Anyone who is concerned about the foods she or he eats and overall health has probably heard of superfoods at one time or another. Foods that make this list usually have a high nutrient content, are believed to offer one or more health benefits, and have little or no additives, artificial colors or flavors, saturated fat or other things most health-minded folks try to avoid. While the term superfood has been used in reference to everything from mackerel to quinoa, there is no legal or scientific definition of this word, which can lead to confusion and the potential for misleading marketing.
Salmon and mackerel have made the list, but most superfoods are plant-based whole foods that are touted as nutrient powerhouses that can defend us from an array of health issues, including heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and high cholesterol. Some examples of foods that have been placed in this category in recent years include beans and lentils, seeds and nuts, garlic, onions, spinach, sweet potatoes, broccoli, blueberries, oats, kale, black and green tea, yogurt and almost any green vegetable that comes to mind.
Since the term superfood can be thrown around rather carelessly, you may be wondering if it is really worth the effort to pay attention to new foods that are added to the list. Smart consumers use their own judgment and turn to experts when in doubt. You know that consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables is good for you. You probably also know that reducing meat consumption and regularly swapping it out for healthier protein sources – like beans and lentils – is a good idea. Common sense will help immensely when determining whether the latest food craze makes sense or is just a bit of creative marketing, but if you are not sure, a quick Internet search or a trip to your favorite health advocate’s website will probably turn up a quick answer to guide you.
Incorporating some of the best-known options that experts can agree on into your diet is simpler than it may seem. In fact, simply adding a flavorful salad to your diet once per day can significantly increase your superfood intake. Making a salad with spinach, broccoli, onions, kale, seeds, nuts and beans will take just a few minutes to prepare and does not require any specialty food items or fancy cooking skills. If you serve this salad with a side of quinoa and salmon as the main dish, you have a superfood spread that is nutritious and delicious.
To include even more superfoods in your diet, you can start each day with a bowl of steel cut oats or yogurt with a handful of blueberries. Since most superfoods are whole foods that can be found in the produce section of any grocery store, it is easy to include superfoods in your diet when you are at home or on the road.