If you’ve been paying attention to diet and nutrition news over the past few years, you’ve no doubt heard the word “superfood” tossed around a good bit, but you may not be entirely sure what a superfood is or why you should care. Basically, a superfood is any food that’s very nutrient-dense and very good for your health and overall wellbeing. Kale is a popular superfood, but not all superfoods are leafy vegetables. Here are a few that you should start adding to your diet right now.
Salmon is well known for its protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are great for keeping your blood pressure low, improving memory and brain function, and helping your overall heart health. Wild salmon in particular is known for being very lean, low in bad fats, and high in protein and good fats for better all-around health.
Blueberries are very rich in vitamin C, flavonoids, antioxidants, and other nutrients. They’re not only a great source of vitamins and nutrients, though – they’re also packed with ellagic acid, which is associated with protection against cancer and high blood pressure. Blueberries may also fight the development of cataracts, so eat your blueberries for better vision!
Half a cup of lentils contains eight to nine grams of protein, and they’re extremely high in fiber, as well. With these two major nutrients, lentils are as nutritious as beans, if not more so, and they have a major advantage in that they take only 15 minutes to half an hour to prepare. Plus, they don’t need to be soaked before you cook them, too.
Looking for an affordable source of good fats, protein, vitamin E, and zinc? Look no further than everyone’s favorite childhood snack – peanut butter! To get the most out of your peanut butter with less sugar and preservatives, go for natural peanut butter with no partially hydrogenated oils.
Eggs are simple, common, and inexpensive, but they’re kind of an unsung hero of the superfood world. Egg whites are full of protein, and the yolks are full of lutein, vitamin D, and xeanthanin. Want to lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration? Eat a serving of eggs a day. Plus, a single large egg only has 70-80 calories, so you won’t use up all of your daily calories on breakfast.
Beets make a delicious addition to almost any salad, and they’re full of antioxidants, fiber, folate, calcium, and magnesium. You can buy pickled beets from the grocery store for easy addition to any meal, or you can get them raw and add roasted or grilled beets with sweet potatoes as a side for dinner entrees.
Green tea has tons of catechins (antioxidants), and it isn’t steamed or fermented like black tea, so its nutrients remain largely intact. They’re known for helping with cancer prevention and for boosting cardiovascular health, as well.
While they don’t have a huge dose of any one particular vitamin or mineral, apples have a good mix of nutrients, and they’ve been associated with a number of benefits for heart health. It’s been shown that people who eat two apples per day for a year are significantly less likely to suffer from heart disease than those who neglect the old “an apple a day” saying.
So what do you think? Are you surprised by how common some of these superfoods are? Superfoods don’t have to be ultra-rare or expensive – they just have to be ultra-healthy. All of these are great additions to just about any diet to boost your intake of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients for better health.