There is no single food item – Not even a superfood _ that can fulfill the nutritional requirements for a healthy meal. …….Not even a superfood.
So, what is all the hype with superfoods?
Certain players in the food group deserve special recognition. Research studies over the years have demonstrated that superfoods are high in antioxidants and flavonoids which may help prevent coronary heart disease and certain cancers, as well as improving immunity and decreasing inflammation. Some of the most common examples are:
- Berries: blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, acai berries. The higher level of flavonoids has been shown to lower the risk of heart conditions
- Fish: salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, anchovies. A good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent heart disease.
- Leafy greens. Dark, leafy greens add fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and phytochemicals that have a positive effect on health.
- Nuts. Hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, pecans. A good source of plant protein and monounsaturated fat.
- Olive oil. A good source of vitamin E, polyphenols, monounsaturated fat, and an important player in the Mediterranean diet.
- Whole grains. A good source of soluble and insoluble fiber, several B vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Evidence supports they help lower cholesterol and protect against heart disease.
- Yogurt. A good source of calcium and protein. Some contain “live active cultures” which is healthy bacteria for our gut.
When it’s time to choose, know what you are opting in for.
Understand their health benefits, but don’t be tricked into thinking they can be consumed freely. Remember it is the combination of multiple foods that define a well-balanced healthy diet. Including whole fruits and vegetables has a strong association with a lower risk of many chronic conditions and overall mortality.
Superfoods can be a great component of any diet. An easy trick is to include as many colors of the rainbow as possible on your plate. Look at your plate? Are most foods white, brown or beige? Add some color. Caution with the ingredient lists, don’t forget to use that trained vision and make sure to look for hidden salt and sugars!
Focus on a SUPER diet, not just a food item.