You’ve heard the term “Superfood” before, but what does it mean? It sounds like the buzzwordiest hipster term, but superfoods are far more than just a dietary food du jour.
This article will discuss what superfoods are, and what superfoods you may want to incorporate into your diet.
What is a superfood?
A “superfood” is essentially any food which provides a high amount of micronutrients, to the point where the foods offer empirical health benefits. While superfoods can be low in calories (most fruits and vegetables that are considered superfoods often are), their importance is less in caloric content and more in sheer nutritional value.
Dense superfoods will often contain high amounts of fiber, monounsaturated fats, vitamins, and minerals. Many of these can be easily incorporated into your diet with little issue.
Like with any food, even superfoods must be eaten in moderation; many superfoods, such as nuts and fish, are often high in calories and can mitigate their own health benefits when eaten in too high a quantity.
When eaten in moderation, superfoods can aid in prevention of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and cancer.
What superfoods should I try?
As with exercise, a healthy diet works best with consistency. While the best way to ensure that you have the best diet would be to seek help from a medical professional, these foods work well as an introduction to superfoods.
Dark, Leafy greens
Greens often get a bad reputation as having a bad flavor. However, their health benefits cannot be overstated; dark greens (things like kale, arugula, spinach, chard, and collard greens) are loaded with vitamins and minerals, low in calories, and perfect for providing the base for a salad or entree.
If, however, you simply cannot stand the flavor of leafy greens (a shame, but some people legitimately hate the flavor of greens), you can incorporate your greens through other methods. Kale can be cooked into savory chips, most greens can be incorporated into soups, and greens can be tossed in with various fruits into a surprisingly-sweet smoothie. When ground up enough, they can even be thrown in with less-healthy fare, like macaroni and cheese, to give a health kick to an otherwise-unhealthy dish.
In spite of the negative reputation that fat may have, fat is an important part of a diet. Many vitamins are fat-soluble, and are best absorbed into the system when paired with a fat. Olive oil works well for this purpose; an excellent source of monounsaturated fat, as well as a source of vitamins K and E, olive oil, when used in conjunction with vinegar, can give a salad an extra flavor and serve as a pathway for all the vitamins in those dark, leafy greens to get to your system.
Olive oil works as an excellent butter replacement in most dishes you can imagine, thanks to its relatively-high smoke point. Don’t go overboard, of course; as it’s an oil, olive oil does contain quite a few calories, and must be used in moderation.
In-season blueberries are one of life’s sweetest pleasures. Tangy, sweet, versatile, and a pain in the neck to get out of clothing, blueberries provide a plethora of nutrients that aid the body in fighting cancer, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, inflammation, and even memory loss!
Perfectly fine as a snack, blueberries can be thrown into smoothies, mixed into yogurt and cereal, and even (if you’re feeling brave) thrown into a salad to add a sweet touch to a bitter salad.
While they may ripen far too quickly for some, avocados have so many health benefits, and add so much flavor, that they work well as a linchpin for a diet. High in healthy fats, fiber, and nutrients, avocados have a versatility that allows them to be in both savory and sweet dishes.
While most applications for avocados put them in salads and dips, they can be used as a replacement for other fats; one can find recipes that incorporate avocados into chocolate pudding, as one example!