“Superfoods” are usually foods that are high in nutrients. These include large quantities of:

  • vitamins
  • minerals
  • antioxidants
  • fiber
  • healthy fats
  • phytonutrients

Superfoods are good for your health. They are usually “whole” or “real” foods. This means that they are in their original form and are not processed. There is no specific list of superfoods. There are no standard criteria for determining what a superfood is. Scientists and nutritionists do not use this term. This is a term used mainly by retailers to sell their products.

People tend to think they are healthy by eating superfoods. Most foods considered “super” are very healthy. But nutritionists say the best way to eat them is to make them part of an overall healthy diet. This is a balanced diet of lean protein, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products and healthy fats.

The road to better health

The key to a healthy diet is to eat a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods in the right amounts. You will find many lists of superfoods in magazines or on the Internet. Many times they are grouped to help a particular part of the body. This can be the brain, skin or intestines. They can also be listed as helping with inflammation. But you do not need to eat specific foods for certain areas of the body. A complete healthy diet will take care of everything.

The following are common foods on superfood lists. Include them in your diet and you will be on your way to eating well.

Forest fruits: full of vitamins, soluble fiber and phytonutrients. They are plant nutrients that offer many benefits. Blueberries are popular superfoods, but strawberries and raspberries are also super healthy. Eat it all day or put some in your morning oatmeal.

Beans: They are good sources of low-fat protein and fiber, as well as vitamins and minerals. Try them in salads, pasta or as a meat substitute in some dishes.

fermented foods: Yogurt is the king of this category, but other foods are paying attention. In particular, sauerkraut is advertised as a popular superfood. Fermented foods are an easy way to add beneficial bacteria to your body. This promotes gut health. Low-fat or non-fat yogurt provides calcium, vitamin D and lots of protein. Greek yogurt is thicker and has more protein and less sugar than regular yogurt. Eat unsweetened plain or Greek yogurt with berries for a healthy breakfast. You can also replace yogurt with sour cream or other fats in recipes.

kale: Kale (curly cabbage) is very popular in the lists of superfoods. It is full of vitamins A, C and K. It also contains fiber, calcium and other minerals. This is a great addition to any nutrient-rich diet. Other green cruciferous vegetables are also eligible. These include Swiss chard, green red mucus, green mustard, spinach, greens and broccoli.

Sweet potato, pumpkin or squash: Each of them is an excellent source of fiber, vitamin A and other minerals. They are low in calories and are naturally a little sweeter than other vegetables. So you don’t need to add as much butter, sugar or salt to them.

salmon: This oily fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These acids are believed to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Other oily fish that offer the same benefits include tuna, sardines and mackerel. Try to eat fish at least twice a week for good health.

soybeansSoybeans are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. It is a good substitute for other high-fat proteins in your diet. Replace chicken with tofu or cow’s milk with soy milk to increase its nutritional value.

Whole grains: These grains were not deprived of bran and germ during processing. This is where the nutrients are. They are high in fiber and are complex carbohydrates that your body uses for fuel. A popular whole grain food on superfood lists is quinoa. It is not actually a grain, but it is cooked as such. It is an excellent source of protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. Replace it with rice in your kitchen.

Aspects to be considered

Just because a food is considered healthy or a superfood doesn’t mean you can eat as much as you want. You can also gain weight by eating too many healthy foods. The key is to eat everything in moderation. But you have to be very careful with some foods. The following are often considered superfoods, but have extra fat or calories that you should be aware of.

  • Dark chocolate: dark chocolate (without milk) is rich in flavonoids (a group of phytonutrients). But it is also high in fat and calories. All you need is a square or two.
  • avocado– It is a great source of healthy fats, but it comes with calories. One serving is only about one-fifth of an avocado. Only a few slices work.
  • Nuts and seeds– They are a good source of protein and healthy fats when consumed in moderation. Unsalted almonds, walnuts and pistachios are good choices.
  • wineNote: Red wine in moderation can have some health benefits. It contains antioxidants that can be good for your heart. But the benefits do not justify the excess. It is high in calories and can be harmful to your health if you drink too much. Limit consumption to 2 cups a day for men and 1 cup a day for women to improve your health.

Questions to ask your doctor

  • What are the best foods to eat?
  • Can I eat as many superfoods as I want?
  • What is a healthy portion size? logo

Copyright © American Academy of Family Physicians

This information provides an overview and may not apply to everyone. Talk to your family doctor to find out if this information applies to you and for more information on this topic.