It goes without saying that some foods are healthier than others. A leafy green salad is better for our bodies than a bowl of chips; A salmon filet with roasted veggies is much less inflammatory to the body than a double burger with cheese and a side of fries; Yogurt with berries is a less acidic treat to the body than a hot fudge sundae.
What are Superfoods?
Even among the healthiest foods, a few stand out as super healthy. The term ‘superfood’ is still fairly new and refers to foods that offer the maximum nutritional benefits for minimal calories. The true definition of a superfood is a whole food with high nutrient density, giving you more bang for your buck. Usually plant-based, they’re rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Since this term is still fairly new, there’s currently no standard criteria or approved list of superfoods. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, the best health foods possess at least three out of these four points:
- Good or excellent source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients
- High in phytonutrients and antioxidant compounds, such as vitamins A and E and beta carotene
- May help reduce risk of heart disease and other health conditions
- Readily available
Each superfood has different nutritional properties, but overall, they really help to improve bodily functions. For example, superfoods help reduce the risk of chronic illnesses like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. They also help scavenge free radicals, strengthen your immune system, increase energy, and feed your gut microbiome. They also help with outward beauty, increasing your glow with healthier hair, skin and nails.
What Foods Qualify As Superfoods?
- Dark Leafy Greens
High in vitamins, minerals, fiber
Add to salads, stews and your sandwich
High in phytochemicals, low in sugar
Top them onto your oatmeal or yogurt or blend into smoothie
- Green Tea
High in antioxidants, scavenge free radicals
Enjoy a matcha latte, add to a chocolate muffin batter, pour over ice and a squeeze of lemon for a refreshing afternoon pick-me-up
Complete protein high in folate, choline, iron
Make a veggie omelet or mix in with mashed pumpkin or (sweet potato) and a dash of vanilla or cinnamon, and enjoy a protein pancake topped with chopped walnuts and swirl of maple syrup
- Nuts & Seeds
Heart healthy fats, fiber and Vitamin E
Sprinkle them on top of your yogurt or oatmeal. Turn them into nut butters and spread them on fruit or toast
Add to savory protein dishes and stews, stir into warm milk with honey and ginger for a warm, comforting drink
Anti-inflammatory, improves cholesterol
Cook for dinner and eat leftovers on top of your salad or turn them into salmon burgers!
Supports the Immune System, Enhances Mood, Food for the Gut Microbiome
Add them to soups, salads and sautes; Mix in powder forms of reishi, chaga and cordyceps to your soups, smoothies, and oatmeal
Try These Healthy Superfood Recipes