Look! It’s a bird. It’s a plane.
Pop in any grocery store and you’ll be sure to see foods labeled “Superfood”, but what exactly makes them super? Can they give you laser vision? Can they help you fly? Can they make you invisible? Not quite, but the health benefits will make you feel like you’re on top of the world.
Superfoods are considered to be nutritionally dense and incredibly beneficial to your health. They are typically plant-based but can also include some fish and dairy. According to the American Heart Association, there are no set criteria for determining what is and what is not a superfood, however, after reading this article, you will be able to better identify what may fall into the category of superfoods.
Superfoods contain nutrients like antioxidants, phytochemicals, fiber, and healthy fats. These nutrients are known to ward off cancer, prevent heart disease, prevent diabetes and digestive problems, as well as have numerous other health benefits. Some examples of foods considered to be superfoods include blueberries, kale, salmon, and acai. Superfoods provide maximum nutritional benefits for minimal calories.
Despina Hyde, a registered dietician with the weight management program at New York University's Langone Medical Center, said that “Consuming foods that are packed with nutrients (as many so-called superfoods are) is certainly a good idea, but the key to a healthy diet is to consume a variety of nutritious foods in the right quantities.”
Because no single superfood can offer all the nutrition, health benefits, and energy our bodies require, the US Dietary Guidelines recommend healthy eating patterns, “combining healthy choices from across all food groups — while paying attention to calorie limits.”
It doesn’t have to be challenging to include these superfoods in your diet either. Here are some quick tips on how to get more superfoods in your diet.
- By looking at the colors on your plate, you can figure out if you have enough antioxidants. If all the food is brown or beige, you probably need more antioxidants. Add foods with rich colors like kale, beets, and berries.
(Try Smart for Life’s superfood beet rich formula, 10 Reds Defense Supplement, which contains concentrated antioxidants that support weight loss goals and can help decrease your chance of infections and some types of cancer.)
- Sneak in shredded greens to soups and stir-fries, like swiss chard, collards, radish greens, spinach, and cabbages.
- Instead of eating beef and chicken all the time, switch it up with salmon or tofu.
- Easily add berries to oatmeal, cereal, salads, and baked goods.
- Make sure to eat a fruit or veggie every time you eat, including snack time. - Switch out your coffee every now and then for green or matcha tea.
- Add turmeric, cumin, oregano, ginger, clove, and cinnamon to your daily meals to boost the antioxidant content.
Be careful not to be misled. Because the term “superfood” is not scientific, it can sometimes confuse consumers and cause them to eat one food over another. Hyde suggests that if you’re trying to lose weight, eat everything in moderation. "When we label these foods as 'super' and 'healthy,' people think they can eat them in unlimited quantities, but you do have to be cautious of the amount you eat because you can gain weight from eating too much healthy food."
Research has proven that the ideal diet is mostly plant-based, with a wide variety of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and healthful animal products. If you don’t know much about healthy eating, start by learning which foods are considered to be superfoods, and understanding the nutritional value of foods. Remember that there are also lots of healthy foods out there to explore, even if no one is calling them “superfoods”! You can learn more about how to eat a healthy, balanced diet at smartforlife.ca/blogs/news.