Let’s face it – there’s a lot of information floating out there in internet land about super foods, which makes it difficult to tell sometimes which are legit and which are hype.
First things first: what makes a food a super food? Super foods are foods derived straight from nature, meaning nothing processed, which have been shown to have outstanding health benefits.
“Super foods as a whole contain high levels of phytonutrients, health-promoting nutritional compounds found naturally in plants,” explains Carrie Kelly, registered dietician at Wellness Week™ participant Active Center for Health & Wellness in New Jersey.
It’s important to keep in mind that no single super food is “super” enough to provide all the essential nutrition to support a healthy diet alone.
“Incorporating as many of them as possible into your daily intake is a good way to make sure the food you are eating is fueling your body in the best way possible,” Kelly says. “Variety is the cornerstone of a well-balanced and healthy diet.”
Also, because there is no real scientifically backed definition for a super food, be careful when you see any super food nutritional claims made on any packaged foods, Kelly cautions.
5 Super Foods You Should Be Eating, But Probably Aren’t:
- Orange Tomatoes: High in Vitamin C, orange tomatoes contain more readily available lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, than red tomatoes
- Sardines: These little fishies contain three times more omega-3 fatty acids than salmon. “Most Americans are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids, which are important because they help ward off certain cancers and are extremely heart healthy,” Kelly adds. Canned sardines are also a good source of calcium.
- Turmeric: This herb has strong anti-inflammatory properties, and can help ward off certain cancers. It may help protect against developing Alzheimer’s disease.
- Grass Fed Beef: High in omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), grass-fed beef has strong anti-cancer properties. It also has about 75% less fat when compared to conventional beef.
- Black Rice (Forbidden Rice): Rich in both phytonutrients and antioxidants, black rice has more anthocyanin antioxidants gram per gram than blueberries! It’s also high in fiber.
And, here are 5 more common, tried and true super foods from Kelly:
- Blueberries: High in Vitamin C and anti-oxidant-rich, blueberries have cancer-fighting properties. They are also said to help with vision.
- Broccoli: Rich with iron, broccoli is also a good non-dairy source of calcium, and is full of phytochemicals, which also have cancer-fighting properties.
- Wild Salmon: Full of omega-3 fatty acids, wild salmon is heart-healthy and lowers LDL (aka bad) cholesterol. It’s also a good source of protein.
- Beans: High in dietary fiber, beans are a good non-animal protein and iron source.
- Yogurt: A rich source of calcium, yogurt is also loaded with probiotics, which is healthy bacteria, great for the immune system.
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