Superfoods, a term you often hear, a category of food that will solve all health-related issues for us humans. But what are superfoods? Are they super? What about other fruits and vegetables? Should we ditch them and join the superfood wagon?
Let’s take a look into it.
What are Superfoods?
Superfoods is a non-medical term popularized in the media to refer to foods that can have health-promoting properties. So-called superfoods may have an unusually high content of antioxidants, vitamins, or other nutrients. As per some superfoods advocates, they help in reducing the risk of disease or improving any aspect of physical or emotional health.
Are they Super?
Nutritionally speaking, there is no such thing as a superfood. You get different nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants from different food that you eat daily, and you require all of them for healthy body functioning.
But some food items have dense nutrients and mineral concentration in them, and if eaten in combination with other food items, they will help us in multiple ways.
Since the term Superfood does not seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, it may be worth taking a closer look at some healthy options.
Here are 11 foods that may be worthy of the esteemed superfood title.
Love it or hate it, kale is definitely good for you, with lots of potassium, vitamins A and C and antioxidant phytochemicals. Part of what makes Kale so super is their potential to reduce your risk of chronic illnesses including heart disease and type 2 diabetes (1, 2).
Star of countless salads, spinach is not only rich in iron, but in folate and vitamins A and K as well. It also contains high levels of anti-inflammatory compounds known as carotenoids, which may protect against certain types of cancer (3).
Purple cabbage is a nutrient-rich vegetable linked to a variety of health benefits. These include reduced inflammation, a healthier heart, stronger bones, improved gut function, and perhaps even a lower risk of certain cancers. This vegetable is also incredibly versatile and one of the most cost-efficient ways to add beneficial antioxidants to your diet.
Microgreens are vegetables or herbs that are harvested just after they’ve sprouted and produced their first set of true leaves.
Despite their small size, they pack a nutritional punch, often containing higher nutrient levels than more mature vegetable greens. This makes them a good addition to any diet.
Brussels sprouts are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making them a nutritious addition to your diet.
They may also come with added health benefits, including the potential to reduce the risk of cancer, decrease inflammation, and improve blood sugar control.
Adding Brussels sprouts to a balanced diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains has the potential to make a major positive impact on your health.
Curcumin is the active compound in turmeric. It has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and is the focus of most research surrounding turmeric.
One drawback of using curcumin medicinally is that it’s not easily absorbed by your body, but its absorption can be enhanced by pairing it with fats like ghee or other spices such as black pepper.
Broccoli is one of the world’s most popular vegetables. It is easy to prepare and edible both raw and cooked. Broccoli is high in many nutrients, including a family of plant compounds called isothiocyanates, which may have numerous health benefits. It is also a decent source of fiber and higher in protein than most other vegetables.
If you’re looking for a health boost, consider adding this cruciferous vegetable to your diet today.
Ginger root contains antioxidants, such as gingerol, that may be responsible for many of the reported health benefits associated with this food. It may be effective for managing nausea and reducing pain from acute and chronic inflammatory conditions (13, 14, 15).
A newer addition to the superfood group, mushrooms have always been super healthy, if unassuming. They’re not plants, so they don’t have the phytonutrients of many other superfoods, but they are loaded with fiber, potassium, iron and B vitamins and virtually free of fat and cholesterol.
Another super feature of mushrooms is that agricultural waste products are used to grow them. This makes mushrooms a sustainable component of a healthy food system (22).
Moringa — also known as Moringa oleifera, the miracle, and drumstick tree — is a tree valued for its nutritious leaves and purported medicinal properties.
Native to Northwestern India, nearly every part of the plant has long been used in herbal medicine to treat more than 300 conditions (23).
Their anti-oxidative properties combined with their cellular-health protective properties make them a new ‘superfood’. They suppress the production of inflammatory enzymes and lower sugar levels. Make these a regular part of your diet to reap rich health benefits.
Tomatoes are the major dietary source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to many health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. They are also a great source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K.
Commercially grown tomatoes are harvested and transported while still green and immature. To make them red before selling, food companies spray them with artificial ethylene gas.
This process inhibits the development of natural flavor and may result in tasteless tomatoes (24).
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.