Whether your new years resolution was to be healthier, or trying to keep your immune system well equipped, or simply looking to improve your wellbeing via a healthier diet, superfoods are great additions to your meals. Packed with various vitamins, minerals, proteins, antioxidants and often of great service not only to our gut, to our cognitive health, the physical functioning of our bodies, mental wellbeing and so forth.
A superfood is not a food group in itself, rather the name given to a particular food that are thought to be nutritionally dense, containing a number of health benefits, such as vitamins, healthy fats and so forth that make them good for one’s overall health. However, no single food can cover all your nutritional and health needs, so it is important that you incorporate your chosen superfoods into a balanced healthy diet across all the food groups. Superfoods can be incorporated for a boost of nutritional benefits.
The superfood list is extensive, and not all of them will suit your tastes or dietary requirements. Here are some of the most popular:
Berries are high in fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and so forth. Antioxidants have been linked to the reduced risk of Heart disease, cancer and inflammatory conditions. Berries they may also help treat immune system problems and digestive issues, according to Healthline.
Blueberries are often a favourite of the superfood list, as they are rich in vitamins (such as vitamin C and potassium), fibre and phytochemicals – not to mention their sweet and satisfying flavor. However, other berries, such as strawberries, cranberries, raspberries and blackberries have also been noted for their superfood properties.
Berries can be easily incorporated into your daily diet, either as a snack by themselves, as a dessert, added into your breakfast cereal, as an ingredient in a healthy smoothie, eaten with yogurt and so forth.
Leafy Greens and Cruciferous Vegetables
‘Eat your greens’ was not just an annoying nag from your parents but an important health lesson. Harvard Health writes: ‘dark, leafy greens are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium, as well as several phytochemicals (chemicals made by plants that have a positive effect on your health). They also add fiber into the diet.’ They have the potential to reduce your risk of conditions such as heart disease and diabetes as well as putting some important nutrients into your body, such as folate, zinc, iron, magnesium and potassium. Each type of dark leafy green, of course will harbour different levels of nutrients, so if you are looking for a particular vitamin boost, look into the properties of your vegetables first – however it is still very beneficial to include a variety for ultimate benefit.
Adding spinach to your salad or a curry, occasionally swapping out your dinner’s vegetable choice for collard greens, kale, broccoli, cabbage and so forth. Kale is often a popular superfood and can be incorporated into smoothie recipes. Many of these greens, including broccoli can be sautéed, added into pasta sauces, stir fries and soups for a great and easy boost of nutrients. If you or your children are not keen on some of these vegetables, there are plenty of recipes that do a great job in masking the taste!
Nuts, Seeds, Legumes
Nuts, seeds and legumes can act as a great stand-alone healthy snack or can be easily added into a variety of dishes with ease. Nuts are rich in plant protein (making them a great alternative for vegetarians), healthy fats, fibre, minerals and so forth. They are high in calories, so a little normally goes a long way, but the moderated incorporation of them into a diet can also improve health and protect against disease.
Almonds, pecans, pistachios, walnuts, cashews, peanuts brazil nuts and macadamia nuts are all great choices, with different properties and nutrient levels, so a variety of nuts is best, although you can again look into their individual benefits. Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds and hemp seeds are also beneficial. Legumes include kidney, black, red and garbanzo beans, soybeans and peas.
You can incorporate these into cereals, smoothies, stir fries, nut butters, salads, yogurts, oatmeal or as a simple snack. Legumes can be added to salads, soups, casseroles, curries, chilies and so forth.
There are plenty of different superfoods such as avocados, kefir, tomatoes, garlic, turmeric, ginger, sweet potato, seaweed and so on. Fish is a great source of protein and omega 3 fatty acids – salmon often singled out as a favourite and yogurt a good source of protein, calcium and live cultures called probiotics. Consider adopting some of your chosen superfoods into your balanced diet.