Did you know that poor nutrition is one of the four main risk factors that tend to lead to chronic diseases?
Taking vitamins and minerals as supplements is no substitute for the health benefits of a healthy, whole food diet.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be a drag, though. These superfoods are delicious and nutritious, and they’ll help you live your best life.
Let’s check out the ultimate superfoods list to help you eat better and feel better!
There are a lot of nutritional benefits to including dark green leafy vegetables in your diet. Some of the nutrients you can get from these green superfood vegetables are zinc, folate, iron, calcium, vitamin C, magnesium, and fiber.
Containing high levels of carotenoids, which are anti-inflammatory compounds, dark leafy greens might help protect you from certain types of cancer. They also have the potential to reduce the risk of a variety of chronic illnesses, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
There are a wide variety of dark green leafy vegetables that you can incorporate into your diet. Some of the most well-known and widely available are:
- Collard Greens
- Turnip Greens
- Swiss Chard
While the list of reasons to eat these greens is nearly endless, not everyone loves the taste of them. To help mask the bitterness of some of these greens, consider adding them to smoothies, stir-fries, curries, and soups.
These naturally sweet treats are superfoods in their own right. Containing antioxidants, fiber, minerals, and vitamins, you can feel about snacking on berries.
Since they have such a strong antioxidant capacity, eating berries is associated with reducing the risk of cancer, heart disease, and a number of other inflammatory conditions.
Berries you should consider adding to your diet are:
In particular, blueberries are very high in anthocyanin pigments. This is what contributes to their gorgeous color, but it also is a powerful antioxidant that might help lower the risk for degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s as well as heart disease and diabetes.
Berries are a versatile food that can be eaten as a dessert, as a part of your breakfast, in a superfood smoothie, or on a salad.
Protein is an essential part of any healthy diet. Every single cell of your body includes protein.
Your body builds and repairs tissues using protein, and your nails and hairs are primarily made of it. If that isn’t enough to convince you of its importance, your body also uses protein to make hormones, enzymes, and other essential chemicals. As a vital building block of muscles, cartilage, bones, blood, and skin, protein is a critical macronutrient.
Macronutrients are components that the body needs relatively large amounts of to function properly. The other two macronutrients are carbohydrates and fat. Micronutrients, on the other hand, are nutrients that the body only needs small amounts of, such as minerals and vitamins.
Your body doesn’t store protein, unlike carbohydrates and fat. This means that your body doesn’t have a battery of protein it can call upon when it needs more. Therefore, incorporating protein into your daily diet is essential.
All that being said, fish is an excellent source of protein.
Salmon is a highly nutritious fish to eat, as it includes B vitamins, protein, healthy fats, selenium, and potassium. As one of the best natural sources for omega-3 fatty acids, eating salmon as a part of your diet can help reduce inflammation.
Unfortunately, because of the possibility of environmental pollutants making their way into fish, it’s necessary to limit the amount of fish you eat each week. It’s recommended to eat about two to three servings of fish each week. Pregnant women should look more specifically into which types of fish are safe for them.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are an awesome source of vegetarian protein, fiber, and healthy fats. In addition, they contain various plant compounds that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help protect you from oxidative stress.
There are so many delicious nuts and seeds that you can include in your diet, for example:
- Brazil nuts
- Macadamia Nuts
- Peanuts (which are technically a legume, but many people categorize them as nuts)
- Pumpkin seeds
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Sunflower seeds
Nuts are easy to include in your diet. You can have them as a snack, add them to oatmeal, throw them on a stir-fry, or sprinkle them on top of a salad. There are also lots of different nut-butters that can be used to make sauces, added to smoothies, or eaten on toast.
Is all this healthy-talk making you wish you going through the McDonald’s drive-thru? Don’t do it! Check out these eight stunning realities of fast food instead.
Any healthy diet will include a variety of different nutrient-dense foods. While the four mentioned above are a good start, here are some other superfoods you’ll want to weave into your diet.
Some people believe green tea is the healthiest beverage you can drink on the entire plant. Packed full of antioxidants, drinking green tea regularly has the potential health benefits of:
- Fat loss
- Improved brain function
- Lowering the risk of heart disease
- Protecting against cancer
People have been drinking tea since at least 2700 B.C. when the origination of drinking green tea began in China.
Green tea also contains a bunch of different healthy bioactive compounds, such as polyphenols and epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). EGCG is one of the primary compounds that gives this plant its medicinal properties. Research has shown that green tea might also help reduce bad breath, protect the brain from aging, help prevent type 2 diabetes, and might even help you live longer.
Looking for more potentially fat-burning foods? Check out this list.
Are you looking for an affordable superfood? Eggs are considered to be one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the entire world, and they’re really impressively inexpensive.
