We hear a lot these days about “superfoods” – fruits, veggies, and grains that are supposed to offer borderline magical health benefits.
But have you ever noticed that these so-called “superfoods” are always expensive? This is not a coincidence.
The phrase “superfood” can be misleading, which is why you rarely hear it said by nutritionists and other experts. There isn’t a single food out there that can reverse the effects of a poor diet. But many “super foods” are labeled that way to boost sales.
As California dietitian Suzanna Smith explains, “There’s just not enough substantiated evidence that there are superfoods, that these foods solve the problems they say they’re going to solve.”
But, there are several foods that stand out for their nutritional content and health benefits. But before we get to the real superfoods, here are a few that don’t deserve the label: gluten free breads (unless you have celiac disease), orange juice, coconut oil, chia seeds, sweet potatoes, almonds, açaí berries, and eggs.
It’s not that these foods are bad, they just aren’t “super.” If you don’t like them, there’s no reason to buy them or add them to your diet.
Conversely, here are 10 foods that you should include in your diet:
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable high in essential vitamins and minerals including C, K, B1, B2, B3, B6, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. It is low in calories, a great source of fiber, and is a much better source of vitamin C than orange juice. Broccoli also contains sulforophane, which is being studied for its cancer-fighting properties.
Coffee’s reputation has flip-flopped many times over the years. It was once compared to gambling and promiscuity. Today it is being advertised as a “superfood.”
Black coffee (without cream or sugar) is proven to boost mental performance and lower your risk for a variety of diseases and cancers.
Turns out the “apple a day” saying does hold some truth. Apples are a great source of fiber that also provide polyphenols, which have been linked to lower blood pressure and stroke risk. Apples have also been shown to promote weight loss, improve heart, brain, and gut health, lower your risk of type 2 diabetes, fight asthma, and help prevent cancer.
#7 Green Tea
Green tea has been consumed in China and India for hundreds of years. But it has only recently been incorporated into American culture.
Green tea contains antioxidants, polyphenols, and cancer-fighting catechins. Green tea has also been shown to boost your metabolic rate by up to 4% (promoting weight loss), reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s, ease skin diseases including psoriasis, and improve memory.
Unfortunately, green tea is the only item on this list that I can’t stomach, but I’m working on it.
#6 Black Beans
A favorite among cultures with noticeable longevity, black beans are high in B vitamins, fiber, iron, and polyphenols. Black beans and other legumes can lower your risk of heart disease and overall mortality.
#5 Dark Chocolate
Studies suggest that small amounts of chocolate can lower cholesterol, help stabilize blood sugar, improve circulation, and boost mood. Let’s be clear, we’re talking about super dark chocolate that’s 70% or more cocoa.
#4 Red Wine
Just like coffee, there has been much debate over the years whether red wine is actually “healthy.” Red wine contains a micronutrient called resveratrol, which may ease inflammation and lower blood pressure.
Keep in mind that most studies on red wine have been performed on mice, not humans.
Salmon contains DHA and EPA, two omega-3 fatty acids that improve blood vessel health and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Studies suggest salmon may also decrease your risk of Alzheimer’s by more than 30%.
A trending ingredient in smoothies and nutrient shots, turmeric is a powder from the Curcuma longa plant. Turmeric’s biggest claim to fame is its anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric also has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties and may help improve skin conditions including acne, eczema, and psoriasis.
Perhaps one of the only real “superfoods” is the blueberry, which has been proven to lower your risk of heart disease, ease joint and muscle pain, and reduce oxidative stress.
For athletes, blueberries can reduce stress and inflammation after workouts. According to experts, consuming a half-cup of fresh or frozen blueberries per day is enough to significantly boost longevity.
Do you love or hate the foods on this list? Do you have any tips or recipes to incorporate these foods into your diet? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!