While all foods give you energy, some foods offer you a higher return on the calories you consume than others. When you consume these “superfoods,” you not only get the energy you need to get you through the day but additional nutrients that give you an added boost of health benefits.
If these superfoods are available to you and you can find creative, tasty ways to incorporate them into your diet, you can optimize your health.
We asked licensed dietitian and nutritionist, Arootah consultant Alesia New to share her expert opinion on some superfoods that will give you the most bang for your buck.
What Is a Superfood, Anyway?
“Superfoods” aren’t, nutritionally speaking, an official category of food. Rather, nutritionists and dietitians coined the phrase to describe some of the healthiest foods out there.
Superfoods stand out because of the rich number of nutrients they have in comparison to their low-calorie count. Additionally, some superfoods contain properties rarely found in other foods making them seem even more magical, such as:
- Improving heart health
- Supporting a strong immune system
- Preventing cancer
- Reducing inflammation
- Lowering cholesterol
Because of these properties, you can eat a small portion of many superfoods, and still obtain many nutrients from them. Some of these foods can be added as supplements to drinks or smoothies. Many of them taste incredible, while others have no taste at all.
Either way, adding more superfoods to your diet is a win-win.
8 Superfoods to Try
1. Wheat Germ
Wheat germ is the part of a wheat kernel often removed during wheat processing.
This superfood is packed with vitamins B and E. It also contains antioxidants that help prevent disease and is a good source of magnesium, zinc, thiamin, folate, potassium, and phosphorus.
Adding wheat germ into smoothies, yogurts, or granola, or even using it as a replacement for some bread products in cooking, will help you take advantage of this superfood’s properties.
Kiwi fruit is loaded with vitamin C, A, and E minerals. Their juicy green goodness also makes them a good source of potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, manganese, and even Vitamin B6.
By eating two kiwis, you surpass your daily recommended amount of vitamin C, which supports your immune system. Some researchers even claim that, in addition to fighting inflammation, kiwis can help treat cancer.
Salmon is incredibly rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, a healthy type of fat that can help reduce inflammation in your body.
If you have a taste for fishy dishes, you’ll be glad to know salmon is also a great source of protein, vitamins B-12 and D, Selenium, and vitamin B6 (which is essential for your nervous and immune systems.)
You can make salmon the centerpiece of a variety of dishes; plus, most doctors recommend eating some type of fish twice a week to get those Omega-3s.
4. Brazil Nuts
If you want a snack that can also help you relax and sleep better, consider picking up some Brazil nuts on your next Whole Foods run.
Brazil nuts contain magnesium, which helps regulate your nervous system and manage muscle contraction and relaxation. Magnesium is present in every cell in your body and your body needs it for energy creation and protein formation.
5. Tart Cherry Juice
Another superfood that improves sleep and has calming benefits is tart cherry juice. Cherry juice is rich in potassium and iron. It can help your body recover after a workout, fight inflammation, boost your immune system, and support weight management.
Tart cherry juice, though sour to the taste, is another superfood linked to fighting cancer. At the very least, drink up for a good night’s rest.
Passionflower has similar properties to some antianxiety medications, and you use it to combat anxiety. In some studies, researchers have used it to fight epilepsy, reduce menopause symptoms, and serve as an anti-inflammatory supplement.
Ashwagandha is a herb used in Ayurveda, an alternative form of medicine based on Indian principles of natural healing.
This small yellow flower is one of the most powerful superfoods out there and has been linked to enhanced athletic performances, improved mental health, and reduced stress and anxiety.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen — a plant that helps your body respond to stress, anxiety, and fatigue. Most adaptogens, such as Ashwagandha, can be added as a powder to many foods or beverages.
Blueberries are perhaps the most popular (and powerful) superfood available to us. They’re not only low in calories, but they also contain high levels of fiber, vitamins C and K, Manganese, and other nutrients.
Blueberries are also a superior antioxidant. Since they’re so tasty, many people don’t have an issue adding blueberries to their diet, but here’s a friendly reminder to stock up on them during your next grocery trip.
The Bottom Line
Although there’s no one food out there that’s going to change your life and health, some certainly hold more “superpowers” than others.
Consciously adding more superfoods into your diet can dramatically improve your mental and physical health. Laying the groundwork of healthy, balanced nutrition now can benefit you for years to come.
If you want some personalized guidance on creating healthy habits, an Arootah Coach can support you in making positive changes by identifying your challenges and helping you address them through self-accountability.
Do you have a favorite superfood? Share with us in the comments!