cancer, heart diseases and other inflammatory conditions.
Berries may also be effective in treating various digestive and immune-related disorders when used alongside traditional medical therapies.
Some of the most common berries include:
Whether you enjoy them as part of your breakfast, as a dessert, on a salad or in a smoothie, the health benefits of berries are as versatile as their culinary applications.
Originated from China, green tea is a light caffeinated beverage with a variety of medicinal properties.
Green tea, rich in antioxidants and polyphenolic compounds, have strong anti-inflammatory effects. Some of the strongly present antioxidants in green tea is the catechin epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG.
EGCG mainly provides green tea with its stark ability to protect against chronic diseases.
Research also indicates that the combination of catechins and caffeine in green tea may make it an powerful tool for weight loss in some people.
Eggs have always been second guessed in the nutrition world due to their high cholesterol content, but they remain one of the top choices in healthy foods for society.
Whole eggs are rich in many nutrients including B vitamins, choline, selenium, vitamin A, iron and phosphorus.
They’re also loaded with high-quality protein.
Eggs contain two potent antioxidants, zeaxanthin and lutein, which are known to protect vision and eye health.
Despite the doubts, research shows that no measurable increase in heart disease or diabetes risk from eating up to 6–12 eggs per week.
In fact, eating eggs could increase “good” HDL cholesterol in some people, which to the contrary can lead to a favourable reduction in heart disease risk.
Legumes, or pulses, are a class of plant foods made up of beans (including soy), lentils, peas, peanuts and alfalfa.
They’re known as a superfood because they’re filled with nutrients and play a role in prevention of many diseases.
Legumes are a rich source of B vitamins, various minerals, protein and fiber.
Research indicates that they offer many health benefits including improved type 2 diabetes management, as well as reduced blood pressure and cholesterol.
Eating beans and legumes regularly may also promote healthy weight maintenance, due to their ability to improve feelings of fullness.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are known for being highly rich in fiber, vegetarian protein and heart-healthy fats.
They also pack various plant compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which can protect against oxidative stress.
Research indicates that consuming nuts and seeds can have a protective effect against heart disease.
Common nuts and seeds include:
- Almonds, pistachios, walnuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts.
- Peanuts — technically a legume, but often considered a nut.
- Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds.
Interestingly, even though nuts and seeds are calorically dense, some types of nuts are linked to weight loss when included in a balanced diet.
Garlic is a plant food that is closely related to onions, leeks and shallots. It’s a good source of manganese, vitamin C, vitamin B6, selenium and fiber.
Garlic is a popular culinary ingredient that has been used for its medicinal benefits for centuries.
Research depicts that garlic may be effective in reducing cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as supporting immune function.
Achieving optimal health through food and nutrition is about more than focusing on one or two of the latest food trends.
Instead, good health is best supported by eating a variety of nutritious foods every day.
Including some, or all, of the foods on this list as part of a balanced diet can benefit your overall health and may prevent certain chronic diseases.