Every now and then the health circuits are buzzing with new superfoods. From exotic berries to age-old Banana to the power-packed hemp seeds to everyone’s favorite nuts & seeds, the superfood list goes on.
But what is a superfood and what is the hype about?
In simple words, Superfoods are nutrition storehouses. These are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, healthy fat, protein, micronutrients, phytochemicals – you name it, and they have it.
With ever-increasing stress, radiations, and infection-causing viruses around us, these nutrition-rich superfoods and a healthy lifestyle are slowly becoming a necessity. Mostly found in nature, these superfoods can fuel our bodies and mind with their nutritional superpowers, but not like a caffeine shot. They have to be consumed over a period of time, for them to start showing their benefits, building strength, and vitality.
Why you should eat superfoods?
- Boosts immunity and helps you fight chronic diseases and infections
- Healthy fats reduce bad cholesterol and keep your heart healthy
- Fiber promotes digestion and helps manage diabetes and obesity
- Regulates metabolism and reduces inflammation
- Improves skin texture and hair growth
- Helps in warding off cancer, asthma and Parkinson’s disease
Which superfoods should be on your next grocery list?
Here is a superfood list to help you live a healthy, happy and a longer life –
Loaded with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and anti-inflammatory properties (1), Berries are at the top of the superfood list. Known for keeping the mind sharp, managing diabetes, strengthening the bones, keeping the skin young, and boosting immunity, Berries come in various colors and forms – Acai berries, Blueberries, Strawberries, Raspberries, Goji berries, Cranberries. A low-calorie snack, jams, smoothies, yogurt topping, salad, muffins, Berries are a versatile ingredient.
With its rich texture, delicate taste, and high omega 3 content, Salmon is a superfood like no other. Eating salmon twice a week will ensure you fulfill your B vitamin, potassium, and protein needs. A 3.5 oz of this best superfood contains a whopping 25gms of protein which fastens the healing process, slows aging, and helps in losing weight (2).
In a recent study, it was found that people aged 65 and above having a healthy diet including this digestive superfood showed less age-related memory loss, symptoms of dementia, anxiety, depression, and Alzheimer’s (3).
Steamed, sautéed, poached, smoked, added in salads, used to make a sauce, there is no dearth of options when it comes to Salmon.
The healthier cousin of Yoghurt, Kefir is a nutrition-dense digestive superfood. Originated in Southwest Asia, it is made by adding seeds in goat/cow’s milk. The sugar gets fermented leaving behind this immunity-boosting liquid which is called Kefir.
It is a rich source of calcium, B vitamins, folic acid, protein, and good bacteria (4). Drinking kefir regularly promotes digestion, soothes Irritable Bowel Syndrome, strengthens lungs, and bones. In fact, according to a study, kefir can reduce cancer-producing cells by 56% (5).
One of the best superfoods, Kefir is lactose-free and can be sipped raw or added into oatmeals, smoothies, and parfaits.
A bright aromatic used extensively in Indian cuisine, Turmeric has been around for ages. This superfood gets its yellow color and superpowers from curcumin. Curcumin is known for its strong anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which boost immunity, combats infections, rejuvenates skin, strengthens bones, helps fight against infections, chronic diseases, and improves memory (6).
This superfood spice has many faces. It can be used while making salad dressings, teas, gummy bears, smoothies, sautéed vegetables, rice, scrambled eggs, and frittatas.
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With its creamy texture, distinct flavor, and versatility, Avocado is nature’s favorite superfood. This super green fruit comes in various varieties with the Hass avocado being the most popular. Packed with nutrition, Avocado contains more than 20 vitamins (including K and C) and minerals, 2gms of protein, 15gms of healthy fat, 9 gms of carbs (7 of those are fiber) (7). This high-fat superfood contains Potassium and Oleic acid which reduces inflammation and fights cancer-producing cells. The antioxidants in Avocado are known for their eye strengthening qualities (8).
In a recent survey, it was found that people consuming a healthy diet with avocados are less prone to heart diseases, obesity, and diabetes (9).
You can enjoy this low-calorie snack in the form of a spread, guacamole, smoothie, omelet topping, fruit salad, sandwiches, and burgers.
Not just food for the fish, seaweed is a superfood that comes in various shapes and sizes. This nutrition-dense, digestive superfood has been a part of Asian cuisines for centuries now. It contains all essential vitamins, amino acids, antioxidants, and omega-3 fats which boost immunity, regulates gut health, and maintains hormonal balance (10).
Kelp, Spirulina are popular ingredients of a healthy diet. Seaweed can be added into your diet in the form of low-calorie snacks – sushi, green juice powder for smoothies, supplements, and salads.
A superfood diet (and this list) will be incomplete without Kale. Vegans and vegetarians will be ecstatic to know that one cup of this super green vegetable has more iron than beef. It also satiates your daily Calcium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin K requirement (11). This nutrition powerhouse can sometimes be difficult to absorb (especially if you are just beginning clean eating) and hence, should be paired with a healthy fat. There are several easy ways to add this digestive superfood into your healthy diet plan. Some of them are – Blend it into green juice powder for smoothies, bake it to make Kale chips, Sauté it into pasta, or add it into fruit salads.