Best 10 Superfoods You Should Absolutely Add to Your Diet for a Healthy Lifestyle
Superfoods are a super popular trend nowadays. But what does a superfood mean and why all the hype around superfoods?
What are superfoods?
“Superfood” is a term used to describe foods that are nutrient-rich and can potentially have a positive effect on our health. Superfoods can for example help prevent diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, they can help reduce inflammation and protect the body from toxins. Some superfoods are really good allies for weight loss as well.
Superfoods don’t exist as a particular food group, superfood is more of a label earned by different fruits, vegetables, fish and dairy products that are considered to be good for our health.
Superfoods support our health and wellbeing because they are rich in antioxidants, healthy fats and fibers. Some examples of foods that are considered to be superfoods are blueberries, avocado, kale and salmon.
A healthy lifestyle starts with your diet. Consuming superfoods that are high in nutrients will provide your body with much-needed vitamins and minerals. This, together with regular exercise and a well-balanced diet can help you benefit from improved health.
What are the 10 best superfoods you should absolutely add to your diet?
Although superfoods are great, remember that moderation is key and that superfoods cannot replace a balanced diet.
Eating 4 avocados a day because they are a superfood and have excellent health benefits might not be such a good idea. Instead of concentrating on what superfoods to eat, it’s better to cultivate healthy food choices based on moderation and nutrition principles.
This way your body will have all the macronutrients it needs, in the right ratio.
Also, if you take certain medications such as blood thinners you should discuss with your doctor about adding superfoods to your diet.
Some superfoods such as blueberries and avocado contain Vitamin K and consuming them can affect blood clotting. Also, grapefruit can interact with medication so it’s always best to discuss dietary changes with your doctor.
Below are some superfoods that made it to our best 10 superfoods list:
Have you ever heard the saying “You can’t please everyone. You’re not an avocado.”? Well, it’s true and this is why avocado is totally worthy of the title “superfood” and managed to reach #1 in our top superfoods list.
Avocados are one of the most nutritious foods you can consume, they are rich in healthy fats, Vitamins C and K and potassium. They are considered one of the best fruits to support weight loss and they can help reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that consuming one avocado per day can lower LDL-C cholesterol levels. LDL-C can obstruct blood flowing freely through the arteries by depositing too much plaque on artery walls. The plaque can collapse the artery resulting in a blood clot that can lead to a heart attack.
Did you know that avocados are beneficial in improving eye health as well? They are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that have been shown to improve vision and to reduce the risk of developing cataracts.
There are numerous ways in which you can add avocados to your diet. You can consume avocados raw in salads and dressings or you can enjoy avocado on toast or in a smoothie. Try our Green Energy Smoothie recipe next time you feel your battery is low!
These tiny fruits are the definition of a superfruit. Blueberries contain vitamin C, vitamin K and anthocyanin, a strong antioxidant that gives them their blue colour. They are very good for maintaining a healthy heart, they can help you lose weight and are also very good in diabetes management.
Blueberries are among the richest fruits in antioxidants, protecting our bodies from the harmful free radicals responsible for aging and various diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease or cardiovascular diseases, among many others.
Eat blueberries as such if you want a quick healthy snack or combine them with yogurt and cereal for a wholesome breakfast. You can also blend them in a superfood smoothie with other delicious berries and avocado. Or you can enjoy them in waffles, pancakes, pies, muffins and other sweet treats.
Kale and other green leafy vegetables such as spinach, Brussels sprouts, arugula, bok choy and Swiss chard have gained a superstar status among superfoods. And they deserve this for sure.
Green leafy vegetables can help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. They are rich in nutrients such as Vitamin C, zinc, iron, calcium, folate, magnesium and fiber. Green leafy vegetables also contain quercetin, a bioflavonoid with strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. You will absolutely reap a lot of benefits from adding superfood greens to your diet.
To kale-ify your diet, try adding kale to smoothies, soups and salads. You can eat kale plain as well but many people don’t appreciate its taste. If you want a true superfood snack, you can stir-fry kale or bake it in the oven with olive oil and salt to make crispy kale chips.
The best superfoods list just cannot exist without grapefruit. This citrus fruit has a lot of benefits for our health, especially related to weight loss and immunity. Grapefruits are a great source of the 3 most important vitamins for immunity: vitamins A, C and E.
Add this immunity boost superfood to any smoothie to keep your immune system working to fight off viruses and infections!
Grapefruits contain fibers that increase the feeling of fullness. They have only a few calories, so they make for perfect diet snacks. Grapefruits are more than 80% water and are great for detox, helping the liver cleanse toxins from the body.
Grapefruit could help reduce the risk of developing kidney stones as well, thanks to the fruit’s citric acid content. Citric acid helps increase the pH and volume of urine, making the urinary system less favourable to the formation of kidney stones.
However, it’s best to be careful when you add grapefruit to your diet on a regular basis because many medications have proven to interact with grapefruit or grapefruit juice, such as thyroid medications, antidepressants and statins.
Salmon is one of the top nutritious superfoods on this list. Salmon is a good source of healthy fats, protein as well as potassium, selenium and B vitamins. Salmon is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA which are key to promoting good health by reducing inflammation. Inflammation is believed to be the cause of many chronic diseases including cancer and diabetes.
