When you hear the word superfood, what comes to mind?
Superfoods are foods — mostly plant-based but also some fish and dairy — that are thought to be nutritionally dense and thus good for one's health.
Superfoods contain a variety of nutrients, such as antioxidants, which are thought to ward off cancer. They also have healthy fats, thought to prevent heart disease; fiber, thought to prevent diabetes and digestive problems; and phytochemicals — the chemicals in plants responsible for deep colors and smells, which can have numerous health benefits.
Though many foods could be described as super, it’s important to understand that there is no single food that holds the key to good health or disease prevention.
The avocado is one of the most nutrient-dense foods available. Ounce for ounce, they are among the richest in fiber, folate, potassium, vitamin E, and magnesium among all fruits.
Berries are a nutritional powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.
The strong antioxidant capacity of berries is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer and other inflammatory conditions.
Berries may also be effective in treating various digestive and immune-related disorders when used alongside traditional medical therapies
Whether you prefer them in salads or on top of pasta, tomatoes are loaded with lycopene, a plant nutrient that gives tomatoes their red color. It helps reduce inflammation and cell damage from sun exposure.
The nutrients has also been linked to many benefits, like keeping your heart healthy and protecting against strokes.
4. Dark Leafy Greens
They are an excellent source of nutrients including folate, zinc, calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin C and fiber.
They also contain high levels of anti-inflammatory compounds known as carotenoids, which may protect against certain types of cancer. Examples include kale, swiss chard and spinach.
Because the term "superfood" is not scientific, it can mislead consumers, prompting them to eat one kind of food over another. Instead, Hyde said she encourages her clients, many of whom are trying to lose weight, to eat everything in moderation. "When we label these foods as 'super' and 'healthy,' people think they can eat them in unlimited quantities," she said. "But you do have to be cautious of the amount you eat, because you can gain weight from eating too much healthy food."
Research has shown that the ideal diet is one that is largely plant-based, with a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthful animal products. Superfoods might be a good entry into healthy eating, and understanding the nutritional value of the food you eat can be enlightening, but there are lots of healthy foods out there to explore, even if no one is calling them "super."