Though there is no legal or medical definition, superfoods are nutrient powerhouses that pack large doses of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Many recent superfood lists contain common food choices whose nutritional value has been long recognized as exceptional. Examples of these would be berries, nuts and seeds in general, dark green vegetables (such as spinach, kale, collard greens, Swiss chard, Brussels sprouts and broccoli), citrus fruits, fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines, vegetables with bright, dark, or intense colors (such as beets and their greens and sweet potatoes), many legumes (peanuts, lentils, beans) and whole grains as a group.
Here’s a list of some of my favorite superfood that I’ve used.
- Blueberries: Blueberries often top many lists of superfoods because they are rich in vitamins, soluble fiber and phytochemicals. But the same nutrients found in blueberries are also found in many other kinds of berries, including strawberries and cranberries.
- Chia Seed: Native to Mexico, these nutrient-rich seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and calcium. If you’re not someone who eats a lot of fish, they’re a great way to get plant-based omega-3s in your diet.
- Hemp Seeds: High in protein and contain all the essential amino acids needed for growth and repair. Hemp seeds also have a desirable ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids and are a good source of amino acids, magnesium, and potassium. They have a very mild taste, so you could add them to soups, salads, pilafs, or pesto. A plant-based eater’s dream source of protein is undoubtedly hemp seeds! They’re easy to add to porridge, baked goods, or in raw form as a smoothie, raw energy bar, or over a salad. You can also cream them to make hemp seed butter or use plain hemp protein instead of other protein powders.
- Flax seed: Both flax and chia are full of Omega 3 fatty acids, are fairly inexpensive, and they help keep you full much longer than most any cereal you’ll ever find. Flax seeds contain soluble and insoluble fibers that help soak up water in the digestive tract to regulate your blood sugar, remove wastes, and lower cholesterol as a result. They’re especially easy to add to all your meals and snacks, and can be used in raw or cooked dishes.
- Coconut Oil: Raw coconut (preferably organic) is one of the best sources of essential fatty acids. Saturated fats get a bad reputation but when it comes to coconut, these fats are a win! Coconut is an anti-microbial food, natural hormone booster, and its fats are used by the liver for energy production instead of stored as excess weight (in moderate portions, obviously). It’s best to choose whole forms of coconut that contain the fiber (a.k.a. the meat) instead of processed foods made with coconut.
- Almond: Almonds and almond butter are two great sources of protein, magnesium, fiber, zinc, iron, and B vitamins. They’re also very easy to find, but do try to choose organic since almonds are one of the more heavily sprayed crops in the nut and seed kingdom. One of the main benefits of almonds is that they’re a high source of calcium.
- Avocados: Not only are avocados low in pesticides, but they’re absolutely full in nutritious benefits. From B vitamins to Vitamin E, protein, fiber, and potassium, avocados improve your health in more ways than one. They can help prevent sugar cravings, lower stress, add satiety to meals, and reduce inflammation in the arteries and digestive tract. Choose ripe avocados which will digest easier. They should be very giving with a gentle squeeze.