Omega-3 fatty acids are considered “essential” because the body cannot produce them so they must come from the diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are associated with improved brain function, neurological health and a lower risk of developing heart disease.
The only thing you should be concerned about when it comes to eating salmon and seafood in general is the possible contamination with pollutants and heavy metals. It’s advisable to limit your consumption of seafood to one or two servings per week.
6. Açaí Berries
Açaí berries are the fruit of the Amazonian palm tree found in countries like Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador. They are part of the immunity booster superfoods because of their high vitamin C content. Açaí berries are super nutritious and rich in fiber, protein, healthy fats, vitamins A, C and E, iron, calcium, potassium and sodium.
Açaí berries contain anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants that have anti-aging benefits. Anthocyanins are effective at protecting the body against free radicals that cause premature aging and the deterioration of skin, hair and eye health. Anthocyanins are also known to help reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol, improving cardiovascular health.
There are so many ways in which you could include açaí berries in your diet. You can either consume them raw if they are fresh or you can add them to smoothies, juices and fruit purees if they are frozen or available in powder form. You can also add them to various desserts like waffles and ice cream or you can treat yourself to an “açaí bowl” - blend them with banana and a bit of water and enjoy the puree with honey, muesli, coconut chips and a dash of chocolate.
Before starting to consume açaí berries it’s best to check with your doctor if they are safe for you. Some of the side effects of açaí berries are allergies (if you’re allergic to dates you should avoid açaí berries) and gastrointestinal problems. Also, if you are on blood-thinning medications like warfarin you shouldn’t consume açaí berries because they can further thin the blood which can cause heavy bleeding.
7. Red grapes
Red grapes are available for consumption throughout the year which makes them one of the most accessible and popular superfoods. We can enjoy consuming them fresh as an innocent delicious snack or in juices, jams and wine.
Red grapes have earned their superfood label because of their antioxidant properties and rich nutrient content. They are packed with nutrients like iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, selenium and vitamins A, B6 and C.
One of the main reasons you should add red grapes to your diet is to support better heart health. Resveratrol, an antioxidant found in the skin and seeds of red grapes plays an important role in protecting the heart, lowers cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of blood clots.
This blue-green algae is one of the most in-demand superfoods worldwide and has gained mainstream popularity due to its unique properties. Spirulina is available in tablet or powder form. Spirulina powder can easily be added to smoothies, salads or soups. One of the main positive health benefits of spirulina is linked to detox. The chlorophyll found in spirulina helps the body eliminate toxins from the bloodstream, ensuring better health.
Spirulina is an excellent source of protein, vitamins and antioxidants. Thanks to its high protein content spirulina is a great dietary supplement for vegetarians and vegans. The main active component in spirulina is an antioxidant called phycocyanin, which also gives the algae its blue-green colour. Antioxidants protect our bodies against oxidative damage that can cause chronic inflammation, leading to cancer, type 2 diabetes and other chronic conditions.
Spirulina is known for its ability to help strengthen the immune system and boost metabolism. If you add spirulina to your diet you will benefit from increased energy as a result of a higher metabolic rate. You will also be more likely to burn more calories, shedding weight more easily.
Turmeric is a bright yellow spice used in Indian cuisine that has become a very popular superfood in recent years due to its unique medicinal benefits. The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin.
Curcumin has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant as well as anti-carcinogenic effects. Its anti-inflammatory properties are so strong that curcumin could be a natural alternative to anti-inflammatory medications.
According to a study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, curcumin is effective at blocking the activation of the NF-kB, a protein complex that constitutes one of the most important factors to cause inflammation in the body, leading to many chronic diseases.
Turmeric has become a top smoothie ingredient, especially when combined with orange and mango. Try adding ¼ or ½ teaspoons of turmeric to your smoothies on a regular basis for an immunity boost.
It’s important to note that curcumin is not easily absorbed by the body so you should consume it together with fats and other spices such as black pepper in order to ensure better absorption. Another important thing you should be aware of is that turmeric has a low curcumin content. Adding turmeric to your diet is useful, but if you fully want to benefit from all its medicinal properties you should have a look at curcumin supplements.
10. Dark chocolate
We saved the most delicious superfood for last ;) When trying to answer the question “What is the best superfood snack?” many people will be relieved to hear that a possible answer could be chocolate. We are referring of course to dark chocolate, without any milk or sugar and with a cocoa percentage of at least 60%. Eating dark chocolate can do wonders for our mood, especially if we are experiencing a lot of stress and pressure in our daily lives.
Dark chocolate has a lot of antioxidants such as polyphenols and flavanols and minerals that are vital for a good metabolism: iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and copper. The antioxidants found in dark chocolate help our bodies fight against chronic inflammation which damages our cells and tissues, causing serious health conditions like cancer, arthritis and type 2 diabetes.
Eating dark chocolate on a regular basis can improve brain function, helping prevent conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. The flavanols present in dark chocolate help our brains respond better to injury and disease. The higher percentage the cocoa content of dark chocolate, the more flavanols it contains, maximizing our health benefits.
You sure know how to add more of this superfood to your diet :).
Adding some of these foods to your diet on a regular basis can have beneficial effects on your health. However, you should focus on the bigger picture when it comes to a healthier lifestyle. Instead of relying only on superfoods to miraculously improve certain aspects of your health, aim for a well-balanced diet paired with regular exercise that will give your body everything it needs to thrive.