First thing’s first. What are superfoods? Are they even a thing? Are we talking about a group of fruits and veggies that wear costumes and fight crime? The answer, tragically, is no, (though we’d totally watch that movie.)
To some extent, though, they are no less mythical as technically there’s no such nutritional classification as a “superfood.” The term was made up for marketing purposes and has been used to describe a number of different foods throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. As such, there’s not a lot of agreement on which foods are truly super and which are mere mortals.
So, we’ve done the hard work for you and here to tell you which superfoods we think really fit the bill!
Often lists of superfoods might include an exotic berry and fruit du jour, such as the acai berry. While these (often more expensive) fruits are plenty healthful, studies indicate they generally don’t provide any health benefits that you don’t already get from the good ol’ blueberry, and other berries like raspberries and blackberries.
Almost any list of superfoods you’re going to find will include blueberries right near the top. There’s a reason for that. Rich in vitamins, antioxidants, fiber and flavonoids, which may reduce the risk of heart disease, blueberries are a flavorful, versatile little fruit that pack a real superfood punch.
We’re maybe cheating a little bit here by including the broader category of legumes, which include everything from beans to lentils to peanuts to green peas. But they’re all pretty laudable recipients of the superfood label, thanks to B vitamins, minerals, proteins and more. Eating beans and legumes as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle plan may play an important role in the prevention and management of many health conditions.
Sweet potatoes are more than just their sweet, starchy taste – they will provide you with lots of great nutrients like potassium, fiber and vitamins A and C.
People have been telling you to eat your greens since you were little, so it’s probably not a big shock that dark, leafy greens are one of the top superfoods that basically everyone can agree on. Leafy greens like kale, spinach, Swiss chard and collard greens are wonderful sources of nutrients like vitamin C, magnesium, zinc, iron, calcium, folate and fiber.
Salmon There’s nothing fishy about the health benefits of one of the top superfoods of the deep blue sea. Salmon is a source of potassium, B vitamins, protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Plus, we think it goes on eggs benedict just swimmingly.
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds can offer an alternate source of protein and heart-healthy fats which make them particularly super superfoods for vegans and vegetarians. Remember that nuts like walnuts and pecans are a little more calorically dense than you might think, so don’t go overboard as you explore our collection of great nut recipes.
Come fall, dishes featuring pumpkins might be an important part of your recipe repertoire anyway! Good thing too, as pumpkin is a source of vitamins and minerals like iron, zinc, vitamin C and beta carotene. And if you think your options for cooking with this superfood are limited solely to pumpkin pies and pastries, think again! My Food and Family’s pumpkin recipes feature great soups, pasta bowls and lasagna!
Good news! If you’re a millennial then you already like avocados and don’t need any extra convincing to eat them! We spread them on our toast. It’s the law. But if you’re curious if you’re getting any nutritional benefit out of this tasty little fruit, we’ve got good news there too! Rich in vitamins and nutrients, avocado is particularly beneficial because of the presence of healthy, monounsaturated fats.