Foods with high levels of vitamins and minerals are often called superfoods. Superfoods may also contain antioxidants, substances that prevent or delay cell damage and help prevent disease. Some people also claim that superfoods have incredible health benefits, such as lowering the risk of cancer, arthritis, and Alzheimers. It could just be good marketing—these extraordinary claims have yet to be supported by scientific research—but experts do agree that a nutritious diet is essential to maintaining a healthy weight and overall good health. At a minimum, superfoods are natural, unprocessed foods that can play a leading role in a nutritious and healthy diet.
Blueberries are a great source of antioxidants, potassium, and vitamin C. Blueberries are also a natural anti-inflammatory. Looking for something more exotic? Try açai, a small purple berry with high levels of antioxidants. Because it is native to South America, it is not usually found fresh here in the United States, so it is usually seen in smoothies and juices. Another option is goji berries, which are small, red-orange berries high in Vitamin C. Native to Asia, they are sold here dried or in powders and drinks.
Kale is the current star vegetable, packed with lutein, potassium, and vitamins A and K. It is served raw in salads and smoothies or sautéed with apples and onions. If kale is old news, try mustard greens, which are also high in vitamin A and C. Other trendy choices include seaweed, such as kelp used to roll sushi. Seaweed contains omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and magnesium.
Probiotics are “good” bacteria that assist in digestion. Yogurt is the most common source of probiotics, but they are also found in sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, and kefir.
Chia seeds are a hot new superfood because they contain fiber, omega fatty acids, calcium, and antioxidants. Yes, it’s the same seed that was used to grow a “Chia Pet,” but they can be mixed into granola and tossed into smoothies for a superfood nutrition boost.