Health gurus often speak of so-called “superfoods” that we should be including in our daily diets. But what is a “superfood?” Does it have superpowers? If we eat it, will it make us invincible? Unfortunately you will probably not need to invest in a cape, but incorporating these nutritional powerhouses into your diet will help you to maintain your weight, fight disease and live longer.
How will you know one of these “superfoods” the next time you’re in the grocery store? Don’t go looking for a big sign saying “Superfood here” with an arrow pointing down. You won’t find it. You’ll have to do your research or use our cheat sheet of 10 “superfoods” below. Some of them you may already eat (good for you!), but you may not have even heard of others. Why not be as brave as a superhero and try one of them?
1. Beets – Men’s Health says to “Think of beets as red spinach.” These red root vegetables are good sources of folate and betaine, which can lower your risk of developing heart disease. The natural red pigment in the beets has also been shown to fight cancer.
2. Blueberries – Blueberries have tons of antioxidants, which help your body protect itself from disease. They’re also high in potassium, vitamin C and fiber. Studies have also shown that blueberries may help protect against age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s.
3. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) – You’ll definitely be able to find quinoa at stores like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, but more and more grocery stores are stocking this protein packed food. According to the Seattle Times, quinoa “looks like a grain but is really the seed from a leafy plant closely related to spinach.” Quinoa provides iron, high levels of potassium and vitamin B. Vegetarians love quinoa because it is a complete protein.
4. Kefir – Sounds exotic, doesn’t it? Kefir is a fermented dairy product drink, kind of a cross between buttermilk and yogurt. Kefir is high in vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential to the absorption of calcium, it helps the immune system and protects against diseases like multiple sclerosis and hypertension.
5. Swiss Chard – This green, leafy vegetable looks similar to spinach, which is the stuff Popeye used to eat for his strength. According to Men’s Health, Swiss Chard has large amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect your retinas from the damage of aging.
6. Pumpkin Seeds – Remember when you were younger and carved jack-o’-lanterns every Halloween and then baked the seeds? Turns out not only are those seeds delicious but they’re also very nutritious. Pumpkin seeds are full of magnesium.
7. Salmon – This pink fish is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids health protect your heart and can also help lower cholesterol.
8. Low-fat or fat-free yogurt – Both of these have higher calcium levels than other dairy products. Yogurt is also a good source of protein and potassium.
9. Red Bell Peppers – These sweet peppers have eight times as much vitamin A, about three times as much Vitamin C and almost four times as many carotenoids as a green pepper, according to msn.com. Carotenoids have been known to prevent prostate cancer.
10. Avocados- This fruit is known for being high in fat, but the good news is that it’s good fat. Avocados are also a good source of MUFAs or monounsaturated fatty acids, which is the basis of the Flat Belly Diet. Avocados also are high in folate, vitamin E and oleic acid, which can lower cholesterol.