According to the Oxford Dictionary, superfoods can be defined as “a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.” There are many studies being done evaluating the powerful effects that food can have on health and confirming the extensive benefits that superfoods have to offer. Superfoods do so much more than just help you meet your vitamin and mineral needs or help you shed a few extra pounds when it comes time for swimsuit season. In fact, these foods can help you achieve better health, prevent chronic disease, and improve the way you feel day in and day out — and they’re some of the top anti-aging foods around. When combined with regular exercise and a balanced diet, adding a few of these top superfoods into your day can benefit many different aspects of your health. So, I wanted to share just a few of my favorite superfoods with you, and tell you some of their benefits.
Tiny but packed with nutrients, blueberries fit the superfoods definition to a T. Blueberries are brimming with disease-fighting antioxidants and phytochemicals, as well as plenty of vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese.
Best of all, these flavorful fruits are delicious and easy to enjoy as one of the best foods to lose weight. Use them to bring a hint of sweetness to salads, add them to baked goods or even enjoy them alone as a healthy snack.
Almonds are one of the most nutrient-rich nuts available. They are among the best non-dairy sources of calcium, providing more milligrams of calcium per serving than any other nut, and are also high in vitamin E and protein.
You can enjoy these nuts raw as a tasty snack or try roasting them up for a warm treat on a cold day. Just remember that almonds are high in calories, so be sure to keep your portion size in check — it is definitely possible to have too much of a good thing.
3. Green Tea
Green tea is a type of tea made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which is the same plant used to make other types of tea like black, white and oolong tea. Unlike other tea varieties, however, green tea undergoes very little processing, which helps to maximize its content of antioxidants and polyphenols.
Research shows that green tea can help boost metabolism, improve oral hygiene, enhance insulin sensitivity and decrease several risk factors for heart disease.
To get started, simply start brewing a couple of cups per day to slowly incorporate this superfood into your daily routine. You can also opt for other green tea products instead, such as matcha, which delivers a concentrated punch of antioxidants in each serving.
Eggs have historically been a controversial topic in the nutrition world due to their high cholesterol content, but they remain one of the healthiest foods. Whole eggs are rich in many nutrients including B vitamins, choline, selenium, vitamin A, iron and phosphorus.They’re also loaded with high-quality protein. Eggs contain two potent antioxidants, zeaxanthin and lutein, which are known to protect vision and eye health.
Despite fears surrounding egg consumption and high cholesterol, research indicates no measurable increase in heart disease or diabetes risk from eating up to 6–12 eggs per week. In fact, eating eggs could increase “good” HDL cholesterol in some people, which may lead to a favorable reduction in heart disease risk. More research is needed to draw a definite conclusion.
Dark, leafy greens, like spinach, are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium, as well as several phytochemicals (chemicals made by plants that have a positive effect on your health). They also add fiber into the diet.
How to include them: Try varieties such as spinach, swiss chard, kale, collard greens, or mustard greens. Throw them into salads or sauté them in a little olive oil. You can also add greens to smoothies, soups and stews.
How Superfoods and Supplements Can Work Together
Superfoods and supplements go hand in hand and can help optimize overall health, bringing you benefits that go above and beyond what a nutritious and healthy diet can provide. In fact, some of these superfoods contain health-promoting compounds and nutrients like fiber, protein, heart-healthy fats and antioxidants that earn them spots as some of the best foods for weight loss and best fat-burning foods around.
Similarly, supplements often bring a burst of other important compounds that can sometimes be difficult to obtain from foods. Collagen, for example, is the most abundant protein in the body and is thought to help ease joint pain, improve skin elasticity and improve hair growth, making it one of the best superfoods for women. It’s also considered one of the best foods that help you lose weight, thanks to its protein content and amino acid profile. However, it’s found in very few sources in the diet, such as bone broth or powdered gelatin, which is why adding a supplement to your routine can be especially beneficial.
Of course, both superfoods and supplements should be used to complement a healthy, well-rounded diet rich in essential nutrients to have the maximum effect on health.
There are a wide range of foods that qualify as superfoods and can be incorporated into the diet in a number of different ways. Add a few of these foods into your daily routine along with a well-rounded diet and routine physical activity to get started on your journey to better health.