Both the yolk and the whites of an egg are rich in proteins, vitamins, and minerals. In the yolk, you’ll also find fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins D and E, cholesterol, and essential fatty acids.
If the word cholesterol listed among positive components of eggs made you cringe, don’t worry. While there has been a lot of hoopla over the years, accusing eggs of being high-cholesterol foods, we now know that the cholesterol found in food doesn’t have nearly as much of an effect on our blood cholesterol than our intake of saturated fats does.
What nutritional compounds do you get when you eat eggs? Here’s a few of them:
- High-quality protein
- Vitamins A, D, E, and K
- Vitamins D, B6, and B12
Both betaine and choline help promote the health of your heart.
You should know that the quality of your eggs will reflect their nutritional content. Have you ever had a truly farm fresh egg, where the chickens have a healthy diet and free-range? You’ll notice that the yolks are much more orange, and this is reflective of an increase in nutritional density.
We can’t all have chicken coops in our backyard to supply our own eggs, but you’ll want to be mindful of where your eggs come from. Consider buying local, free-range, organic eggs.
Garlic has been used both in the kitchen and for medicinal uses for many centuries. There is some research that suggests that garlic might be effective in reducing both blood pressure and cholesterol. It also might help support the functioning of your immune system.
Closely related to leeks, onions, and shallots, garlic is an awesome source of vitamin C, manganese, vitamin B6, fiber, and selenium.
Have you ever heard anyone talk about the Mediterranean diet? There are studies that suggest that people who either follow a Mediterranean diet or that live in the Mediterranean region have a lower risk of obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions.
Olive oil is a mainstay of the Mediterranean diet, and it’s a superfood in its own right. It’s possible that adding olive oil to your diet might reduce your risk of illnesses like diabetes and heart disease as well as reduce inflammation.
Containing vitamins E and K, which are antioxidants, olive oil might help protect your cells from damage due to oxidative stress.
Kefir is a superfood drink that contains calcium, protein, potassium, B vitamins, and probiotics. A fermented beverage made from milk, kefir is similar to yogurt but it has a thinner consistency and tends to have more probiotic strains.
Adding any fermented foods to your diet is a good idea. Whether it be kimchi, sauerkraut, or kefir, fermented foods come with a number of health benefits. These include improving your digestion, lowering your cholesterol, lowering you blood pressure, and reducing inflammation.
If you’ve ever marveled at the bright yellow color of a delicious curry, you’ve likely had turmeric.
The active compound in this ginger-relative is called curcumin. With powerful anti-inflammatory effects, some studies show that curcumin may help treat and prevent a variety of chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
There is also some evidence to suggest that it might help with pain reduction and wound healing.
When you add turmeric to your diet, it’s important to pair it with fats and black pepper. Doing so makes it much easier for your body to absorb curcumin.
Ginger has been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes for a long time. Containing a variety of antioxidants, one of which is gingerol, ginger may help reduce pain from inflammatory conditions and manage nausea. It might also reduce the risk of developing diseases such as certain cancers, dementia, and heart disease.
Ginger is great in Asian-inspired recipes and also delicious as a tea with honey and lemon.
Avocado is a nutritionally-dense fruit that contains fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. The fats in avocados, as in olive oil, are monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), which have been linked to reducing inflammation.
A number of studies have shown that eating avocados can help reduce your risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.
The term seaweed refers to certain sea vegetables that are rich in nutrients. While seaweed most often shows up in Asian cuisines, all around the world the popularity of eating sea vegetables is growing due to their health benefits.
In seaweed, you’ll find:
- Vitamin K
- Bioactive compounds
Including seaweed into your diet might help you reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Not all mushrooms are created equal, and some varieties are much more nutritionally dense than others. In mushrooms, there are several antioxidants that you can’t find in most other foods, potassium, vitamin A, and fiber. Because of the presence of these unique antioxidants, mushrooms might help prevent certain types of cancers and reduce inflammation.
One awesome thing about mushroom production is that they utilize waste products from agriculture to grow. This makes them an incredibly sustainable food source.
The humble sweet potato are filled with tons of nutrients, like fiber, potassium, and Vitamins A and C. You’ll also find them loaded with cartenoids, which is an antioxidant that might help reduce the risk of certain cancers.
Even though sweet potatoes are, well, sweet, they don’t lead to a blood sugar spike like other sweet foods. They actually can help to regulate blood sugar levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
Use This Superfoods List to Update Your Diet
Depending on your current diet, incorporating this superfoods list might feel like a big shift. You don’t have to totally upend your diet right away, rather you can gradually start experimenting with new, healthier foods.
Did this superfoods list pique your interest in learning more about all things health and wellness? Check out the rest of our lifestyle blog for more awesome articles!